The GOP’s 2024 presidential field has an inertia problem, Axios reports.
At the front is former president Donald Trump, who is described as a wounded candidate. Republicans privately fear that Trump will lose to President Biden if he is the GOP nominee.
However, Trump will not go away until there is a Republican challenger to step up and challenge him.
So far, every viable contender is pulling their punches.
Trump’s polling numbers dipped after his lackluster announcement in November that he was running for the White House for a third time.
Because his announcement flopped, it failed to scare off potential rivals in the way he had hoped.
But instead of hitting Trump while he was down, other potential Republican candidates have been busy trying to define themselves while avoiding the main task of standing up against Trump for the nomination.
Meanwhile, Trump has been hurling unanswered attacks at his GOP rivals and testing fresh ways to reset his campaign.
Few experts and analysts believe that a brazenly anti-Trump Republican could win the nomination.
But running as a shadow of the former president without his rabid base of supporters poses its own huge challenges.
So is the case for the main contenders, Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Haley has repeatedly declined to criticize her former boss or even articulate how she differs from Trump on the issues, other than calling for a “new generation” of leadership.
Scott said he couldn’t think of many policy differences at all between himself and Trump, and has even praised the Trump administration for its “monumental” achievements.
DeSantis has refused to engage in Trump’s vicious attacks. DeSantis has taken only veiled shots at the former president by pointing to his own record of electoral dominance.
Pence has largely avoided confrontation and said only that there will be “better choices” than Trump in 2024.