GOP struggling to recruit quality candidates because they don't want to 'toady' up to Trump: columnist
Donald Trump (Photo by Saul Loeb for AFP)

According to longtime political observer Jonathan Bernstein, as long as Donald Trump casts his imposing shadow over the Republican Party, the GOP leadership will struggle because many potential electable candidates want nothing to do with him.

That problem he reports is particularly acute when it comes to high-profile positions such as governorships and membership in the U.S. Senate.

Using the struggling post-primary candidacies of Herschel Walker in Georgia and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania as a springboard, Bernstein said extremist candidates who pledge their fealty to the former president have a leg up in the primaries but are likely to go down to defeat in the general election -- and that is compounding the GOP's problems.

As he sees it, mainstream conservatives want nothing to do with supporting Trump's stolen election claims and that means they will become targets to be attacked in Trump's eyes.

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"Potentially strong candidates are choosing not to run in part because of what they would need to do to win and because of what they would have to do once elected. Some promising candidates might enter politics to support the kinds of conservative policies that Republicans once espoused," he wrote before suggesting, "Yet not many of those people are willing to instead devote their time to pretending that massive fraud cost Republicans the 2020 presidential election."

Adding that the lure of power that comes with political office is normally all that it takes to enter the political arena, Bernstein pointed out that the prospect of having to deal with the former president is a big red flag.

"There are plenty of politicians who run for office because they crave power. That’s actually healthy for the system; many politicians who achieved important things for the nation had that as their core motivation." he wrote. "But for them a fundamental problem with Donald Trump’s influence in the GOP is the prospect of having to toady to the former president’s whims just to be able to remain in good standing with the party faithful."

"Put it all together, and the current Republican Party has no use for a lot of the traditional reasons people enter politics, so a lot of potentially strong candidates have no use for the party," he noted before adding that "Republicans have delivered a structural advantage to Democrats," which is why their plan to take over the Senate in November seems in trouble.

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