The 2024 presidential election will begin heating up any week now. To date, only one major candidate – former President Donald Trump – has entered the fray.
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Many observers are daydreaming of a matchup between Donald Trump and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC. Certainly, a Trump-AOC matchup would be high-profile and contentious – placing the personifications of two different political movements against one another.
But is a Trump-AOC matchup feasible?
If so, what might such a match up look like?
AOC for President?
AOC will just meet Article II’s age requirement (35 years), in time for the 2024 election.
So, for the first time, AOC will be eligible to serve in the country’s highest office.
Will she go for it?
Probably not. If incumbent President Joe Biden runs for reelection (as most are expecting he will) then AOC will not run against the sitting president.
AOC talks a big game about being a progressive, an outsider, and a rabble-rouser. But AOC will fall in line with the mainstream Democrats the moment she is pressured. And if Biden runs for reelection there will be immense pressure to get in line behind the incumbent.
Cortez will comply; you can forget about some AOC-led left-flank challenge to Biden.
But what if Joe Biden does not run for reelection? Biden is terribly unpopular – and far too old for a second term. Biden could pull an LBJ and call it a day with a term of eligibility remaining.
If Biden did withdraw, then maybe, possibly, AOC would run. House Representatives don’t typically run for president, but House Representatives don’t typically have 13 million Twitter followers. AOC is uniquely positioned as the progressive voice of her generation.
AOC doesn’t speak for me, I want to be clear about that, but she has leveraged social media and a perpetual (and somehow effective) victimhood persona into becoming the House’s most high-profile member. An AOC candidacy would be like catnip for millennial and Gen Z progressives.
But AOC has never played on the presidential stage before; she’s never faced that kind of scrutiny. How would she fare? It’s hard to say – but she would likely be going up against a seasoned pro. Perhaps former President Donald Trump.
Who Would Win?
But assuming Trump gets the nod – and assuming Cortez gets the DNC nomination (these are big assumptions), what might a Trump v. AOC primary look like?
Well, a Trump v. AOC primary would basically pit two warring factions of America against each other. Trump is a god-like figure for his cult-like MAGA following. AOC on the other hand has become some sort of progressive deity.
AOC, like Trump, would inspire a zealous following from her pole. Each candidate would frame the race in existential terms – a fight for the soul of America. MAGA would view AOC as the worst possible outcome; progressives would view Trump as the worst possible outcome – so their respective support for their own candidate would be completely fervent.
Regarding the nuts and bolts of the race, both Trump and Cortez are expert social media and traditional media users. The matchup would cause a media frenzy; debates would be treated like Super Bowls; the social media exchanges would be scrutinized in The New York Times.
Both candidates are capable fundraisers; they would each raise heaps in a race pitted in existential terms.
In sum, a Trump v. Cortez 2024 ticket would probably be the most annoying, most inauthentic, most victimhood-centered – and most high-profile – presidential election ever.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison 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. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.