Donald Trump has emerged as the clear-cut frontrunner in the GOP’s crowded 2024 primary renewing speculation about who the former president will choose as his running mate.
In 2016 and 2020, Trump leaned on Mike Pence, who was valuable to the ticket for his ability to charm voters in two vital voter blocs: the midwestern swing states and the evangelicals. Hailing from Indiana, Pence was credible in the midwestern swing states that have come to (essentially) decide presidential elections.
And Pence, a devout Christian, was credible amongst evangelicals who had serious character questions about Trump, the hard-talking New Yorker who boasted of grabbing women however he pleased.
The combination worked well in 2016, when Trump upset Hillary Clinton (who neglected the midwestern swing states from which Pence hailed) and secured the White House. And through Trump’s first term, the combination appeared to be working well enough. Pence was a sycophant and a yes-man, backing up Trump no matter what he said or did.
But the relationship between Trump and Pence soured after the 2020 defeat, when Pence failed to back up Trump’s claims of a stolen election. Trump dissed Pence and Pence struck out on his own (he will likely run for president against Trump) and that was that.
So, Trump needs a new VP for 2024. Who could it be?
Potential VP’s for Trump 2024
Trump has indicated that he will choose a woman to join the ticket. If true, that narrows the list and makes speculation easier. Not many women (or men, for that matter) have the national profile, paired with the abrasive demeanor, that Trump values. There are a few, however, who make the shortlist.
Lake certainly looked ascendant last fall when she was competing for Arizona’s governorship. She enjoyed Trump’s endorsement, and she enjoyed favorable coverage in conservative media. It’s not hard to understand why. Lake is a unique creature, spewing the hard right rhetoric that MAGA Nation finds so endearing, while doing so with the glitz and polish of a seasoned TV reporter.
She was delivering Trump’s message – but she was doing so without the spray tan and the guttural accent and the lack of eloquence. Rather, Lake delivered Trump’s message all pretty-like.
Lake lost of course and her stock fell and she has never served in public office or won an election. But she remains on the short list because of the intangibles – the MAGA rhetoric paired with a polished delivery. Also, she’s from the new swing-state, Arizona. We’re unlikely to have heard the last of Kari Lake.
Marjorie Taylor Green
Oh, God. MTG is a full-blown, aluminum-hat wearing conspiracy theorist that somehow earned a seat in the United States Congress. Trump loves her and she loves Trump. And impressively, MTG seems to be pivoting into a position of more mainstream acceptance with the GOP (as demonstrated through her support of Kevin McCarthy for speaker).
The version of MTG that can appeal to both MAGA and the mainstream is a concerning premise, and someone that Trump has his eye on as a prospective running mate with appeal in the newly-in-play Georgia.
The governor of South Dakota is apparently on Trump’s short list. Noem said she would be shocked if Trump chose her and I think she means it; she is a long-shot pick. But she’s got a few of the things Trump guns for.
One, Noem has been loyal to Trump, vowing to support the former president through the 2024 campaign. And Trump values loyalty above seemingly all else.
Two, Noem has that Fox News anchor look that Trump seems to really dig. So, don’t count Noem out.
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.