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GOP Civil War: Donald Trump vs. DeSantis vs. Pence for 2024 Nomination?

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona back in 2016. Credit: Gage Skidmore.

Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, and Donald Trump to Face Off In 2024? – With presidential candidates expected to begin announcing their campaigns in the wake of the November midterm elections, and with former President Donald Trump already on the campaign trail despite not having made an official announcement, the rumors of what the GOP field will look like have begun.

Among the top three contenders are former President Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and perhaps most curiously, former Vice President Mike Pence. And if those rumors prove true, it could result in a more contentious, bitter, and vicious GOP presidential primary season than we saw in 2016.

Ron DeSantis

According to one YouGov/Yahoo News poll, some 36% of Republican-leaning independents and registered Republicans would throw their weight behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and other polls from Florida, Michigan, and New Hampshire have also given DeSantis the advantage over former President Donald Trump.

While DeSantis is popular among Republicans, however, running in 2024 carries the risk of becoming unpopular. During the 2016 presidential primary season, Texas Senator Ted Cruz went hard against Donald Trump, even announcing running mate Carly Fiorina before eventually losing the nomination and slamming the New York businessman as a crook and a “pathological liar.”

Though the pair have since resolved their differences and become political allies, Cruz’s chances of winning the GOP presidential nomination have dwindled dramatically. Once a contender to win the nomination, Cruz has barely registered on a number of 2024 polls over the last year. In a New York Times/Siena College poll from July this year, Cruz came third with 7% support, behind Donald Trump with 49% and Ron DeSantis with 25%.

While DeSantis could undoubtedly be within a shot of winning the GOP nomination if the anti-Trump vote can be consolidated behind his campaign, he risks angering a dedicated section of the GOP base – a move that would not only risk his popularity if he loses but which could also dissuade Trump loyalists from turning out to vote in November 2024.

Mike Pence

The idea of a former vice president going up against a former president in a presidential primary is unprecedented. Even the fact that former Vice President Mike Pence is considering a 2024 run is significant, as it widens the divide between the two men that peaked on January 6 when he broke with Trump on his Electoral College role. It also risks both candidates potentially tarnishing the work they did together in the White House in 2017.

While Pence may enjoy some support from Trump supporters based solely on the fact that he was loyal to the former president for four years, he’s unlikely to chip away at Trump’s gargantuan support within the GOP. He will, however, have a good shot at winning over what’s left of the Never Trump vote and other more traditional Republican voters who care more about fiscal responsibility than Trump’s brand of populist nationalism.

Nonetheless, former Vice President Pence appears to be all-in on a 2024 run, speaking at conservative events across the country and preaching about the successes of his time in the White House. The Washington Post noted that Pence typically makes no direct references to the former president. During a recent speech at the Florence Baptist Temple in South Carolina, he repeatedly made reference to the Trump-Pence Administration – and not former President Trump.

Speaking to the New York Times in an interview published in May, Pence also appeared to indicate that he would be willing to go for the GOP nomination in 2024 even if Trump runs.

“We’ll go where we’re called,” Pence told the newspaper.

Don’t Forget About Liz Cheney…

The former vice president is unlikely to be the only candidate vying for the vote of more traditional GOP voters, however, with Rep. Liz Cheney refusing to rule out a 2024 run herself during an interview over the weekend. Speaking to Jake Tapper on CNN, Cheney said that she has not yet made a decision on a possible 2024 run, and that her focus right now is on fulfilling her role on the controversial and politically-charged January 6 committee.

“At this point, I haven’t made a decision on 2024…I’ll make a decision on 2024 down the road,” Cheney said.

And, while Cheney and Pence may see eye to eye on plenty of issues, their approaches to former President Trump and his supporters are very different. While Pence keeps Trump at a respectful distance, Cheney is actively working to pursue criminal charges against the former president. For that reason alone, Pence and Cheney could find themselves at odds during primary season.

Cheney could also run as an independent.

Donald Trump

Some polls, however, suggest that the former president’s grip over the Republican Party could be slipping somewhat. The same YouGov/Yahoo News poll that revealed DeSantis’ popularity also showed that more than four in 10 Republicans believe that Donald Trump should not run for president again, or that they aren’t sure. However, a majority remains on his side.

Trump said earlier this month that he has already made his decision on running in 2024, and given that the campaign rallies continue, it’s clearer than ever that the former president is preparing his third run for the White House. Unlike in 2020, however, he could face some real competition for the nomination – which is likely one of the reasons why he is reportedly mulling an early announcement.

Brace yourself for a brutal primary season. Donald Trump, it seems, will have come competition.

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 reports 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.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He 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 reports 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.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. David Chang

    July 27, 2022 at 10:48 am

    We have men of science; too few men of God.
    We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.
    Man is stumbling blindly through a spiritual darkness while toying with the precarious secrets of life and death.
    The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience.
    Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.

    Armistice Day speech (10 November 1948, in Boston, MA)

  2. Omega 13

    July 27, 2022 at 10:51 am

    It will be Trump and DeSantis running on a ticket in 2024. All the rest of this is a bunch of crap being stirred up by the leftist media… like here.

    • Bobby

      July 27, 2022 at 1:32 pm

      Can Trump run from prison?

  3. Stefan Stackhouse

    July 27, 2022 at 12:39 pm

    There was a time when Pence would have been the heir-apparent and a virtual shoo-in, but we no longer live in those times. So many rabid Trumpers have been turned against him that I see zero chance of his getting the nomination.

    A lot can happen to Trump between now and the summer of 2024: major health issues, a criminal indictment, or who knows what. More than a few of his supporters could also get tired of him and become ready to move on.

    I don’t know if DeSantis is the Man of Destiny or not. His prospects look hopeful at the moment, but it is still early days, and there are others waiting in the wings. Several might get their brief boomlets along the way, as usually happens.

  4. Froike

    July 27, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    A Trump DeSantis Ticket looks great to Me.

  5. Omega 13

    July 27, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    Sorry to disappoint you, Bobby, but that’s just not gonna happen. Not even in your fever dreams.

  6. KB

    July 27, 2022 at 11:08 pm

    Because he’ll be considered not mentally competent enough to stand trial.

    I don’t think America has ever had a presidential candidate whose chief motivation in running was to use the office to protect himself from the consequences of his life of crime. That and to Hoover up the tax dollars and the political contributions from the gullible that he missed the first time around (tell me, how much of the money he’s raised to fight election fraud has actually gone towards fighting election fraud? Suckers!).

    Not that the mass executions, tent cities and personal use of stated National Guards against his opponents aren’t just what is needed to make America great again.

    And it was so unfair not to give him the Medal of Honor for being on a plane that landed in Iraq.

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