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Pence, Christie, and some guy from the Dakotas

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The title of this post isn’t a discarded draft of an early 1970s Bob Dylan concept album, but rather a description of this:

Former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are planning to enter the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination next week in long-shot challenges to the dominance of front-runner Donald Trump.

Christie, who advised Trump’s campaign in 2016 only to become a vocal critic of the former president, will formally¬†announce his 2024 campaign¬†on June 6, a person familiar with the matter said.

Pence, who incurred Trump’s wrath by refusing to support his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, is set to enter the race against his former boss on June 7, three sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is also planning to enter race on the same day as Pence, according to a person familiar with Burgum’s plans.

The growing Republican field concerns many Trump opponents inside the Republican Party. They fear a large number of challengers will splinter the anti-Trump vote and hand the party’s nomination to the former president, who can rely on at least 30% of the Republican base to back him.

It’s been obvious for a couple of years now that the only way to even potentially stop Trump from getting the nomination was for anti-Trump Republicans to coalesce around a single alternative. That hasn’t happened for a very simple reason: there are essentially no anti-Trump Republicans. All of these pretenders to the MAGA throne want to take over the cult rather than dismantle it, as delusional as that ambition so clearly is (Cults don’t function on democratic principles, for one thing).

Haley, Scott, Pence, Christie, et. al. are at this point running for second place, which one of them may well get, given the ongoing implosion of Ron DeSantis’s already farcical challenge. What second place gets you in this particular contest is really unclear — probably something less valuable than a set of steak knives would be my guess — but I suppose these sorts of people just can’t help themselves.

In any event, Donald Trump will be one of two people who have a chance to get elected president of the United States next November.

What a country.

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