“Polls currently show Trump in a virtual tie with Joe Biden — and that does not account for the impact of either the Electoral College, which would have allowed him to capture the presidency had he even come within four points of Biden in the national vote, or the likely presence of two spoiler campaigns dividing up the anti-Trump vote,” New York Magazine columnist Jonathan Chait writes.
“But the single-minded focus on electability is not merely a communications strategy. It is also a way of establishing moral boundaries within the party. And the message sent by focusing on Trump’s electability is that the only problem with his behavior is that it reduces the party’s chances of obtaining power.”
Chait continues, “If Trump does win the nomination, which now appears extremely likely, the electability argument leaves no room for abandoning him; to the contrary, it creates a permission structure for Trump skeptics to once again support him as the lesser evil.”
Chait contends that a “Trump or Death” banner unfurled at a recent Yankees game underlies a message of violence if he does not win.
Donald Trump has consciously wrapped himself in themes from the American Revolution, and “Trump or Death” recalls George Washington’s slogan “Victory or Death.” Trumpian art has depicted the former president in connection with Washington before, such as one depicting him in a George Washigntonesque pose crossing the “swamp” of Washington, D.C.
“The message of this banner is hardly subtle. They are warning the country that if Trump does not win the election (2024) they will commit violence (1776). The banner is propaganda to whip up a violent political coup or to use the threat of one to intimidate voters into handing them power peacefully,” Chait said, recalling the January 6 riot.
Chait was one of the people on the left who also condemned the political violence in the George Floyd riots.
He warns this could be a call for political violence and chides Republicans for sticking with Trump but suggests that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would be beatable if he became the Republican nominee.
“Right now, the RCP polling average shows Biden leading Trump in a trial heat by 0.4 percentage points and leading Ron DeSantis by 3.7 points. Polls don’t tell you everything, certainly not this far away from an election. But there is just not much concrete reason to believe DeSantis would stand a better chance of winning than Trump would. (That is one reason why I’d prefer DeSantis as the nominee.),” Chait said.
What Chait sees as Trump’s authoritarian personality is the real problem with the former president.
“…[H]is the decision to confine his argument to the practical — fascistic threats don’t play well with married white non-college-educated women in the upper Midwest, you know — is emblematic of a broader tendency among Trump’s intra-party rivals. They have focused primarily, and in some cases exclusively, on criticizing Trump on grounds that he can’t win, playing down or omitting any normative moral criticism of his authoritarianism,” he said.