The Corner

Can Republican Holdouts Be Guilt-Tripped Into Supporting Trump?

My new Bloomberg View column is on whether Trump can unify Republicans to the degree necessary to win in November.

In the last four presidential elections, the Republican nominee has never won less than 90 percent of the Republican vote. Republicans won the popular vote only one of those times, in 2004, and when they did they carried 93 percent of Republican voters. Donald Trump has defied the odds before, but they are against his achieving this degree of party unity. . . . 

Some Republican officeholders and voters will still consider Trump unfit for office and no conservative — but his supporters, old and new, will try to shame them into supporting the presumptive nominee. Newt Gingrich, who has for months been backing Trump without explicitly endorsing him, told Sean Hannity on Tuesday night that if you’re not for him you’re “functionally for Hillary Clinton” and therefore for a “radical Supreme Court.”

Gingrich and other Trump supporters will have to overcome several problems in making this case. . . .

In those last four elections, Republicans have never made up less than 32 percent of the electorate. Keeping that number from dipping could prove a challenge for Trump, too.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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