Sometimes the surest indicator of someone’s standing is not what their own “side” is saying – but what the opposition is saying.
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Anticipating that the presidential election will consume the nation’s political attention as soon as the midterms are over, American Bridge is laying the groundwork for opposition research into the GOP candidates.
The list is highly informative as it suggests who Democrats view as a threat.
Making the list were nearly two dozen Republicans.
Let us have a look:
The Next Candidate …
The most prominent name on the list, former President Donald Trump.
In addition to Trump, the list includes 20 other GOP hopefuls. The most viable among them was Ron DeSantis, the current Governor of Florida, who has become a household name in the last year or two.
Youngkin achieved national prominence when his Virginia gubernatorial race was viewed as a litmus for the national mood. Youngkin won the election, putting Democrats into a state of anxiety that is now reaching its apex, with just about two weeks to go before the midterm elections.
Sununu, the Governor of New Hampshire, also enjoys national-level name brand recognition; his father was George H. W. Bush’s Chief of Staff.
American Bridge’s list also featured several former members of the Trump administration. Most prominent amongst them is former Vice President Mike Pence. Obviously, the VP position is a springboard to the presidency. But Pence has fallen out of favor with Trump, consequent of Pence’s refusal to step in and prevent Biden’s 2020 election win to be certified. VP candidates who operate without the support of their president have fared poorly. Al Gore, who chose to distance himself from Bill Clinton after he was embroiled in scandal, lost in 2000. Nixon, who only enjoyed tepid support from Eisenhower, lost in 1960. Pence would surely be running without the support of Trump.
Several GOP senators made the list. Ted Cruz will be back; he was a favorite in 2016 before Trump elbowed his way in, called Cruz’s wife unattractive, and then extracted an endorsement from Cruz. The Senator from Texas, who has a face that has been scientifically determined to be unlikeable, has grown a beard – possibly in an effort to make his face more likable. Maybe the beard will be a game-changer for Cruz in 2016. Marco Rubio, another veteran of the 2016 race, is projected to contend again. Rubio may find himself in a Florida turf war with Ron DeSantis.
Other senators on the list include Rick Scott, Tim Scott, Joshua Hawley, Tom Cotton – and Mitt Romney. Now, Romney was of course the 2012 GOP presidential nominee. But times have changed and the moderate Romney may have trouble gaining traction in the more extreme version of the GOP that has formed around him.
The lone representative on the list was Liz Cheney. Although come January, she won’t be a representative any longer – she lost her reelection campaign after denouncing Trump. Whether she is a viable GOP candidate will be one of the more curious questions of the 2024 race.
Tulsi Gabbard – who recently left the Democratic Party and is viewed as a future GOP candidate for president – was not on the list.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.