The argument around Trump running in 2024 has splintered into several directions since his announcement on Tuesday. There are those who are excited about it and believe the former president can resurrect his appeal to Americans outside his base. Then there are those who don’t have any animus toward him but also believe the cake is baked enough that he can’t win a general election.
Finally, there are those who just hate Trump and want to watch the world burn in an attempt to get rid of him. That’s the category Asa Hutchinson falls into, and he’s already teasing a delusional run for the presidency.
On @CNNThisMorning, Arkansas Gov. @AsaHutchinson says he’ll decide on a 2024 run by January. He said a big field won’t be like 2016, telling @kaitlancollins: “People understand who Donald Trump is today… He’s a known quantity now. We know the chaos that comes with him.”
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) November 17, 2022
Hopefully, Hutchinson’s decision is that he’s going to be taking that board seat with Wal-Mart he’s been seeking over the last few years. Unfortunately, I doubt that’s going to be the direction he goes. Vanity campaigns have become all the rage, and there’s a lot of money to be made making a pointless presidential run that never garners over two percent in the polls.
Still, if the point here is to get rid of Trump, I couldn’t think of a worse strategy. The former president relies on having foils to galvanize his base of support. That’s why Ron DeSantis choosing not to engage him this early has been smart. The moment someone like Hutchinson jumps in the race (or Larry Hogan, Tim Scott, etc.), Trump immediately has his enemy to play off of.
And while there are growing numbers of Republicans who want to go a different direction in 2024 for practical reasons (i.e. they want to win), some can be won back over if the alternative is a guy who couldn’t even stand up against the transgender lobby in Arkansas. In fact, a Hutchinson run is so asinine that Trump should be made to count it as an in-kind contribution.
I think Hutchinson knows that. I also think Larry Hogan knows that. That they are signaling a willingness to jump into the fray anyway (and I think both will), having no base of support, shows how maniacal their egos are. They’d rather see Republicans lose the general election in 2024 than exit the spotlight and let real conservatives figure things out.
Because to be clear, there is no world where rabid Never Trumpers who abandoned their own voters have a say in the future of the Republican party at this point, and if they try to exert one, they will only push people back toward Donald Trump. If you are someone who genuinely wants a change of direction, a completely understandable position (that I myself hold), you should be rooting for those like Hutchinson to vanish. The 2024 fight should be between Republicans that Republicans actually like. If it’s not, it’s going to turn into a chaotic, self-destructive cluster.