Now there are four separate trials against former President Donald Trump, the latest in Fulton County, Ga., arising from Trump challenging the results of the 2020 election, coming atop trials in New York City over supposed federal campaign finance violations, Miami, Fla. over his receipt of classified documents while he was president and retention when he left office and Washington, D.C. again over his challenge of the 2020 election.
And yet, none of it seems to matter to Republican Party voters for the 2024 presidential nomination, where Trump has clearly consistently led all other contenders since 2021. The latest RealClearPolitics.com average of national polls finds Trump with a nearly 40-point lead over his nearest rival, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, 54.5 percent to 14.8 percent. Vivek Ramaswamy garners 6.3 percent, followed by former Vice President Mike Pence with 5.2 percent.
All of which is leading to a revelation among GOP strategists that’s Trump’s base of supporters might be at least for the time being in the current cycle, be essential for Republican hopes to either retake the White House or retain the U.S. House of Representatives in 2024, or even pick up the Senate.
On Aug. 14, The Hill’s Alexander Bolton wrote of the phenomenon in “GOP sees turnout disaster without Trump,” citing several strategists who believe that a significant percent of Trump supporters will simply stay home if Trump is kept off the ballot on account of his legal troubles.
Bolton cited a Pew Research Center survey and analysis that found that Trump voters were a critical factor enabling Republicans to reclaim the House in 2022, where 71 percent of Trump voters turned out to vote versus 67 percent of Biden voters.
But if Trump voters stay home, all bets could be off for 2024.
Bolton quoted GOP strategist and former Senate aide Brian Darling stating, “If somehow he’s not the nominee, it will hurt turnout… He’s got a unique coalition. He brings a lot of nontraditional voters to the Republican Party, and it will be difficult to win a state like Ohio [and other Midwestern states] if you lose all those Trump voters or make them disaffected voters, and they don’t show up.”
Ohio Republican strategist Matt Dole agreed, stating, “The conventional wisdom is there’s concern that if Trump’s not the nominee, his coalition will take their ball and go home… Folks are interested in how that plays out, and so I think right now, they would be happy if Trump’s the nominee — in Ohio, it’s not true across the country — because then his coalition will turn out in November.”
The impact is that no matter how much the trials might hurt Trump’s chances in the general election against incumbent President Joe Biden—who is facing an imminent impeachment inquiry and now has two special counsels appointed to look at his own handling of classified documents and now he and his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings from Biden’s time as Vice President—all other comers will fare even worse in the general election.
For example, while the RealClearPolitics.com national average head-to-head polls show Biden and Trump in a virtual dead heat, with Biden with a slight lead of 44.8 percent to 44.1 percent, Biden leads DeSantis by almost two points, 44.5 percent to 42.7 percent.
The good news for Trump and Trump voters is that none of the trials have presented charges that would disqualify Trump from being on the ballot under the Constitution, the qualifications of which remain being 35-years-old and a natural born U.S. citizen. The only thing that could disqualify Trump under Sections 3 and 5 of the 14th Amendment would be a conviction of insurrection, and then subsequent votes in the House and Senate to disqualify him. But Trump hasn’t been charged with insurrection.
Critically, such a maneuver that would depend on the Republican-controlled House committing political suicide to keep Trump off the ballot, almost certainly costing Republicans Congress, once again delivering a trifecta of control of the White House, House and Senate to Democrats. Why would they do that?
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.
This post, If Trump is kept off the ballot, his voters could stay home, costing the GOP the White House, Congress and everything else, was originally published on The Daily Torch and is republished here with permission. Please support their efforts.