Dem 51
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GOP 49
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McDaniel Wants GOP Candidates to Pledge to Support their Nominee

Ronna Romney McDaniel's job is helping Republicans win elections. She knows all too well that disunity doesn't help at all. Worse yet, if one party is busy fighting with itself, the other one always says: "They can't even run their own party so how could they run the country?" So not only does she have to worry about nasty primaries with 2022 losers spouting nonsense and running again (see above), but she is already concerned that the losers in a 2024 presidential primary may not support the nominee. She is trying to head that one off at the pass, but it is going to be tough for her.

Her first shot is a plan to require all presidential candidates to sign a statement in advance that they will support the Republican nominee. If they refuse, they won't be allowed on the debate stage. Good luck with that, Ronna. Already there is pushback, more than half a year before the first debate. Donald Trump said that he might or might not support the nominee, depending on who that is. In other words, if it is Donald Trump, he will support the nominee. Otherwise, probably not. And Trump also cares nothing about signing some form, and then backtracking when it suits his needs.

Trump's refusal to embrace the plan was to be expected, but he's not McDaniel's only problem. Former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, also a potential candidate, said that he "won't commit to supporting Trump." Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson said that he hasn't decided about signing, but has talked to McDaniel and tried to get her to change her mind about the pledges. He noted that historically Republican candidates have not taken loyalty oaths. Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH), who might also run, said: (1) he will support the nominee and (2) he is sure it won't be Trump. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) hasn't reacted to McDaniel's announcement yet.

The only weapon McDaniel has is to refuse to allow nonsigners on the debate stage. Trump may not care. He has skipped debates in the past. He is not a good debater. We're not sure he would want to appear on the same stage as half a dozen other candidates, all of whom would be taking pot shots at him continuously. For the other candidates, the publicity would be worthwhile. Even DeSantis is not that well known outside the South.

What McDaniel is worried about is DeSantis getting the nomination and Trump going off in a huff and getting on the ballot in most states as an independent. That would guarantee a Democratic landslide. Getting Trump to sign any statement in blood would not stop Trump from running anyway, of course, and he wouldn't even be embarrassed about it. He would just say: "I have heard from millions of people and they want me to run as an independent." But what else can she do? She can't stop Trump from running by withholding funds. He knows that the RNC will support the actual nominee and not him. He can do his own fundraising. This is all she can do. We're not sure why she even wanted the job again. It's not going to be a fun ride for her. (V)

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