I attended the Trumpless GOP presidential candidates debate in Tuscaloosa last night at the Moody Music Building Concert Hall of the University of Alabama. University of Alabama President Stuart Bell welcomed the crowd with introductory remarks and then took a seat in the second row to watch the debate. I know nothing about him, but he struck me as a stand-up guy. I introduced myself after the debate and told him I thought the party should draft him as its candidate.
When I attended the first of these events in Milwaukee this past August, I thought it reflected some credit on the Republican Party. The field seemed strong to me in its breadth and diversity. Last night I came away wishing that there was a candidate who combined the strengths of Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, and Ron DeSantis. Watching Christie up close last, I thought he was not toothless in Tuscaloosa. He might be the most talented of the field — not that it matters.
At the first debate I muttered from the outset that Vivek is a mistake. Vivek is a fake. I thought Christie’s zinger was the highlight of the event, although I would put his invocation of Ronald Reagan near the end of the event up there with this.
This is no longer Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party. It is Donald Trump’s Republican Party. Thinking in a straight line, I have no doubt that President Trump will be the party’s 2024 presidential nominee.
The prospect requires us to project ahead to the effect of the criminal convictions he will suffer before election day. That requires something beyond thinking in a straight line. I can only say at this point that I am among the many discomfited by the prospect of a Trump versus Biden rematch.