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OPINION

Remember That After the Primary We Need to Work Together

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

I do not want you to do what you might think I am telling you to do. I do not want you to support or oppose any candidate because you think I support or oppose him/her/xir. For too long, too many pundits have thought it was their place to tell you what to think and what to do, and you are as sick of it as I am. So, you can agree with me, partially agree with me, or totally disagree with me when I tell you what I think. But you need to make up your own mind about who to support in 2024. That’s how we conservatives should do it. 

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Let’s have a tough primary. Just remember that we are all in the same fight.

This primary has already been mildly ugly and it will likely get uglier. That’s okay – the primary should be a crucible that tests and toughens the candidates. We need to nominate the best fighter for the general election, and right now the polls seem to indicate that Donald Trump is the guy most Republicans are supporting. I think he needs to earn the nomination, and I expect Ron DeSantis to enter the race and give him a run for his money. I think either one could win. I think, for various reasons, that the one more likely to win in the general is DeSantis, though that is not a sure thing. You may disagree. Good. We’re not conformists. I do note that you count out Trump at your peril. But you should decide for yourself who you support. I just want to make sure the primary winner is not presiding over rubble. 

So, when you are deciding whom you support, and when you are participating in the primary, whether as an activist, or a social media participant, or an observing voter, you should keep something in mind. Someone is getting the crown at the Republican convention, and we all need to be ready to back the winner 100% in the general. My guy was Cruz in ’16. He lost, fair and square, and I supported the nominee, Trump. And Trump went on to earn my active support and respect not merely because he won as an underdog but because he kept his word about so many things that I, frankly, expected him to bail on. Most other pols would have. And he did it in the face of the most concentrated campaign of lies and corruption we have ever seen.

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I will vote for the primary winner in the general. Period. If you play the game, you need to accept the outcome. I get frustrated with people who tell me they will never vote for Trump in the general. Not voting for Trump in the general is voting for Biden. I will work for and vote for Trump in the general. I also get frustrated with people who tell me they will only vote for Trump in the general. Not voting for a nominee who is not Trump in the general is also voting for Biden. It’s binary, Commie or Not Commie. I will vote for whoever wins the primary – Trump, DeSantis, Nikki Haley, or even Asa Hutchinson if my party decides it wants to nominate a squish with the name and vibe of a grizzled old prospector who travels forward in time from 2005. 

We Republicans need to fight it out for the next eight months until Iowa and beyond, and while doing so we need to remember that we all want to get rid of that crusty pervert who allegedly won last time. So maybe we should not totally burn bridges. Hey, I punch back hard at those who punch at me, and I do not hesitate to point out when I think a pol is doing something foolish. And I have thought some things Trump has done lately are foolish. Some people take offense. Oh well. Some call me disloyal, as if I owe a politician anything and not vice versa. Whatever. Pundits pund, and I am going to say what I think and if you don’t like it, ignore me. Or tell me why I’m wrong.

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But I do get impatient with some of the bickering. I confess – perhaps I could be more…gentle when face-to-face with what I consider nonsense. It’s not the critiques of, primarily, DeSantis – who the wily ex-president correctly assesses as his only real competition – that offend. It is the lame critiques, like that DeSantis is a Soros-backed Jeb! lover who is a neocon globalist buzzword buzzword buzzword. I object aesthetically to dumb things, and these objectively false accusations mean either the person asserting them is dumb or he thinks I am. That is annoying. And I don’t think it convinces anyone who doesn’t already have a Trump tattoo. If I was advising Trump, I would tell him to talk about nothing but how great the country during the pre-COVID part of his term and how we can have that again, but you see the problem, right? No one can advise Donald Trump. Many of his problems stem from him following his gut. As do his successes. That is the Trump Conundrum, same as it ever was.

Take it for what it is worth – and some of the comments below will no doubt find it worthless – but I think Trump faces huge obstacles to winning the primary and, even more so, the general. A lot of people hate him, irrationally and unreasonably but really – as in really, really hating him. He threaded the needle to a miracle win in 2016 and failed to pull it off when more favorably positioned in 2020. But there is a case for him winning – I’ve made it. I also have very close friends who are 100% convinced Trump will win the nomination and the general. They are smart, savvy people, and if they think something you should pay attention.

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And I like the people who like Trump – at least the ones who are not calling me RINO one minute, then announcing “I am a Trump voter, not a Republican!” the next. They truly think Donald Trump is the best choice in 2024. They are patriots and want to save our country, and they deserve respect. We’ve all got to be ready to work together to win this thing next fall. We need to win this or our country is screwed.

So, think for yourself and don’t listen to me – except for maybe one thing. Be ready to put aside the primary once the winner wins. We have a country to take back.

Follow Kurt on Twitter @KurtSchlichter. Get Inferno, the seventh book in the Kelly Turnbull People's Republic series of conservative action novels set in America after a notional national divorce, as well as his non-fiction book We’ll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America.

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