Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Chris Sununu Is Fu**ing Crazy

We will now pause a moment while you pick yourself up off the floor and regain your breath. We are assuming that our absolutely hilarious headline had you rolling around on the ground, in nearly uncontrollable fits of laughter, probably for multiple minutes. Right?

We say this because Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) appeared on CNN yesterday, and spent much of his time backtracking from past criticism of Donald Trump. While the Governor said he still thinks Trump is not going to be the GOP nominee in 2024, he also made clear that if Trump does land the nod, he'll have Sununu's full support. "I'm going to support the Republican nominee because I can guarantee they're better than any of the Democrats," he explained.

At that point, CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota wondered how Trump could be better than any Democrat if he's "fu**ing crazy," as Sununu said he was back in 2022, during a speech at a fundraising dinner. "Yeah, that was funny," the Governor responded. "It was a roast. It was a funny joke. Again, if you're saying I wouldn't support the nominee because I made a joke at a roast, it was a good joke. I take pride in that, I got a lot of laughs." We'll pause now, while you pick yourself up off the floor again. Sorry to hit you with this sort of side-splitting humor two times in the span of three paragraphs.

Have you recovered? OK, good. Now we can move on to the observation that, as far as we can see, there are two possible theories of the election for non-Trumpy Republican presidential candidates:

  1. Try to monopolize the Never Trump lane in the primaries, hope that two or more Trumpy Republicans split the Trumpy vote, and win a bunch of delegates with 40% of the vote, thanks to the GOP's winner-take-all rules. Then, in the general election, appeal to moderate Republicans and independents, and hope that most of the Trumpy Republicans come home, figuring that a non-Trump Republican is still better than a Democrat. Or, at very least, that they stay home and don't cast burn-down-the-house votes for the Democrat.

  2. Try to be non-Trumpy enough to win the sane Republicans, but deferential enough to Trump not to alienate the Trumpy Republicans. Win the primaries according to the same plan as above, but then try to unify the Republican Party by walking a very careful line between Trumpy and non-Trumpy, the way that Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) did in his election.

We had an item earlier this week in which we wrote that Sununu might just make the first option work.

On the other hand, we do not believe the second battle plan is actually plausible for Sununu, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence or any other Republican. Clearly, Sununu disagrees. He presumably saw the poll that says that 30% of Republicans are Always Trumpers, and won't vote for any other candidate. The Governor probably also saw the interview that Trump did with Hugh Hewitt, in which the former president refused to commit to supporting the 2024 GOP nominee if it's not him, and also implied that if he doesn't get the nod, he might run as an independent.

Taking in all this information, Sununu clearly thinks his only path is to remain as Trump-friendly as he can, and then to hope that if he gets the nomination, the "Always Trump" voters aren't necessarily "Only Trump" voters. The Governor is a skilled and successful politician, and we are not, so perhaps he's onto something. But, to us, this approach looks like pure fantasy. (Z)

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