Tim Scott added his name to the increasing list of Trump challengers for the GOP primary nomination, but does he really have a shot?
Tim Scott and the Current Republican Landscape
2023 is shaping up to look a lot like 2020 when over 20 candidates ran for the out of power party nomination and only 3 contested then-president, Donald Trump.
Others supposedly considering bids include New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, washed up New Jersey governor and former Trump ally, Chris Christie, and Trump’s former Secretary of State and Kansas congressman, Mike Pompeo.
The latest polls show Scott with a meager 1.8 point support from primary voters behind Pence, Haley, and even political outsider Vivek Ramaswamy, not to mention the closest contender to Trump, Ron DeSantis.
However, all of these polls were taken prior to Scott’s announcement. While it’s unlikely the needle will move greatly, Scott could be a dark horse in the GOP primary race.
Despite Trump’s current sizable lead, primary debates always have the potential to sway early conversations.
This is the fun of politics. It ain’t over til it’s over and those who enter a race, guns blazing, could end up with mere embers and vice versa. One thing is for sure, it’s shaping up to be an exciting, and potentially unpredictable year before the first primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Does America Really Want a “Happy Warrior”?
Like Nikki Haley, Scott is a GOP alternative (also hailing from South Carolina) to the brash, take no prisoners culture warrior that is Ron DeSantis and the even brasher, more obnoxious Trump.
But, unfortunately, also like Haley, he is not likely to win the nomination.
Despite Scott’s high likeability and a strong personal biography, he may be seen as too soft a defender of conservatism in an era where an adherence to virtue and principle seems to be under attack from all angles – not just politically but culturally, philosophically, and spiritually.
Many are convinced only the bull-in-a-china shop approach that Trump epitomizes has the ability to turn the nation around and put an end to the current corruption of the elite political establishment – one in which Scott resides.
A good portion of the electorate still believe Trump will “drain the swamp” and are armed and ready for another four years of constant clashing of ideology rather than ideas.
Trump seems to be very aware of Scott’s unlikely victory, stepping up to wish Scott good luck in a Truth Social Post.
As evidenced by his attacks on DeSantis, it would be uncharacteristic for the former president to offer well wishes to a candidate who would be a significant threat to his own popularity.
The Media Push for Trump
It would seem that many left-leaning media outlets want Trump to secure the nomination. Why wouldn’t they? It offers them endless amounts of fodder, and it is likely that any other Republican candidate could beat Biden with their hands tied behind their back.
If you’re mainstream media, of course you will depict a strong contender like Haley, Scott, even Ramaswamy, and especially DeSantis, as weak.
In an article entitled “The GOP Primary Might Be Over Before It Starts,” The Atlantic declared the race a wash already, claiming Donald Trump’s rivals are “in denial.”
But with characteristic optimism, the new presidential candidate declared Americans have a hunger for an “optimistic, positive message anchored in conservatism.”
At least some of us do.
Tim Scott also has something a lot of the other candidates don’t have: money. To date, Scott has raised $22 million for his campaign. Not bad for a dark horse.
This lags way behind DeSantis and Trump who have left over funds from previous races.
Florida’s governor has over $85 million left from a collection of funds raised by the political action committee “Friends of Ron DeSantis” from 2018 through the end of March. While much of this was spent on his gubernatorial reelection campaign, there’s still a chunk of change left. But it’s also questionable if DeSantis can use that in a presidential campaign since the money was raised under Florida state law.
The same goes for Trump who has just under $14 million in cash for a campaign but potentially access to funds from the PAC “Save America” amounting to over $18 million.
However, Scott has still been able to amass more financial support than other contenders.
Haley has less than half of Scott’s funding, raising about $11 million.
The next closest would be Vivek Ramaswamy, who just about ties Haley.
While both are good options, they’re not as strong or as persuasive as Scott.
Still, Scott is a longshot. While the race is just heating up, Scott may be too cool for Americans demanding a more confrontational approach.