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If Trump Doesn’t Win the Nomination, Is There a Way to Get Him to Support the Frontrunner?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Former President Donald Trump could be facing even more legal troubles on the horizon as reports suggest the Justice Department plans to indict him next week. So far, his previous legal issues have not slowed down his campaign and he is still the favorite to secure the GOP nomination for 2024. However, there is a chance that some of his problems might just make way for another contender to emerge as the frontrunner.

I’ve argued in the past that if Trump does not receive the nomination, the Democrats will likely win the White House. But these new developments might provide a pathway to victory for the GOP in the upcoming election.

RedState’s Bonchie covered the impending indictment on Wednesday:

Donald Trump has been notified that his indictment by the DOJ is imminent and will occur “next week,” according to sources.

Jack Smith, the special counsel assigned to investigate the former president by current AG Merrick Garland, will reportedly be charging the former president with “gathering, transmitting, or losing” national defense information

The indictment is expected to center on the classified documents Trump kept at his residence at Mar-a-Lago in Florida:

A variety of witnesses, including lawyers for Trump, close aides to the former president and officials with the Trump Organization, have appeared over the past year before the grand jury in Washington as part of a Justice Department special counsel investigation into Trump over the retention of hundreds of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and potential obstruction of the government’s efforts to reclaim the records.

But the existence of a separate grand jury in Florida adds a wrinkle to an investigation that has been largely shrouded in mystery and has been thought to be in its end stages. It suggests that prosecutors may be moving toward bringing criminal charges in Florida, where the documents were taken after Trump left the White House and where multiple acts of alleged obstruction have occurred, instead of in Washington.

In January, Trump shared an article on Truth Social in which the author suggested that if the former president fails to win the nomination, he should run a third-party campaign for the presidency. This sparked speculation as to Trump’s plans if his fortunes made a turn for the worse. At the time, I suggested if Trump is not the nominee, the chances of the GOP winning the White House are significantly reduced.

Trump running as a third-party candidate would result in him siphoning a substantial number of conservative voters from the GOP, but probably not enough to win the election, thus ensuring a Democratic victory. Even popular candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would not be able to mitigate the damage caused by Trump’s independent campaign.

It is also possible that Trump would not choose to run as an independent but work from the outside to torch Republicans’ chances of winning. He would likely cause a significant number of Republican voters to stay home. I noted that the former president’s ego would not allow him to throw his support behind a nominee who is not named Donald J. Trump.

I still stand by that prediction. However, there could be a way for the GOP to get Trump to play ball if he is not the nominee. Given his current legal troubles, the person who wins the presidential primaries could strike a bargain with the former president, giving a slim possibility for the nominee to obtain Trump’s support.

Let’s say DeSantis ends up winning the nomination. In the face of a federal indictment, the governor could offer to extend a pardon to Trump in exchange for his support in the general election. Such an offer could be quite attractive to the former president, who could probably use a reprieve from the lawfare the left is waging against him.

Of course, it is important to note that such a deal could be very much against the law, so if this were to happen, it would be behind closed doors. It would be quite risky for everyone involved. Perhaps I’ve watched “House of Cards” on Netflix so often that it’s got me thinking in terms of conspiracies. Still, we are living in bizarre times so it is not outside the realm of possibility.

It’s a long shot, for sure. But if Trump could be convinced to support the eventual nominee, his loyalists might be willing to do the same at the ballot box.

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