Scroll to the top

Trump continues to lead the GOP charge

Trump continues to lead the GOP charge
Trump continues to lead GOP's charge | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. Thought I'd talk about the US election. I try not to do that every week because it would get really boring.

It is, of course, the longest and most expensive and most dysfunctional of any major democracy. And would we have it any other way in the United States? Trump, of course, is getting closer and closer to the nomination on the Republican side. It is all over except for the fact that Nikki Haley does not want to drop out. She is still in it. Her arguments are that everybody should get a chance to vote and that she would be much more likely to win in the general election against Joe Biden.

All of those things are true. But as we all know, that's not the way the US electoral system works. She can't win a single state. She can't come close. South Carolina, her home state, where not just Republicans that are registered, but others can actually vote. So an open primary and she still lost by 20 points, could have lost by more. It was a respectable showing, considering just how popular Trump is. But she's got no shot. And she lost her funding just now from the Koch network, which is a big deal. When they stood up and said that they wanted to give a lot of money to Haley, they understand that they're not going to throw good money after bad.

And so that's done. And she's not likely to be able to stay in very long if she's going to lose significant funding, because she needs to be relevant in terms of the airwaves and get her message out there. She has said that she is not thinking about what's going to happen after Super Tuesday, which is almost certainly not true. But what else is she supposed to say for as long as she's in the race? I think when she loses the slate on Super Tuesday, she's going to be in a lot of trouble.

On the Biden side, no one is really running against Biden. Williamson dropped out, but most people didn't know she was in. Dean Phillips hasn't dropped out. Most people don't really know he's in. But very interestingly and coming up real soon in Michigan, where you have five and a half percent of the electorate, Arab American, and they are deeply, deeply unhappy with the fact that Biden has been so strongly supportive of Israel in the ongoing war in Gaza. And there is a significant campaign in Michigan not to support Biden, but to write in that they don't have anybody that they're in favor of. And if that proves significant, that is absolutely going to hurt the president. It's one of many things that are not going particularly well for him as we think about his effort to secure a second go at the presidency come November.

But the more relevant point in the near term is what happens in the GOP. How does Trump secure the nomination and is everyone behind him or does he lose a significant piece of Republicans? On that front, I think he gets everybody. I've seen so many people that privately have said that they were never Trump six months ago, even three months ago, people that were supporting Chris Christie, high level folks in the Republican Party that are now saying, “well, he's going to be the nominee, he's probably going to be president because they want a Republican to be president. And so we're going to get behind him.” I've seen that with John Thune just come out, the number two on the Republican side in the Senate. Tim Scott, of course, a serious adult, serious conservative who has decided he's going to be as full throated, as supportive Trump is humanly possible. A lot of the billionaires are in that camp. Koch, of course, is going to be there. But also we've seen that with Jamie Dimon coming out of Davos and so many of all of these people that have been privately saying we can't stand the guy, we want anyone but him. But since that isn't going to prove worthwhile or possible, we're going to get behind Trump.

And this is the biggest issue for democracy, he has huge amounts of support in the Republican Party, he has the money that will be behind him. But he also refuses to accept the outcome of a free and fair democratic election. That is fundamental. There's nothing that's more essential to the functioning of a democracy than being able to hold an election that people believe in and transferring power to an opponent if you lose. That fundamental assumption of democracy is something that Trump as strongly disagrees with as anything in his body and showed that off in 2020 and will show that off again in 2024 if it goes against him or if it threatens to go against him.

And the fact that is not close to the issue that exercises all of these people that privately say they can't stand this guy but will get with him, shows that they are not particularly worried about the nature of eroding US democracy. And that reality should be a top concern of American allies around the world. It should be a top hope of American adversaries looking to take advantage of American weakness around the world. It creates and injects a huge amount of chaos into the global system. The most powerful country in the world today is also the one that is least confident about the intrinsic value of its political system, doesn't really know what it stands for, and is going to continue to erode its institutions legitimacy and the strength of its institutions without particular guardrails, at least as far as this electoral cycle goes.

And that is true, frankly, no matter whether Trump or Biden wins. And again, I feel that Trump is clearly unfit for the job and it's not a matter of anything other than what I just said. And I felt that way when he was a Democrat. This has nothing to do with his political party. It certainly has nothing to do with his ideology because Trump isn't fundamentally ideological except in support of his narcissism. But the fact that even under four years of Biden, that the political institutions in the US has have continued to erode, that you continue to have stronger and stronger distance between what is seen as basic facts and belief among Democrats and Republicans. The fact that the United States is becoming more politically tribal and dysfunctional says that Trump is a symptom, a deep symptom, and a strong symptom of something that is profoundly broken in the US system. Something I've talked about for a while.

I'll talk about more going forward, but it does make us very concerned about where 2024 is going. It's why the US versus itself was our number one risk back at the beginning of this year and by a long margin, given the impact of what that means for the rest of the world, while we continue to focus on it all the way through.

That's it for me and I'll talk to you all real soon.


Subscribe to GZERO's daily newsletter