Sununu an example for GOP Trump opponents
The GOP owes New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu a note of thanks for his wise decision in the runup to the 2024 presidential election.
He decided not to run.
It’s not that he doesn’t have the goods, Sununu remains popular in N.H. because he’s a sharp, concise thinker who gets things done. He has a 61% job approval rating and just won re-election to a fourth term. In a contest not overshadowed by Donald Trump and Joe Biden, he’d be a standout.
But 2024 is all about the rematch, and it’s a smart politician who knows not to waste his energy, time, money and the voters’ patience.
Remember the full-on scrum that was the Democratic candidate lineup in 2020? The debate stage looked like a chorus line, until one by one, the hopefuls dropped out. Whether it was lack of funds or poor polling numbers, they just couldn’t go the distance, leaving supporters to switch lanes when their candidate left the field.
We don’t need a repeat of that, yet it seems we’re getting it from the Republican side. And while Ron DeSantis is drawing a fair bit of oxygen as a Trump contender, all roads are likely to lead to Trump and Biden trading barbs right up until election day.
Sununu’s decision was also informed by Trump’s re-election campaign.
“Every candidate needs to understand the responsibility of getting out and getting out quickly if it’s not working. And I can be more candid about that as the governor of the first-in-the-nation primary [state], in calling candidates out,” Sununu said Monday on CNN. “There are 12 people in the race. I don’t think all 12 of them firmly believe that they can be president, I think a lot of them just want to audition to be in the Cabinet or vice president. And at this time, there’s no place for that.”
“We’ve taken the last six months to really kind of look at things where everything is and I’ve made the decision not to run for president,” Sununu told Dana Bash.
As Politico reported, Sununu’s not clearing the way for Trump. He told Bash that by not getting into the race he can have “a little more of an unleashed voice” in telling candidates to get out of the race so Trump isn’t renominated.
Sununu doesn’t think Trump could win another general election.
“Right now, Donald Trump’s cost us from the U.S. Senate to governorships to school board seats. His message cost the Republican Party dearly across the country,” Sununu said on CNN. “He can’t win in November of ‘24.”
There are many people who would disagree with that. But as pundits and analysts have said for months, it’s all about Trump right now, and Biden is seen as the guy Democrats want to take him down.
Other candidates can vie for a piece of the pie, but a sliver or two is the best they can hope for. If your name isn’t Trump or Biden, this campaign will be exhausting and costly, for the party as well as the candidates.
Those on the team of Trump opponents would be wise to follow Sununu’s lead. There will be other election cycles, ones not dominated by redressing the past, in which policy nuances and ideas can the focus of campaign stops.
Just not this one.