Donald Trump’s absence from the GOP debate won’t affect him winning the Republican Primary but it could hurt his chances in the 2024 election, a political strategist has told Daily Express US.
Gerard Filitti, a political expert and Senior Counsel at The Lawfare Practice, said that while Trump was “the right decision in the short term” to skip the debates, it could hurt him among moderate Republicans and independents if he eventually clinches the nomination and faces Joe Biden.
Filitti said: “His refusal may well be perceived as unwarranted arrogance by many Republicans that are not among his base of supporters, as well as by independents.
“While this won’t cost Trump the nomination, it may end up costing him the general election; given the voting turnout in 2020, Trump will need the vote of practically every registered Republican and a majority of registered independents to prevail against the Democratic candidate, presumptively President Biden.”
While Trump continues to storm ahead among fellow Republicans in the polls, Filitti notes that polls can be wrong citing the 2016 election when polls claimed Hillary Clinton was supposed to beat Donald Trump.
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Filitti said: “History doesn’t like inevitability. George W. Bush was the inevitable Republican nominee – until John McCain entered the race. Hillary Clinton was the inevitable choice to replace Bush until America heard Barack Obama speak.”
He continued: “It is still far too early in the race to say with any certainty who the candidates will end up being a year from now – which is why these debates absolutely matter.”
Still, among Republican candidates, Trump has been branded a “winner” – when he skipped the first GOP event media headlines swirled around his absence.
Political strategist Amani Wells-Onyioha, co-host of Newsweek’s The Debate and Operations Director at Sole Strategies, told Daily Express US that the GOP candidates attending the debates were likely gunning for a potential spot in Trump’s administration.
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She said: “Trump came out of the first GOP debate as the winner despite not even being there. By deciding to do the Tucker Carlson video, he not only threw the cold shoulder at FOX, but he controlled his own narrative. Getting on the stage with the other candidates in his eyes puts them on their level, and he views himself as leagues ahead of his rivals.”
Wells-Onyioha added: “As for the other candidates, I don’t see any of them coming out as true winners. But depending on their performance, they may get recognized by the Trump administration.
“I think at this point in the election cycle it’s all for the hopes of landing a role in this administration. I do not believe any candidate other than Trump even has the slightest chance of winning the primary.”
The Republican nomination is “pretty much completely secured”, she added.
Still, there is a long way to go until the 2024 Election and Donald Trump is facing hurtles before the finish line.
The former president is facing numerous criminal charges spread over four indictments – some argue that a conviction on charges relating to the January 6 riots could bar him from running under the 14th Amendment.
There is also the question of Trump-the-candidate facing jail time if convicted and how that could work.
For now, GOP candidates duke it out for second place but the race has just begun.
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