Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., during his Nov. 30 debate with Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., gave a master class on how to defend and promote the presumptive presidential nominee of one’s political party. Republicans need to follow this example with its presumptive (and eventual) presidential nominee. If Republicans do so, the Republican Party will likely see the positive benefits at the ballot box in November.
Gov. Newsom put forth several arguments and statistics as to why Bidenomics is working. Democrats will likely use these points throughout the presidential election. Newsom also defended Joe Biden’s ability to serve as president. Because Newsom is a Democrat, it is not surprising that he agrees with the policies and results of the Biden administration.
What is surprising is that Newsom did not use the debate as an opportunity to promote himself or explain why he should replace Biden on the presidential ticket. Newsom is considered by many Democrats to be the first choice to replace President Biden on the ballot. Despite this speculation and possible elevation onto the ticket, Newsom stood behind President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and their reelection bid.
Newsom likely understood that the ultimate goal for him (and the Democrats) was to help elect a Democrat as president in 2024 and defeat the Republican nominee. By focusing on that objective, Newsom probably helped the Biden/Harris ticket with voters.
Contrast Newsom’s approach with that of many Republicans. Some Republicans always seem ready to denounce President Donald Trump (the likely presidential nominee). The media, of course, are eager to interview them and spotlight their attacks.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, in interviews on “Meet the Press” and “Person to Person with Norah O’Donnell” attacked former President Trump, stated that Trump’s campaign was one of “retribution, anger, and hate,” and said that he (Romney) would never vote for Trump and would even vote for Democrats rather than Trump.
Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, during an appearance on “Squawk Box” on CNBC, maintained that Trump was “toxic” and that he (Ryan) would never vote for Trump.
The Republican Party is having a presidential primary. One would expect attacks and endorsements of candidates. It is unacceptable, however, for Republicans leaders (or previous leaders) to state or imply that they would vote for a Democrat rather than former President Trump if he is the Republican nominee.
They need to remember the consequences of the election and what would happen if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2024. These “leaders” should be “Never Biden” rather than “Never Trump.”
Comments by these Republicans would likely have four negative effects if former President Trump becomes the Republican nominee. First, some Republican voters may vote for a third party candidate, vote for the Democrat, or not vote at all. If Republican voters do not vote at all, it affects down-ballot races from U.S. Congress to state representative and U.S. Senate to district attorney.
Second, the rhetoric may cause independents, undecided voters, or “on-the-fence” Democrats to vote for the Democrat instead of the Republican. Third, the comments may affect the news cycle. The news may cover the Republican-on-Republican attacks rather than the nominee’s message to voters.
Fourth, on a related point, former President Trump may have to spend time defending himself from attacks from Republicans rather than focusing on the Democrat opponent. In this sense, Trump would be fighting on multiple fronts.
Imagine what would happen instead if Republicans adopted a Newsom-like strategy of promoting the presumptive Republican nominee. Media interviews and articles would contain Republicans giving reasons to support fellow Republicans, rather than defeat them.
The nominee’s platform and messaging would be stronger and reach more voters. One would see more positive social media posts from friends about the nominee. More Republicans would volunteer on the campaign. Republicans and non-Republicans alike would likely be more excited for the Republican Party’s candidates. This exuberance would probably translate into more votes for Republicans.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) should put out a statement indicating that the comments from Sen. Romney, former Speaker Ryan, and others do not reflect the views of the Republican Party. The RNC’s comments should then include a strong defense of the targeted Republican.
This action will hopefully deter other Republicans from attacking the nominee. If the attacks continue, Republicans will have to put out stronger statements and/or eventually consider expelling the attackers from the Republican Party.
Michael B. Abramson is a practicing attorney. He is also an adviser with the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. He is the host of the “Advancing the Agenda” podcast and the author of “A Playbook for Taking Back America: Lessons from the 2012 Presidential Election.” Follow him on his website and Twitter, @mbabramson. Read Michael B. Abramson’s Reports — More Here.
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