Sunday, June 16, 2024

Opinion | ‘It sucks:’ Conservatives discuss the GOP primary after the latest debate

Opinion |   ‘It sucks:’ Conservatives discuss the GOP primary after the latest debate

The Republican presidential candidates are debating, but people are starting to wonder why they bother when Donald Trump, the former president who’s far ahead in national surveys as well as polls of the early-voting states, isn’t showing up. At least three Post Opinions columnists include themselves in that group after Wednesday night’s debate at the Reagan library in Simi Valley, Calif. They sat down Thursday to talk about where the 2024 GOP presidential campaign might go from here.

Use the audio player, or The Post’s “Please, Go On” podcast feed, to listen to the entire conversation.

Jim Geraghty: We don’t have a real primary. It sucks. It is what it is. Look, it is very much like the other single biggest crisis in my life right now:/ the Achilles’ tendon of Aaron Rodgers. And as Jets fans, we’re just used to the fact that things suck. Things go wrong, and you have to play the games anyway.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Partly there’s a question of, to use the New Right slogan, what time do you think it is? Do you think that this is early in the primaries because voters are still months away from casting any votes? Or do you think it’s late because you need to have everything in place by now and you need to have winnowed the field? If you think that it’s still early, then I think you can have some hope that there’s going to be a primary.

Megan McArdle: I’m on team all over but the shouting. We’ve got a former president who’s running for the nomination, who has a big lead in the polls and isn’t showing up at the debates. But we’ve still got a group of other Republicans who are arguing onstage and hoping for the nomination. So I want to catch the mood of conservatives right now. Is it panic, resignation, disappointment, hope, something else?

Jim: I think what any Republican challenger needs to do is to say to Trump voters, “I know he makes you feel good. I know he gets you riled up. But he’s not good for you. He’s political junk food. And let me show you why.”

And you could point out why he’s bad for the Constitution. You point out why he’s bad for the Republican Party. You point out why he’s bad for the country. And he’s bad for you because he riles you up. But then he never has a plan. He always thinks by riling you up, he will get what he wants and the political system will generate the results he needs. And it doesn’t work. Look at Jan. 6. He did not stay as president. He’s got one move, and he keeps making that one move. And it doesn’t work out for him, and it doesn’t work out for you.

It will be a tough sell. But ultimately, it’s what these Trump voters need to hear.

Ramesh: There’s plenty of reasons for thinking it won’t work. But if that’s the case, then you can’t win anyway. You may as well try.

Listen to the full conversation here:

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