The AtlanticThe Atlantic

The Republican primary’s Trump paradox

By David A. Graham

23 May 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. Republican presidential primaries have been chaotic affairs in the past.

For years, Republican presidential primaries have been chaotic affairs.

In 2008, Rudy Giuliani looked like a prohibitive front-runner until his disastrous decision to forsake campaigning in the calendar’s first two states (an indicator of judgment issues to come) created openings for Mike Huckabee and eventually John McCain. In 2012, things got so weird that Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain all led the field at various points. Then 2016 was even weirder—the earliest debate saw 17 participants in two tiers—and culminated in Donald Trump’s stunning victory.

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