IF YOU WERE A REPUBLICAN, WOULD YOU WORK FOR A TRUMP CHALLENGER’S CAMPAIGN? I WOULDN’T.

The Washington Post's Aaron Blake has just published a ranking of possible 2024 Republican presidential candidates. The list gets some things right (Donald Trump is #1, Ron DeSantis is #2) and some things spectacularly wrong (Nikki Haley and Tim Scott are #3 and #4). Blake tries to imagine the thinking of MAGA voters, but can't quite get it right. On the Trump base's likely reaction to DeSantis if Trump doesn't run, Blake writes:
His record as Florida’s governor gives that movement pretty much everything it wants: A guy with big-state executive experience who loves to joust with the left and has found himself (justifiably) scrutinized by the media.
Let me fix that:
His record as Florida’s governor gives that movement pretty much everything it wants: A guy with big-state executive experience who loves to joust with the left and has found himself (justifiably) scrutinized by the media.
The MAGA base loves DeSantis's fights with the left (and with anyone who wants to reduce COVID deaths). The MAGA base loves the notion that the mainstream media hates DeSantis (even though much of the media has seemed besotted with him). Executive experience? The base doesn't care. Job skills are much less important than owning-the-libs skills.

Blake understands that Trump would essentially clear the field, but he says that if Trump declares his candidacy, "You’d likely see what you saw in 2020, which was a couple semi-reputable folks tossing their name in the hat in hopes of making a point or that maybe he implodes." Maybe someone would run. But for how long?

If you were a Republican, would you want to work on the campaign of a candidate who was challenging Donald Trump for the 2024 nomination? I wouldn't. We see what's happening out there these days when someone challenges the angry right-wing base. Election workers are being threatened. There are threats at school board meetings. Allen West, the former chair of the Texas Republican Party, attacked a man in an airport who asked him to put on a mask, ripping the man's own mask off his face. Store clerks are similarly attacked in America on a regular basis. The New York Times today reports on intimidation of school nurses who try to enforce quarantining of teammmates after school athletes test positive for COVID. And Republicans aren't exempt -- police on Long Island arrested a man who threatened GOP congressman Andrew Garbarino, who voted for the infrastructure bill.

So what's going to happen to campaign staffers or volunteers for any Republican candidate who vows to take Trump on? Do you think they'll be safe? What if you're volunteering for, say, Chris Christie, and even though he's mostly polling in the single digits against Trump, his numbers are 10% or 11% in New Hampshire and he's getting a great deal of media attention for his "Let's move beyond Trump" message? You might get death threats in your email. You might get your tires slashed. People might follow you home. Under those circumstances, how long would you want to continue being a campaign worker?

Maybe nothing will happen because the challengers will be regarded as big losers with no chance of dethroning the king. But I have my doubts. Rage is the default setting for every Republican voter right now at all times.