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Donald Trump Could Shock the World with His Big VP Pick

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Republican Roulette: Who would Donald Trump pick for VP?

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis is the best choice for traditional conservative voters and those voters who supported the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) in 2016 and were understandably disenchanted by the failure of former President Donald J. Trump to implement the sweeping reforms he had championed while campaigning for president.

Yet, DeSantis is off to a painfully slow start, despite having such a successful record as governor of one of the largest and most dynamic states in the Union. 

A few months back before DeSantis was in the race formally, while he took time to go meet with a bunch of wealthy Republican donors at the Reagan Ranch, former President Donald Trump was arm-and-arm at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with the Republican Party base; the activists who actually get Republicans elected through sweat, blood, and toil.

It wasn’t a good look for DeSantis to cede such an important event—even if he was not slated to win the important straw poll at the end of CPAC—to Donald Trump if he is, in fact, serious about challenging the forty-fifth president for the Republican Party’s nomination in 2024. 

Still, DeSantis is the most talked about possible Republican presidential candidate outside of Donald Trump’s candidacy. Sadly for both DeSantis and the Republican Party, unless the Florida governor comes down from the fence and enters the arena in a much bigger way—swinging some punches as he does—his days as a candidate will be short as Trump will again be the GOP’s nominee. 

Donald Trump Won’t Pick DeSantis as His Number Two—Ever 

We can certainly expect a contentious primary like what we endured in 2016 or what we saw in the 1980 Republican Presidential Primary when insurgent candidate Ronald Reagan went to war with the Republican Establishment’s preferred choice of George H.W. Bush.

Ultimately, Reagan chose Bush as his number two to heal the GOP and take on the Democrats in a united front. Such healing will be denied to the Republican voters, though, in 2024, should Trump indeed face off against DeSantis for control over the GOP. 

For starters, both Trump and DeSantis are residents of the great state of Florida and, as such, Trump could not pick DeSantis as his vice-presidential candidate due to constitutional restrictions found in the 12th Amendment on picking someone from the same state as yourself to serve as your vice-president.

Of course, it is unlikely that even if he could, Trump would choose DeSantis—someone who is nearly as loved by Republicans as Trump is and who steals the spotlight from the egocentric Trump regularly—as his number two. 

Plus, Trump likes pliant number twos. This is why he chose Mike Pence initially (only to be very upset with Pence toward the end of the Trump Administration for Pence’s refusal to throw the election in favor of Trump). What’s more, Trump has a weakness among women voters and someone like DeSantis does little to win that voting bloc over. 

Therefore, if Trump defeats DeSantis in the primary, he will move directly to seeking a viable number two that works for him, not the party. And it will likely be a woman. There are two names that keep coming up: former Trump Administration ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, and Kari Lake

Nikki Haley: A Campaign About Nothing

Haley is a favorite of the Republican Party establishment.

She is currently running for the Republican Party nomination. Her platform is a bit thin—other than being for massive defense expenditures and letting everyone know that she is a minority who was raised in the Deep South—I am still confused what her campaign is really about

Yet, Nikki Haley’s support from powerful elements of the Republican Party elite means that she cannot be ignored easily. Plus, she has a previous working relationship with the former president who is likely going to win the Republican nomination once more in 2024. 

She is viewed as a moderating influence on Trump’s more erratic nature. 

Trump, however, has proven relatively immune to moderating influences. The few times that he did allow himself to be contained by the Republican Establishment, he often regretted it. Mike Pence was thought to be a moderating influence. Given how Trump believed Pence, the moderating influence, “failed” him in 2020, it is unlikely that Trump would be so willing to allow for more moderate voices to be brought to the table.

Beyond these issues, too, Trump does not so easily reward those who challenge him—contrary to what Nikki Haley may think, she is directly challenging Trump for the nomination that he views as his rightful political inheritance and Haley is unlikely to win that race. 

Kari Lake: Donald Trump’s Female Alter Ego

That is where Kari Lake comes into play.

Lake is basically Donald Trump in female form.

She is as galvanizing as Trump is (and, more interestingly, just as divisive). Kari Lake is articulate and dynamic. Just like Trump, she has been labeled as an “election denier”—meaning that she and Donald Trump share the same enemies. Kari Lake ran for Arizona governor in 2022 and lost. She’s been challenging the outcome of that election since the final votes were tallied. 

Kari Lake, unlike Nikki Haley, is firmly ensconced in the Trump fan club. 

She respects Trump and defends him routinely. And Lake is right out of central casting. A former Emmy-award-winning news anchor from Phoenix, Ariz., who was a Democrat most of her adult life (she praised former President Barack Obama repeatedly during his time in office), Kari Lake cut an unlikely path from the mainstream, Leftist media into the alternative Right-wing media universe that Donald Trump rules. 

As an executive, Trump made a habit of hiring tough women who appeared to be right out of central casting and who were complimentary of him. Kari Lake fits that mold. 

Election Deniers Did Poorly in 2022

Although, given how poorly the so-called election deniers on the Right performed in the 2022 Midterm Elections—including Kari Lake—the question must be: if it is Trump rather than DeSantis who is the Republican nominee, and Trump picks Kari Lake as his vice-presidential nominee in 2024, can they win a general election? 

Or are these two combined simply too radical for the average American voter who is still looking for calm and stability after the four years of tumult in the Trump presidency, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the possibility of global economic and military chaos? 

Time will tell. 

Unless DeSantis ups his game—and soon—these will be the most pressing questions facing Republican voters next year. The world will have to decide whether it likes the Trump-Lake ticket or if it prefers something else. Republicans should be careful what they wish for in any event because they just might get it. 

Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower(Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

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Written By

Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.