The 2024 GOP race now, thankfully, has one less candidate in the running.
Texas Republican Will Hurd has dropped out as well as throwing his support behind Nikki Haley.
The news here is really more about who Hurd is supporting than Hurd dropping out.
In suspending his campaign, Hurd stated:
"Our nation deserves a leader who can unite us and navigate the complex challenges we face, particularly when it comes to our national security. I believe Ambassador Nikki Haley is the best person in this race to do that."
I have to address his statement because it just aggravates me.
We do not elect "leaders" in this country; we elect representation.
Yes, presidents make leadership decisions, but they do not "lead" We the People, they represent us, something these candidates have all seemed to have forgotten.
With Hurd now out of the race, the field is finally starting to shrink. As big as it is, however, there are really only four players in this race:
This is what the current average polling looks like:
Donald Trump is the clear leader, and while his lead seems unsurmountable, I want to outline a few ways that could change.
Hurd only had 0.1% support, so I am not sure how much of an impact that will have on Haley's race, but I did find it interesting that he threw his support behind her. That could get more people to at least look at her a bit more.
The real bump for candidates will come when Pence, Christie, and Scott all drop out. Even though they have small percentages, collectively, they hold 10%, which could give one candidate a major boost. If they decide to split their endorsements, it will not have the same impact.
That leaves us with DeSantis, Ramaswamy, and Haley.
I think Ramaswamy will fall in line with Trump because he has been sucking up to the man from the start of this race. Throwing his people behind Trump could pretty much end this race unless one thing happens.
That would have to be for Pence, Christie, and Scott to all back DeSantis. Then DeSantis and Haley make a deal that Haley drops out and puts her support behind DeSantis. Haley does this in order to secure the VP spot on DeSantis' ticket.
If they do that before the first primary vote is cast, it could dramatically change this race.
If everyone falls behind DeSantis, he could conceivably take Iowa from Trump or capture enough delegates to scare Trump. That brings us to Nevada.
Nevada is another proportional state, and Trump is again floating right around that 50 percent mark, so a head-to-head battle could see the DeSantis-Haley ticket as an even split with Trump. Again, however, this is with all candidates falling in behind DeSantis.
That brings us to South Carolina, which could be a game-changer for a united ticket against Trump.
South Carolina splits its delegates a bit differently, and this could be a problem for Trump. There is a dual split based on how the state votes as well as districts.
Both DeSantis and Haley are poling strongly there right now, with about 31% of the vote. This is actually one of Trump's weakest primary states right now, as well as being a weak state for Ramaswamy, as Trump would get a little bump if Ramaswamy falls in line with Trump.
A united DeSantis-Haley ticket could outright take the majority of delegates away from Trump, sending Trump and DeSantis to Michigan in a dead heat, where Trump holds a 28-point advantage over DeSantis, which would virtually disappear if he and Haley unite, and everyone but Ramaswamy falls in line with DeSantis.
Next up on the calendar is Idaho and Missouri. There is no recent polling date for Idaho, but DeSantis has polled strongly there, so this could be another toss-up.
I realize this is a lot of moving pieces that would have to fall perfectly in place, but now you know why Donald Trump is so nervous about DeSantis and continues to attack him.
Believe me, he has a big lead now, but if this field shrinks, that lead starts to dissipate rather quickly. No other candidate in this race is going to support Trump over DeSantis besides Ramaswamy, which means DeSantis starts to gobble up all those points.
The key, however, is Haley joining forces specifically as DeSantis' VP before they cast the first vote. If they do that, this is going to be a very long, very hard-fought battle to the national convention.