Why are Republican also-rans like Asa Hutchinson getting into the 2024 race? Trump was always going to end up indicted in multiple jurisdictions, DeSantis was always going to crash and burn, and this was always going to be an open field where also-rans think they have a chance.
For an also-ran it’s not even necessarily about winning. It’s about making it all the way to Iowa and landing a lucrative book deal before dropping out.
You can never poll above 2% and still make it to Iowa, if it’s an open field with no clear frontrunner, because you can always convince some donors along the way that you still have a chance. But that only works in an open field, where donors don’t consider one or two candidates to have a lock on the nomination.
And that’s how the 2024 Republican field is shaping up. For all the endless “Trump and DeSantis” media hype you’ve had to endure for two years, they were both headed off a cliff the entire time.
DeSantis’ national rollout caused his numbers to drop by half in a month.
During DeSantis’ plummet, Trump’s numbers didn’t go up. The people who gave up on DeSantis don’t want Trump either at this point. More than ever, Republican primary voters are looking for a Brand B.
This goes against everything you’ve been hearing from the media and pundit class. But these are the people who also insisted Trump would never be indicted. They make predictions based on what they think will keep you tuned in at the time, not based on what they think will happen.
Truth is, no one including me can tell you who the Republican frontrunner(s) will be. With voters figuring out Trump is going to prison and DeSantis is a wet tree stump, they’ll be looking elsewhere. And no one knows who they’ll end up landing on. Predictions are pointless.
Which is part of why the media has to keep saying “Trump has it locked up and DeSantis is also a strong contender” no matter what the numbers end up saying. Because if the media says “We don’t know who it’ll be, it’s too early,” you’ll turn off the news and go watch basketball.
But there’s the media version of 2024 and then there’s the actual 2024. People like Hutchinson, Pence, Haley, etc can all see that this will be an open Republican field, and even if they can’t compete, they can still make it to Iowa and cash in with that book deal.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report