The field for the Republican nomination grew this week as three new names entered the race.
Details: Former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum all announced their campaigns for the nomination in recent days.
Ballotpedia (Center bias) now lists 11 candidates in the race. According to major polls aggregated by FiveThirtyEight (Center bias), former President Donald Trump holding a commanding lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, with a few handfuls of hopefuls toiling in the single-digits.
The "Anti-Trump" Vote: Voices across the political spectrum, especially in left-rated and center-rated outlets, think Trump will benefit the most from a crowded Republican field. The consensus is that roughly a third of Republican voters are firmly behind Trump and won't consider alternatives. While that leaves two-thirds of voters up of for grabs, they're now split between at least 10 candidates.
Left-rated outlets previously highlighted Republican candidates' reluctance to criticize Trump for fear of angering his base, but in recent weeks, jabs at the former president have increased.
DeSantis said Trump is "a different guy today than when he was running in 2015 and 2016." Christie said Trump "never admits a fault and will always find someone else and something else to blame for whatever goes wrong but find every reason to take credit for anything." Referring to the aftermath of the 2020 election, Pence said "anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be President of the United States."
How the Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum gave the new entries little fanfare. Some left-rated voices questioned their motivations, suggesting ulterior motives of book deals or cabinet positions. Right-rated voices were similarly pessimistic, with some outlining the potential routes and circumstances that could get the hopefuls to Super Tuesday.
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Snippets from the Center
"Long shots have also emerged from nowhere to win past nominating fights, Feehery noted, including Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Trump, who was polling at just 4% when he announced his candidacy in June 2015."
"Mr Pence was effectively the Trump administration's ambassador to the Christian right, touting wins on high-profile cultural issues like abortion and religious freedom. Now he hopes to capitalise on that history and peel away the former president's evangelical voters."
Snippets from the Left
"Most of these candidates have to know they aren’t going to be the next president, so why are they wasting our time? Ego, mostly. Politicians tend to surround themselves with yes men and true believers. Add in the ease of promotion on social media and the potential for a national network of small donors."
"Are you picking up on a theme here, people? We have a very crowded field of superrich candidates. (Don’t call them billionaires!) And while sitting on piles of cash will not necessarily make you president, it sure does help open a lot of doors."
Snippets from the Right
"Of course, the Republican Party has an abiding interest in performing like a vehicle dedicated to winning elections. Today, that imperative demands that the party do whatever it takes to avoid a multi-candidate pileup on the debate stage, which means barring also-rans with scant hopes of attracting a critical mass of support among GOP primary voters."
"No one has this thing locked up, nor should they. No one votes for 7 months, and blind loyalty to any politician is insane – they owe you the loyalty, not the other way around. But I will say this again, that no matter what I’ve written here, or what I have tweeted or will tweet in the future, I would crawl over broken glass to vote for any of them, for all of them, over any Democrat."