Donald Trump – King of GOP? Primary season is heating up.
And while the Democrats will (barring any health complications) nominate their incumbent, President Joe Biden, the GOP field is crowding with capable politicians.
Granted, most of the GOP field is comprised of long-shot candidates who have little-to-zero chance of upsetting the frontrunners – but GOP-registered voters will surely have choices.
For eight years, Donald Trump has dominated the GOP. In 2015, Trump ran an insurgency campaign to capture the nomination, the party itself, and the presidency – and he hasn’t looked back. Trump is still the most prominent figure in conservative politics and the favorite to win the 2024 nomination.
He’s also corrupt, scandal-prone, and uncouth – which seems to have opened up a sliver of opportunity for prospective challengers.
Trump is still the guy, but he’s going to have to earn his third consecutive nomination.
For months, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was ascendent, seemingly incapable of wrongdoing. He surged to a dramatic victory in the Florida gubernatorial race. He surged past Trump in the polls. He picked cultural war fights and won.
Conservatives across the country began looking at DeSantis’s template for Florida as something worth exporting nation-wide.
But DeSantis has been slipping. Most significantly, he took on Disney – an American cultural-economic institution – and the blowback, from conservatives and liberals alike, has been intense. His poll numbers are slipping (he’s now well behind Trump).
And questions are starting to rise over DeSantis’s ability as a candidate, his ability to conduct the meet-and-greet retail politics necessary to win the presidency.
Former President Mike Pence spent Trump’s first term as a yes-man, an apologist who helped boost the Trump administration’s credibility amongst two vital voting blocs: evangelicals and Midwesterners. Now, Pence has struck out on his own, after a public split from Trump. Pence has been toiling in the low single-digits and doesn’t seem likely to win the nomination. Pence made news for the wrong weekends this week, for giving a speech that featured wording that was nearly identical to wording Trump used in a speech four years ago. (The same guys wrote both speeches.)
Nikki Haley was the governor of South Carolina before Trump appointed her to be his UN Ambassador. Haley has often been referred to as a high-ceilinged star in the GOP (despite Don Lemon’s proposal that Haley was past her prime).
But 2024 does not appear to be Haley’s year. Like Pence, Haley is polling in the low single-digits. She made news yesterday, in Iowa, where she said January 6th was “a terrible day” and that anyone who broke the law at the Capital “should pay the price.”
The comments were significant in that they show Haley is willing to draw a line in the sand with her former boss, Donald Trump.
Forecasting the GOP nomination
The race is Trump’s to lose. And most pundits will tell you that the only serious threat to Trump’s primacy over the GOP is Ron DeSantis. Pence, Haley, and the rest are not getting much respect. But who knows.
Jeb Bush was supposed to win the 2016 GOP nomination and we know how that thing ended.
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 listens to Dokken.