US election: The GOP falls in line behind Trump
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here and back in New York City for a Quick Take to kick off your week. Plenty happening around the world, but it is the United States election narrative that seems most important to me this week. Why?
Well, first, Tim Scott endorsed Donald Trump. Ron DeSantis dropped out, endorsed Donald Trump. It is absolutely looking like the GOP is once again Donald Trump's party. The primary season, of course, is not over. Nikki Haley from South Carolina is still in it, but it is hard for me to see how she takes a state. I look at the polls, I don't see what's available to her. She's making a lot of money and certainly there are lots of people that would like to see someone other than Trump, especially because Trump's track record over the last three elections have been so poor and the coattails are challenging, the primaries. You can beat centrists from the GOP, but then when you're actually up in a campaign itself, they've underperformed. So for all of those reasons, there are plenty of people that don't want to see Trump in the presidential race against Biden that Nikki Haley, or just about anybody else would probably beat Biden much more easily.
But Trump is dominant in the GOP, and I think it is all over but for a couple more sort of day cycles. It's hard for me to see how Nikki has a path to the nomination. I guess it is conceivable that she would stay out there and become a never-Trump voice. I personally doubt it. I expect that she will end up endorsing Trump just as almost everyone, except Chris Christie, has that's been going against him. I see across the board the GOP getting in line and becoming loyal to their nominee. And that's important because it looks very likely, increasingly likely, that Trump will indeed be convicted, at least in Washington, DC, in all of these indictments that you see before he is facing the election on November 5th. But if he's convicted after he's already gotten the nomination, the overwhelming majority of those in the GOP are going to say either “it doesn't really count for much. We still support him”, or even “it's politicized. It's not a real case. We think it's a witch hunt, as Trump has been saying. We think we need to go against and investigate the Bidens and those that have supported them.”
So the impeachment schedule for all sorts of characters around the Biden administration grows in a Republican-led House. I'd say dominated, but it's not. They only have a two-seat majority right now. But otherwise, the speaker goes if they don't do their bidding. And also that this doesn't really undermine Trump's ability to be competitive in the election overall. If you made me bet right now, I'd say Trump is 60:40 likely to win the presidency, but I have very low conviction around that.
First of all, these are both very old candidates. Anything could happen to them in ten months leading up to the election. Secondly, there's been all sorts of new unexpected news in a very volatile geopolitical environment. A year ago, no one was talking about war in the Middle East, people saying how stable it was. Now it's dominating the news every day. You really think we get through ten more months without another out of the blue significant geopolitical conflict? Frankly, I doubt it. North Korea would be the most likely to see a true wild card, but massive expansion of the Middle East also certainly plausible. Plenty of other places too. Cyber attacks, challenges with AI disinformation in the US election. This is going to be an electoral cycle that is going to have all sorts of out of the blue risks. And so to come out early and say, I feel confident that Trump is going to win or Biden is going to win, strikes me as pretty foolish at this point.
There was a consensus in Davos that Trump is going to do much better than people think, that Biden should really step down. The Davos consensus is frequently wrong. Does that mean you bet against it? No, it just means it's not a very interesting data points. I don't talk very much about it, frankly, but I do think it's important that all of the people attending, both on the corporate side, the financial side, and especially on the government side, finally do understand that Trump is for real again, that he's getting the nomination and he can easily be the next president. So if that consensus means that European leaders in particular and others are going to start preparing for how they would engage with a Trump presidency 2.0, for how they will respond to a Trump presidency 2.0, how they prepare themselves for the policy implications and the uncertainties of their most important ally being so much more volatile over the course of four years.
I think that is a very positive thing indeed. So that's a little bit of where I see the race right now and what we're going to be expecting real soon. The willingness to jump on board and support Trump no matter what he has said about you before, no matter how he is acted, just like DeSantis is pulling a Ted Cruz. Watch everyone get ready to do that in the coming weeks.
That's where we are. Hope everyone's doing well and I'll talk to you all real soon.