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The GOP can’t survive the Only Trumpers
Michael Reagan

Too bad Donald Trump won’t attend the second Republican presidential primary debate next week at the Ronald Reagan Library.

His friends and enemies in the media will miss him and the high ratings he automatically generates, but he’s leading by a huge margin in the polls and he doesn’t need the TV time or media attention.

And though nothing he ever says at this point in his political life can hurt him among his 74 million followers, Trump figures any minor benefit from being in a primary debate is not worth the risk of having some hopeless longshot show him up on stage.

Trump’s decision serves his campaign’s purposes in the same way President Biden helps his campaign by refusing to take part in a primary debate.

But by skipping the primary debates Trump is making a serious mistake that undermines the strength of the Republican Party – which already is weak and in deep doo-do.

Trump’s decision is unfortunate because Republicans need to watch real debates among all their party’s frontrunners.

We need to see if the other candidates can stand up under constant attack, because whoever becomes president will be constantly attacked by Democrats, the liberal media and foreign leaders.

Trump handled himself pretty well under a lot of pressure during his four years in office, but that was three years ago.

How will he do today? We should be able to watch the 2023 Model Trump in action, but we won’t because he’s playing safe and selfish.

To me, what’s even more sad – and worrisome for the GOP’s chances in 2024 — is hearing Trump say he won’t promise to support whoever the party’s nominee is if it isn’t him.

There are some conservative pundits in the media-sphere who agree with Trump.

They’re telling the MAGA Republicans listening to their shows that there’s no one but Trump to vote for and everyone else is a RINO.

They’re saying they won’t vote for anyone but Trump, which is dumb. And then, when the Republicans get crushed in 2024 because people don’t show up at the polls, the same pundits will cry that we were cheated.

My father would be appalled at these suicidal Trump-only Republicans. He always supported the nominee of the Republican Party and set the bar when it comes to party solidarity.

He supported Gerry Ford in 1976 after he lost the GOP nomination and the Reagans all went out and campaigned around the country for Ford.

The Republican Party was united in my father’s day because it had strong leadership – people like him.

If true conservatives want to take America back, if we want to win in 2024, if we want to right the sinking ship of state, we have to fully support the GOP nominee. Anyone who disagrees has no right to call himself a Reaganite.

Republicans are in serious trouble. We haven’t won a plurality of the presidential popular vote since George H.W. Bush did it in 1988.

We need to win back the majority of voters if we ever hope to regain the White House. And if Republicans can’t do that after the harm Democrats have done to the country for the last three years, when will they ever?

If enough Republicans keep going down that dead-end road where they’ll only support their favored nominee, the party has a pretty good chance of losing everything in 2024 – the White House, the House and the Senate.

And if you think the U.S. is in terrible shape now and can’t possibly get any worse, just wait.

If the Democrats take control of all three branches of the federal government next year, by 2028 they’ll have turned the whole country into the United States of California.

Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, is an author, speaker and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation. Send comments to and follow @reaganworld on Twitter