Let’s be honest: we’re all resigned to a presidential election rematch of 2020 between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump next November.
With Robert F. Kennedy Jr. dropping out of the Democratic race in favor of an independent campaign, Biden remains effectively unchallenged for the party’s nomination. Likewise, Trump’s 40-point lead over nearest Republican rival Gov. Ron DeSantis is insurmountable; the last-ditch effort to keep him off the ballot suggests that even the most anti-Trump conservatives are expecting him to storm the primaries.
Trump has ridden the wave of four indictments, civil fraud trials and allegations of wrongdoing. Perhaps without much choice due to his busy calendar for 2024, the former president has emerged his legal battles with his political campaign. His civil fraud trial is a notable example; he’s keen to remind you that Judge Arthur Engoron is a Democrat, whose court clerk has been pictured with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, all during a case taking place in a state he’s unlikely to win in 2024. So far, his opinion on the trial has cost him $15,000 – it would not be a foolish bet to say it may cost him even more as the trial progresses.
If the legal cases aren’t going to stop the Trump Train in the GOP primaries, then it’s hard to see what might. Even the ongoing 14th Amendment hearings – which could disqualify him from the ballot – are unlikely to succeed. Any ruling against Trump will be taken up the legal system all the way to a Supreme Court which comprises six conservatives, three of whom are Trump-appointees. In a politicized court, it’s hard to see how conservative justices would decide to disqualify the strongest conservative candidate from the nationwide ballot.
The Best Of The Rest
Eight years ago, the Republican debates were unmissable viewing.
It was a time when multiple candidates, including the then-outsider Trump, had a realistic possibility of becoming the party’s next nominee.
It was compelling to watch, particularly as experienced politicians struggled against a businessman with no political background other than his frequently tweeted opinions on the internet.
The Republican frontrunner steers clear of the debates these days. As he said to Tucker Carlson, why should he bother attending?
He has a commanding lead making him public enemy #1 in the eyes of his opponents, one which has not been hampered by refusing to debate those after his position as frontrunner. It somewhat defeats the purpose of civil liberties to force someone to debate, and so Trump’s Republican rivals are merely left to convince voters why they’re the second best candidate on the cards.
With that mentality in viewers’ minds, it can be hard to justify watching the full two-hour debates; the sharp decline in viewing figures for the second debate in California suggests some are convinced they are a waste of time.
That being said, they were an opportunity to hear from the lesser-known candidates not called Ron, Mike, or Chris, and find out more about whether it’s now a GOP controlled by Trump, or one that maintains its difference in beliefs despite its similarity in ideology.
The Rise Of Vivek Ramaswamy
The Milwaukee debate in August was interesting, particularly as it was the first true glimpse of the strongly pro-Trump Vivek Ramaswamy.
For much of the debate, he was irritable. When he wasn’t stealing lines from Barack Obama, he was making out-of-this-world claims over the “hoax” of climate change, and how the Western world should give Vladimir Putin his wish and just let Ukraine fend for themselves. It was clear his intention was to steal the headlines by making ludicrous arguments – a cheap way of free publicity. So irritable was the 38-year-old that some, myself included, gave up on Fox News halfway through in favor of Trump’s impressions of Kamala Harris on X.
Despite his irritable persona, Ramaswamy’s strategy worked. His poll numbers shot up to the point where he was challenging Florida Gov. DeSantis for second place, and a temporary dip in support for frontrunner Trump.
From out of nowhere, Ramaswamy had the spotlight. He was seen as a victor, certainly compared to the disappointing DeSantis. His wild, outlandish claims prompted media coverage and television interviews, while voters now recognise his name.
Earlier this week, the businessman appeared on Piers Morgan Uncensored. While Americans may remember him for his unsuccessful CNN show, Morgan’s tenure on Good Morning Britain in the UK turned the show from a cozy, morning chat show to one of fierce debate. If you’re being interviewed by Morgan, you’ve got a strong platform.
Like many Brits, the controversial host is strongly opposed to gun rights in the United States. It’s merely a difference in background and upbringing, where the relatively gun-free UK cannot understand the need or desire for a semi-automatic assault rifle.
When Morgan asked the Republican why “it’s deemed more dangerous that I should have a chocolate egg with a little toy inside which might choke people, compared to a semi-automatic AR-15 that could slaughter loads of people in a very short period of time,” Ramawamy said he was a “pro-freedom person”. He alluded that the Second Amendment is a “value judgment” with risks that “we trade off as that’s how we preserve freedom”.
It’s not a universally agreeable view, but one which Ramaswamy justified extraordinarily well. The “fresh face” to the Republican Party brings fresh energy, and it’s a nice change to see a politician justifying their arguments rather than skirting around them.
From what one might have considered to be an irritable candidate has turned into one which, even if you don’t agree with them, you can see their point of view. For sure, the occasional irrational claim may skew voters away from Ramaswamy, but he knows how to justify them. At just 38, he’s a wise head on mature shoulders.
Trump and Biden won’t be running in 2028. One will be term-limited, the other will be too old. Vivek Ramaswamy will be 42. He has quite a bit still to learn, and he may have to tone down his extreme views to appease the masses, but he’s a very smart and respectable candidate, and one who has a real chance of one day being president.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
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