By Scott Johnston
Let’s get this part out of the way: former President Donald Trump’s policies were effective. He had this country in great shape on any level you can measure, at least until COVID-19 came along, something that can’t be blamed on him.
I personally defended him and actively promoted his re-election — but he absolutely cannot be the Republican nominee again. (RELATED: LEWIS: America Needs Trump To Break The Washington Establishment Once And For All)
Here are the reasons:
- Trump would turn 80 during his term. While he does not currently appear to be in cognitive decline, who knows about a few years from now? And he’s not exactly in great physical shape, either.
- He will be a lame duck on day one. The 22nd Amendment will prohibit his re-election. Realistically, he will have only a year or so to get anything done. Is this seriously the scenario Republicans want? An octogenarian lame duck? We have one of those now, effectively.
- Given the circus-like, perpetually chaotic atmosphere that Trump seems almost to promote, what senior people would be willing to serve in his administration? Add to that the fear of almost immediately attracting the attention of our weaponized justice system, and you have a recipe for a cabinet full of third-string draft choices and attention-seekers.
- He has no political discipline and makes too many unforced errors. It’s tough enough for any Republican when the media and the entire Washington establishment are aligned against you. Why give them grist for their mill? I fully appreciate that Trump’s bumptious and combative nature sometimes served him well when doing battle with the press room, but engaging with Rosie O’Donnell? C’mon.
- Trump’s lack of discipline extends to his personal life. While most of the attacks on him were blatant fabrications, he’s just not what one would call a paragon of character, either. I and many others were willing to grin and bear these flaws for the sake of outstanding policy, but America deserves a president who brings both policy and character to the job.
- I fully believe Trump ran the first two times to be of service to his country, particularly the working class. Ego played a large role, but his commitment to country was sincere. This time, I’m not so sure. He seems more motivated to avenge what he believes happened in the last election than anything else. And yes, a lot of bad stuff went down, but that’s not what I want motivating my party’s candidate. Time to look forward, not back.
- We might lose. Yes, Trump brought a lot of new voters to the polls, particularly working class whites. But he also motivates the other side like no one in history. Right now, Democrats are dispirited and functionally leaderless. That changes overnight if Trump is the nominee.
- We have other great candidates! Unlike the Democrats, the GOP has a deep bench. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the obvious choice. He has all of Trump’s good qualities — the policies, the combativeness — but he also has both personal and political discipline. And there are others: Sens. Tom Cotton, Tim Scott and Josh Hawley all come to mind. These are all serious people with conviction, experience and character.
There’s risk, of course. A bloody primary may hurt the GOP’s chances in the general. But this is a chance we must take. It’s time to thank Trump for his service and move on.
Scott Johnston (@sjohnston60 on Twitter) is the author of the satiric novel “Campusland” as well as the Naked Dollar website.