Gill: President Trump Doesn’t Need to Debate: He’s Our Nominee and It’s Time to Unite Behind Him

The political class and its army of pundits are predictably outraged that President Trump is likely skipping the Republican Primary Debate for an interview with Tucker Carlson.

Just as they did in 2016, they’re missing the point and misreading the moment.

President Trump doesn’t need to debate. He’s effectively an incumbent and the clear leader of the Republican Party who’s dominating every major poll. None of the other candidates can beat Trump. Republican voters love him. His nomination is inevitable, and it’s laughable to think Trump has some obligation to share a debate stage with politicians polling under 5% nationally. A debate would serve no purpose but to boost the other candidates’ egos and divide the America First movement at a time when we desperately need to unite against a radically authoritarian Left.

Establishment talkers say debates are an irreplaceable part of the nomination process. They’re done every cycle, they say, so we must have one this round too.

But the talking heads conveniently forget how unique 2024 is. Mr. Trump is effectively an incumbent nominee who transformed the Republican Party and ran the most successful administration in modern history. The Left stole the 2020 election through a sophisticated and unprecedented blitz of election interference and outright fraud. Trump is running for the position he should be in now, and whether the establishment wants to admit it or not, voters recognize this.

Moreover, President Trump is the Party’s undisputed leader. He founded the America First movement and resurrected a dying Republican caucus from the ash heap of Bush-era irrelevancy. If it weren’t for Trump, it’s hard to imagine a nationally viable Republican Party. The Left knows this, which is why they are targeting him with the full might of the federal government over patently absurd, politicized charges.

Incumbents of wildly popular presidencies don’t need to do debates. President Trump oversaw one of the strongest economies in modern history, a return of America’s prestige abroad, a resurgence of patriotism domestically, and a revival of the values that made America great. Voters know what they are getting with President Trump, and they like it.

That’s why he’s dominating the polls. At this point, there is no conceivable path to victory for any of his challengers. According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, President Trump is up nationally by 40 points. His closest rival, Ron DeSantis polls in the low teens and is hemorrhaging support daily. None of the other candidates are even in the double digits. The early primary states paint a similar picture. According to the latest polling, Trump is up 26 points in Iowa, 39 points in New Hampshire, and 34 points in South Carolina.

And the establishment refrain that we are early in the primaries (“Guiliani was up by 10 points at this point in 2011!”) rings hollow. We aren’t early in the primaries. President Trump announced his candidacy a week after the 2022 midterms, far sooner than candidates in past cycles. We are almost a year into the election, and the entire time, Trump’s lead has grown. No challenger has even come close. The reality is that the primaries are over. Trump won.

So why should President Trump share a stage with Doug Burgum (a politician nobody has ever heard of outside of North Dakota) or his former employees Nikki Haley and Chris Christie? He doesn’t need to. Nobody is entitled to a debate with the incumbent, especially one as popular as President Trump. Debating him is a privilege that has to be earned. And it hasn’t been.

More importantly, how does a debate help advance the America First movement? It doesn’t. In fact, there is nothing the Left would like more than to see Republicans tear each other up while millions of people watch. We are dealing with unprecedented levels of institutional corruption, ubiquitous government weaponization and a deranged anti-Trump media. The last thing the conservative movement needs is to fracture into irrelevant warring factions destined to lose. The debate charade is useless and counterproductive. Donald Trump doesn’t need it, and neither does the Republican Party or the nation.

Now is the time to coalesce behind our nominee and beat the Left.
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