Never Trumpers Beginning to See the Writing on the Wall—That GOP Nomination Is Trump's to Lose

AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr.

You almost have to feel sorry for the anti/never-Trumpers. They thought Donald Trump was done all the way back to the Mar-a-Lago raid. When that didn't get rid of Trump, along came multiple indictments. Surely four indictments and 90-plus charges would do it. But much to their disappointment, Donald Trump's poll numbers remain as strong as ever, and he has a commanding lead over any of his Republican presidential challengers. All that winning is starting to wear on the anti-Trumpers, and it appears they may be ready to yell "uncle" and come to the conclusion that Donald Trump's supporters are not going anywhere.

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Several political action committees (PACs) have decided that millions of dollars in anti-Trump ads are not moving the needle and are rethinking their spending habits. Win It Back is a PAC associated with the Club for Growth. They have spent around $6 million on 40 anti-Trump ads, which have proven to be ineffective. Republican Accountability PAC, a group of former Trump voters whose aim is to move the Republican Party beyond the Trump era, has spent $1 million on campaign ads in Iowa. Sarah Longwell is the head of the Republican Accountability PAC and said, "We have stopped spending money in the primary."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to be the candidate being hit the hardest by individual high-dollar GOP donors who are starting to see a bit of futility in the primary process. Never Back Down PAC is backing DeSantis, and hotel entrepreneur Robert Bigelow is its largest individual donor, and has, at least for the moment, stopped donating to the PAC. Billionaire and Citadel CEO Ken Griffin was originally an ardent DeSantis supporter and even stated that "our country would be well-served by [DeSantis] as president." But Griffin has pulled back his support of DeSantis, saying recently, “I don’t know his strategy. It’s not clear to me what voter base he is intending to appeal to.”

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Trump is also turning a lot of heads down the ballot who have previously been fairly critical of him. Trump and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp scuffled over possible election fraud and the extent of it after the 2020 election. Now, Kemp stated that if Trump is the Republican nominee, he will support him. Even those who have tried to argue that maybe Trump does not have the pull he did in 2016 or even 2020 and said that Trump's election claims in Georgia were "irresponsible" are rethinking that position. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose met with Trump over the summer and now endorses him.

But for all the never-Trumpers who can't understand why Trump's supporters don't abandon him, there are plenty of those same never-Trumpers who just can't give up the fight to rid the party of him. American Opportunity Alliance is a group of high-dollar Republican donors. They have called a meeting in Dallas next week with representatives of both the DeSantis and Nikki Haley campaigns to determine if either one or both candidates would be viable alternatives to Trump and, therefore, whether it would be financially wise to throw their dollars behind. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), whose name was once included among possible GOP candidates, would also like to get behind a candidate other than Trump. During a recent interview with National Public Radio, he stated what his own goal regarding Donald Trump was: 

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So I'm going to do everything I can, specifically in New Hampshire, but nationally, as much as I can, just to get the message out there that, OK, Trump defines himself. Republicans are over here.

 With Donald Trump so far ahead of his challengers in the polls, there have been calls by Trump himself and other candidates to change the process by which candidates qualify for debates for a clear challenger to Trump to emerge, or do away with them altogether. Trump has voiced a valid reason for skipping the first and second debates saying:

I like to debate. I probably am here because of debates. I don't mind it at all. But when you're 40 points up .... Why would I let these people take shots at me?

But former New Jersey Gov. and presidential candidate Chris Christie who, for all of his bloviating about Trump, also made an important point. He stated that "Voters need more information not less." 

There will always be a contingent of die-hard Never-Trumpers who want to hang onto those Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney days of establishment Republicans caving to Democrats and "losing with honor." They don't realize that those days are gone, that the rest of the Republican Party is done doing that and are past that era. They don't care that average Americans don't care about things like mean tweets, they just know they believe that America is in deep trouble, and they want Donald Trump to save it.

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