Trump's Chances of Winning GOP Nomination Have Grown Stronger - but It’s Not a Sure Thing Yet

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

When it comes to the GOP presidential nomination, the situation is looking even better for former President Donald Trump. I think that at this point, it is more than fair to say that the nomination is his to lose, and barring any drastic development, he will likely win.

Current polling shows that the former president is still leading the field by a healthy margin. It does not seem that his support has waned over the past few months and the politically-motivated New York indictment against Trump is only helping him.

A Wall Street Journal poll published on Friday revealed that Trump is trouncing his competition:

Mr. DeSantis’s 14-point advantage in December has fallen to a 13-point deficit, and he now trails Mr. Trump 51% to 38% among likely Republican primary voters in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.

The GOP candidate field is still developing, and the first primary balloting is more than eight months away. But as of now, Mr. Trump also trounces all competitors in a test of a fuller, potential field of 12 Republican contenders, winning 48% support to 24% for Mr. DeSantis

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, draws 5% support, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott draws 3% in the survey, which included 600 likely GOP primary voters. All other candidates had 2% support or less.

Of course, these numbers could easily change – but with the makeup of the GOP presidential field, Trump could afford to lose support and still be in a good position to secure the nomination. Conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder recently threw his hat in the ring, which only makes Trump’s chances even better.

To put it simply, the more candidates who decide to seek the GOP nomination, the better it is for Trump. Having more prominent conservatives running for the GOP nod will dilute the field of opposition to the former president’s candidacy. Those who do not favor another Trump run will have more candidates to choose from, which would almost certainly take much-needed support from the only man who could potentially challenge the former president: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The governor has not yet announced his intention to seek the White House, but it is pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point as he is sending all the right signals. Many believe that DeSantis has what it takes to defeat Trump in a head-to-head race. But the issue with that theory is that having more people entering the fray means that this will not be a head-to-head race.

What Team DeSantis will have to reckon with is the reality that there are probably enough Republican voters who don’t like Trump or the governor to make trouble for his candidacy. Those who prefer neither might be willing to throw their support behind Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy, or Larry Elder, even if they know none of these individuals have much of a chance of winning.

All of this works in President Trump’s favor.

However, there is an important caveat. The only possible element that could derail Trump’s chances of winning would be a major event or revelation that finally pushes the base to abandon their support.

For example, if the former president ends up being convicted of a crime and possibly jailed, this could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Of course, this current indictment will likely go nowhere. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against Trump is about as flimsy as it gets.

But there are still other pending legal issues that could pose a problem for the former president. The Fulton County, Georgia issue could actually be a more effective lawfare attack against Trump. It seems to me that the only chance Democrats might have of making sure Trump does not secure the nomination – if that is actually what they want – would be if Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis manages to get an indictment and conviction. It seems like a long shot, but it is not outside of the realm of possibility.

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