Donald J. Trump, golf, LIV
Former Commander-in-chief, Donald J. Trump. Photo credit: © Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

If Donald Trump were to lose the Republican nomination, he would destroy the GOP. Just because of that, it is inevitable that he will be chosen as the party’s presidential candidate in 2024.

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There is no way to sugarcoat it: Donald Trump is going to be the Republican presidential nominee next year. 

What seemed unfathomable after his failed coup following the 2020 election is now virtually inevitable, and anybody who says otherwise is either lying to you or to themselves.

Now, you may be asking yourself how we can be so sure and why nobody else is saying this with the same degree of certainty. After all, the first votes won’t be cast for months, and there is also the small matter of Trump facing dozens of charges related to that coup and a smattering of other alleged crimes.

Before we get to the first part of that question, let’s look at the reason why just about everybody else is pretending that, although Trump is a heavy favorite, another Republican could still win the nomination: Presidential primaries are very lucrative for the news media and the political class.

For the former, a competitive race means better ratings, more page views, and greater ad revenue.

For the latter, a crowded field, like the one we are seeing on the Republican side this year, means that lots of staffers and consultants are hired, paid pundits pontificate, and pollsters poll.

Everybody is making money.

As a result, the last thing any of the above want is a primary that seems to be decided… well, now.

That is the reason why news outlets pretend that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is much more popular among Republicans than Democrats, could ever be a threat to President Joe Biden.

More importantly, that is also why nobody is saying out loud that Trump is as close to a lock to win the GOP nomination as a candidate can be at this point.

Obviously, no candidate is going to out-Trump Trump, which means that, in order to beat him, they would have to go on the attack. But how do you attack a guy who determines what voters believe?

Stating the obvious would be bad for business. After all, why would anybody watch the first Republican debate next week if it is completely meaningless? And who is going to click on a story covering the horserace when there is only one horse and no race?

That’s right, they wouldn’t.

Therefore, just about everybody in the media is going to keep pretending for some time that the nomination isn’t in the bag for Trump just yet.

Not us, though, because WhoWhatWhy doesn’t sell ads, so we can tell you what is really going on.

But what makes us so certain that the former president will be his party’s nominee once again?

Well, for one, it’s our track record of making predictions related to Trump.

For example, about four years ago, we wrote in this space that, perhaps, the worst-case scenario in the 2020 election would be a narrow Trump loss. Here is what we said:

The things that make Trump a terrible president would make him an even worse loser of an election: He lies a lot, is corrupt, loves crazy conspiracy theories, allows foreign powers to undermine the US if it benefits him, will do anything to protect himself — even to the detriment of the country — and a sizable segment of the population follows him religiously and believes every word that is coming out of his mouth.

In the end, his loss wasn’t all that narrow, but most of what we wrote more than a year before the election came to pass and ended in a failed coup.

But more importantly, if you look at the big picture, it is so painfully obvious that Trump will be the nominee.

That assessment isn’t even based on his massive polling advantage. In a normal primary with normal candidates competing for the nomination of a normal party, that could disappear.

But that’s not what we are dealing with here.

We write a lot about how the GOP has become a cult with Trump at the helm. That cult, with the help of a massive right-wing propaganda apparatus, has created a false reality for millions of people. And that reality is centered on Trump as a near-messianic, infallible figure. That’s not somebody you can replace, and it’s absurd to pretend that the former president’s spell over the GOP base would somehow disappear after Republicans stuck with him through countless scandals, two impeachments, that coup, multiple indictments, and a stunning lack of accomplishments while in office.

Our prediction that Trump is a lock to win the nomination comes with one important qualifier.

In light of Trump facing those indictments, you might think this qualifier is “unless he is in prison,” but that would be patently false. In fact, if he ends up in jail, chances are that he’ll get even more votes.

No, the qualifier is this: “If the GOP wants to continue to exist as a political party, then Donald Trump has to be its nominee.”

And that’s really the thing that makes us most confident in this prediction.

Obviously, no candidate is going to out-Trump Trump, which means that, in order to beat him, they would have to go on the attack. But how do you attack a guy who determines what voters believe?

However, for argument’s sake, let’s pretend that, somehow, one of the others emerges as a real alternative to the former president. Maybe it’s Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as Trump Lite, or former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the anti-Trump, or one of the South Carolinians who are trying to run on a positive message.

What do you think is going to happen when one of them starts winning some states?

Do you think that Trump will congratulate them? Do you think he will ever admit defeat? Do you think he will acknowledge being a loser?

Or do you think he will burn the GOP to the ground before doing any of those things?

The fact is that Trump brought millions of voters into the party who are beholden only to him and not the Republicans. They will NEVER vote for anybody else.

Therefore, the only GOP candidate who has any chance next fall is Trump. As long as he is in this primary, everybody else is just wasting their time and money.

But what if he were not for whatever reason? Then things would get interesting, and that’s a long-shot hypothetical we will explore next week. 



  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a senior editor for Politics and director of the Mentor Apprentice Program at WhoWhatWhy. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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