It’s way too early to be speculating over vice presidential picks on the Republican side for the campaign for 2024. Presidential candidates usually do not pick their running mates until late summer before the November election.
That means the GOP nominee for VP announcement is at least many months away. But discussing this contingency is informative because it provides an analysis of the future leaders of the party. Should former President Donald Trump win the nomination, he has a deep bench to choose from.
Here are the three top contenders who could be named as a running mate:
Senator Tim Scott
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott would be a front-runner to be on the Trump ticket for 2024. He has an inspiring backstory and is an engaging speaker. Plus, the senator is an excellent fundraiser. They worked together on Scott’s worthwhile Opportunity Zone economic development strategy. Scott has somehow avoided angering the former president and that’s not easy.
Scott once castigated Trump for being racially insensitive and that the Charlottesville rally in 2017 “compromised Trump’s moral authority to lead,” but that’s the extent of Scott’s criticism, and he didn’t really provoke Trump’s ire.
Scott as an African-American could attract more black voters for Trump. Trump won eight percent of the African-American vote in 2020 and that was better than the six percent he attracted in 2016. If Trump could up that to 10 percent with Scott, he could steal even more votes from Democrats.
Scott has jumped into the presidential race. He is a Reaganesque and optimistic “big tent” Conservative. Scott has a sunny demeanor and even prays for people who have criticized him. (Full disclosure: I used to be on Senator Scott’s staff, so I know this.) Scott has a career ‘90’ rating from the American Conservative Union and he has received three awards from the rightist non-profit.
Governor Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley would be another solid choice, should she drop out of the presidential race.
Haley is running an excellent campaign so far. Plus she has made no mistakes or gaffes at this point in her campaign. She has crisscrossed the early states, is also from South Carolina, and she has visited the border.
Haley also has foreign policy experience and a passion for international affairs that would serve her well as VP. But let’s not count Haley out of the presidential race yet – she could begin to surge in polls.
Trump and the Republican Party have struggled to attract women voters to their cause, especially single, college-educated, and suburban women. Biden won 57 percent of the female vote against Trump in 2020. Haley could make a better case to women who would not normally vote Republican. She happens to be a minority and could tell her story of American opportunity and freedom that could resonate with voters.
Governor Kristi Noem
Another female candidate who could help Trump perform better is South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Noem is fiery and willing to be a hardliner, but could also moderate her tone and appeal to centrists when needed. However, she is from a small state and has not built a national following. Her name recognition is not quite there yet either.
Noem has already said she will support Trump in the primary. Noem also led her state with confidence and defiance during the Covid-19 pandemic. This will endear her to conservatives because she never gave the order for a church or business to close and mandated no public lockdowns. However, Noem has said she would be “shocked” to be Trump’s running mate.
Author Expertise and Experience
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.
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