Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Loser, Loser, Loser

Chris Christie appeared on CNN's State of the Union yesterday and made it clear what his campaign will be all about. It will be all about calling Donald Trump a loser. Over and over and over. Christie helpfully pointed out that in 2018, Republicans lost the House, ending their trifecta. In 2020, they lost the Senate and the White House. In 2022, they hugely underperformed the historical average for the party not in the White House with the Democrats even picking up a Senate seat. He described Trump as "loser, loser, loser."

Christie didn't talk about why he would be a good candidate, only why Trump is a bad candidate. Maybe he is not really running to be president. More likely, he is running to rid the Republican Party of Trump and Trumpism, so in the future, people like himself and Jeb! can win. Think of it as a public service. And Christie is only 60, so he's got what, 25 more years left where he could still run for president? Is taken yet?

It is an interesting strategy for several reasons. For one thing, if there is one thing Trump hates it is being called a loser. If Christie starts to get a bit of traction, Trump may start to get into a p**sing match with him. Unlike just about all the other Republican candidates, that would be playing to Christie's strength. He is a street fighter and won't be afraid to hit below the belt. After all, he has nothing to lose. For another, just focusing on Trump as a loser may encourage some Democrats to toss $1 his way so he hits the 40,000 donor mark and makes it onto the debate stage. If Christie makes it, he will attempt to demolish Trump before a national audience—ideally with Trump there, but without Trump if he doesn't show up. If the former president is not there, Christie will call him a loser and a coward and say "If he is scared of me, how is he ever going to face down Xi Jinping?"

One problem for Christie is that one of the RNC's conditions for being allowed on stage is signing an agreement that the candidate will support the Republican nominee. Christie said that is "useless" and has repeatedly said he would never vote for Trump. He handled the issue by saying he would take the pledge as seriously as Trump took the same pledge in 2016. If Christie signs the pledge and Trump gets the nomination, Christie could get on camera and say: "OK. I support Donald Trump, the biggest loser since Benedict Arnold. There, I said it. However, I am voting for Joe Biden and will actively campaign for Biden in order to purge the Republican Party of losers like Trump. The only way to clean House is for losers like Trump to be crushed in the biggest landslide in history. So everyone, be sure to vote for Biden." Or if he won't go that far, he could say he is voting for the Libertarian Party candidate. Or writing someone in.

Also noteworthy is that Ron DeSantis has been careful not to attack Trump directly, but has often said that the Republicans need to dump their "culture of losing." Sooner or later some reporter is going to ask him to explain that and he will have to point out that Trump is the problem. If more Republican candidates try to solve the problem of prying loose Trump's supporters without directly attacking him, harping on the problem of "losing all the time" might be a way out. On the other hand, people who love Trump because he tells them they deserve to be winners may not be thrilled to hear their hero described as a loser. (V)

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