MSNBC’s Chris Hayes had important advice for Republicans running against Donald Trump in the 2024 election — which he called “the single most obvious important lesson” from the 2016 election cycle. Hayes explained, “You cannot successfully defeat Donald Trump in a Republican primary by running to his right and insisting to the base that he is not a ‘real conservative.'”
.@chrislhayes on the 2024 Republican primary field: “Somehow they have not learned what was probably the single most important lesson of when he crushed the previous field in 2016—you cannot successfully defeat Donald Trump in a Republican primary by running to his right.” pic.twitter.com/a0rpcPh8jh
— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) September 20, 2023
Hayes then played a series of clips from would-be 2016 candidates who all attempted to out-right Trump and failed. These included Rick Perry, who called Trump’s candidacy a “cancer on conservatism” and Jeb Bush, who told a crowd, “If people think Donald Trump’s a conservative, prove it to me.”
The “All In” host closed out the series of clips with a reminder that Senator Lindsay Graham once commented, “I just don’t believe Donald Trump is a reliable conservative Republican. Good luck with Paul Ryan trying to find a conservative agenda with this guy.”
“No,” Hayes said after the clip ended. “Good luck to you. The base didn’t care, they don’t care. Not only did none of that work, it probably helped Trump enormously.”
As Hayes also pointed out in the segment, despite endorsing and promoting a wide range of hard right conservative policy positions, Trump was seen by voters as more moderate than rival Hillary Clinton on many issues.
Perhaps most “unbelievably,” Hayes said, is that “Republicans in the field are doing it all over again, rewriting the same ‘Stop Trump’ script.” He then played a series of clips from Mike Pence, Tim Scott, and Ron DeSantis, all of whom have attempted to paint themselves as truer conservatives than Trump in recent weeks.
And if Hayes is right, history is a guide for why they’ll all fail.
The question of whether or not Trump’s core base of voters cares about anything other than his reelection has been asked more than once in recent months. In August, “Morning Joe” debated whether or not Trump’s base is akin to a cult.
Joe Scarborough commented, “Nearly 30% more people blindly follow their cult leader Donald Trump than their own religious leaders. That’s like, please don’t tell me about how this is a Jesus thing. It’s not a Jesus thing, it’s a cult thing when 30% more blindly follow Trump than listen to religious leaders.”