Former President Donald Trump has many reasons to avoid the Republican primary debates. The quality of the Republican field ranks near the top of the list.

But the former president has made a decision that could prevent him from participating in the debates even if he wished.

According to Fox News, Trump told Newsmax’s Eric Bolling on Wednesday that he will not pledge his unconditional support for the GOP’s eventual nominee.

“I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president,” Trump said of his fellow candidates. “So right there, there’s a problem, OK?”

To participate in the Republican Party debates, candidates must meet polling and fundraising thresholds and also sign a pledge to support the eventual nominee.

Fox News reported Thursday that only three of the 12 Republican candidates thus far have signed the pledge: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

Of course, DeSantis, Haley and Ramaswamy have plenty of incentive to join the debates. Trump, the runaway leader in all primary polls, has no such incentive.

Trump’s comments, however, have nothing to do with polls and ordinary political calculations.

Indeed, the fact that Trump can name “three or four” Republican candidates he would refuse to support for president reveals the enormous chasm between him and the party’s establishment.

One suspects that former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, vociferous Trump critics with low polling numbers, are two of those people Trump would not support.

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Pence and Christie, for instance, support continued funding of the Ukraine war, which the establishment loves but voters reject.

At this point, the question of whom Trump would or would not support seems academic. After all, every statistic and anecdote shows that the overwhelming majority of Republican voters prefer Trump.

If the well-funded and once-popular DeSantis could not diminish Trump’s standing, what chance do the others have?

Furthermore, party insiders who insist on a loyalty pledge must strike many Republican voters as shockingly tone-deaf.

President Joe Biden and the deep state want to imprison their leading rival and most effective critic. Establishment figures in both parties have shown venomous hostility to Trump and his tens of millions of supporters.

Meanwhile, ordinary Americans, whether Trump supporters or otherwise, have awakened to ruling class abuses and crimes. One suspects, in fact, that many Republicans would support Democratic candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. before voting for the likes of Pence or Christie.

Thus, in the present political atmosphere and historical moment, a loyalty pledge based on party affiliation seems anachronistic at best.

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