“You talkin’ to me?”
That is how I felt this morning when Joe Scarborough suggested absolutely nobody believes the Biden campaign relishes a general election contest with Nikki Haley.
The Biden campaign is trying to pretend she is not there. They’re saying the general election’s begun. Pretend last night didn’t happen. Forget what Nikki Haley is saying. Why? Well, it’s very obvious. They want to run against the crazy guy. Who do you think, who on this planet, other than extreme MAGAs think, believes Joe Biden wants to run against [Haley]? Nobody! Nobody!
I do, Joe. You may be right about the Biden campaign. But here is why Joe Biden should see a race against Nikki Haley as an opportunity, not only to win re-election, but also to make true conservatives and mainstream Republicans realize that their party needs to be reconstructed from the ground up.
Let’s start with a few facts.
- One of the reasons, if not the most important, for Trump’s third run for president is his many legal problems. His hope is that a Trump appointed attorney general will make all of the federal cases go away and make life miserable for Letitia James and Fani Willis.
- As long as he is a candidate for president, Trump can make the case (though untrue) that he is being persecuted by a weaponized Biden Justice Department. All he needs is one juror in each of the criminal cases to believe him.
- To make that argument he must continue to run even if he does not win the Republican nomination.
- Entrance polls during the Iowa caucuses suggest that half of Republicans who cast ballots on January 15 identify as MAGA. The number was closer to 25 percent last night in New Hampshire according to the exit polls.
- In his victory tirade last night, Trump predicted Haley would lose to Biden in the general election.
What should this tell us? Trump will not take a Nikki Haley nomination lying down. If he felt humiliated losing to Joe Biden, imagine the outrage from failing to secure the nomination of a party he supposedly controls. If Haley does win in November, the Trump myth (“Only I can do it.) suffers one more embarrassing moment.
There are three ways to make sure she does not become president. Launch a write-in campaign. (“If Sleepy Joe Biden can do it, certainly I can.”) Run as an independent. Tell his voters they should stay home (a la the Georgia Senate run-offs in 2020). In a previous blog, I suggested approximately 17 percent of GOP voters are “Forever Trump” loyalists and will do whatever he asks them to do. That is the percent of Trump’s 2020 vote over his 2016 total. In other words, these are new Republicans Trump is largely responsible for bringing into the GOP tent.
The media and many Democratic pundits spend a lot of time focusing on the impact of third party candidates on Biden’s chances of winning. All of the major polling companies have created hypotheticals in which the options include Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornell West and Jill Stein. There have also been a few polls based on the speculation Joe Manchin will run on the No Labels ticket. You know what NO ONE has tested. A three-way race with Biden, Haley and Trump. If my 17 percent estimate in anywhere close to correct, Biden could win even the least competitive state with 40 percent of the vote.
Based on Biden’s 2020 percentage in each state, he would have a better than even chance to carry Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas. In which case, Biden would win 449 electoral votes compared to a total of 89 for Trump or Haley. That would be a hard reality to spin, but of course Trump will declare Biden and Haley colluded to defeat him. The question is whether the Republicans who still reside on Earth One will finally board the escape pods to avoid another MAGA Starship implosion.
It also makes life worse for every other Republican running for office who will face the following dilemma. If both Trump and Haley are on the ballot, a GOP candidate for House or Senate will be forced to make a choice. And the only impact that will have will be to alienate supporters of one of the two “conservative” opponents. It gets worse if Trump tells his loyalists to stay home. Consider the following data provided by BALLOTPEDIA.COM.
- In 2022, 85 congressional races (ten Senate and 75 House) were decided by ten percentage points or fewer.
- Of those, Republicans won four Senate seats (WI, NC, OH, AK) and 30 house seats.
- A defection of just 6.21 percent of GOP voters would have flipped three of the Senate races.
So, here is my question for Joe Scarborough.
Who do you think, who on this planet, believes a man who has already tried to delegitimize the Constitution, the electoral process, the rule of law and our system of justice would hesitate to delegitimize the Republican Party to serve his own interests? Nobody! Nobody!
For what it’s worth.