Former President Donald Trump has not yet officially announced a third run for the White House. After a well-attended Save America rally in Texas this month, and telling a camera during a golf game that he’ll be both 45th and 47th president, however, it’s clear that the former president is preparing another run.
This time, though, he won’t be joined by his 2016 running mate and former vice president, Mike Pence.
In 2021, the former president reportedly boasted to one of his advisers that high-profile Republicans are “begging” to be on his list of potential running mates for 2024 – yet another indication that an official announcement is on the way.
“They’re all begging me. They all come here,” Trump reportedly told the unnamed adviser.
A New Focus On Loyalty, Women, and non-White Conservatives
In 2016, Mike Pence was then-candidate Donald Trump’s shot at winning and maintaining the support of evangelical Christians and hardcore conservatives within the Republican Party. Pence, a conservative Christian and the governor of Rust Belt Indiana at the time he was picked as Trump’s running mate, gave Trump credibility after decades of funding Democrat election campaigns.
After appointing three constitutionalists to the Supreme Court in his first year and delivering several legislative victories for conservatives, however, a figure like Pence is simply no longer needed.
This time, the former president has the firm support of more than 50% of the GOP primary voters and strong support from evangelical Christians and Rust Belt voters. In 2020, President Biden had the edge in the suburbs, but it’s unclear whether President Joe Biden (or whichever candidate the Democrats choose) can count on that support again in 2024 after inflation hitting a 40-year-high and general economic turmoil. Trump may need some help winning back the suburbs in 2024, and he will certainly need help in the cities.
That’s presumably why Politico reports that Trump is likely to focus on women and “conservatives of color” for his 2024 VP pick.
“According to conversations with a dozen Trump advisers and close associates, the former president doesn’t feel bound by geographic or ideological considerations — or any standard political rules at all,” the outlet reports.
John McLaughlin, a campaign pollster for former President Trump, said that Trump doesn’t need to pick a running mate to “balance out of the wings of the party.”
“He is the party, basically,” he said, adding that if Trump runs, his VP choice will ultimately come down to what he wants.
“It will be a much more personal decision this time,” he said.
The only certainty around Donald Trump’s next VP pick is that it won’t be former Vice President Mike Pence.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.