Two paradoxes are shaping the 2024 presidential election. Both arise from Donald Trump’s presence in our political life, and as with Trump himself, we might be stuck with them for the foreseeable future.
First, there’s the paradox haunting what we can now only charitably call the “race” for the Republican nomination. And it’s this: Any Republican candidate running against Trump faces certain disqualification for not supporting Trump.
We all saw the hands go up in Milwaukee when moderators asked Republican contenders whether they would support Trump’s nomination even if he were convicted in a court of law. Vivek Ramaswamy’s shot up like it was attached to a front-row teacher’s pet, and all but one debater followed, down to Chris Christie’s waffling jazz hand. The only holdout was Asa Hutchinson, who’s currently tied with North Dakota governor Doug Burgum in last place with 1 percent support among GOP voters, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll.
Not that we needed a show of hands to know where the candidates stood. Ever since March, when Trump was indicted by Manhattan District DA Alvin Bragg on charges of falsifying business records, the GOP field has served as Trump’s Praetorian Guard. And their loyalty was proudly reaffirmed with every Trump indictment that followed.