The Biden administration is days away from Inauguration, the Trump camp is in complete disarray, and the Republican party is fractured. One cannot ignore the excitement that awaits the 2024 Republican ticket.
First, it is important to examine the state of the Republican party and Trump’s standing. The GOP (Republican party) is still very much the party of Trump. More than half of Republicans in Congress voted against at least one of Biden’s election results, an astonishing 57%, most likely because they feel they needed proof of their defiance for their future political careers.
Recent Wall Street Journal and NBC news polls have shown that a significant proportion of Republican voters see themselves as the party of Trump and no longer lower-case republicans. Even after the Capital Hill riots, a Hill-HarrisX poll showed 64% of Republican voters thought that Trump handled the riots effectively and a significant 2/3 believed that Trump held little or no responsibility for the violence. Another poll showed that 4/5 of Republicans oppose impeachment and the 25th amendment.
This is important in distinguishing front runners for the 2024 GOP ticket, the Trump camp is still polling well, and the Republican support base has not yet abandoned his cause.
Let’s move on to our first and most obvious pick: Trump. If not impeached by the Senate, he will likely attempt to re-run in 2024 However, if he does not, he will focus all his attention on building a right-wing media platform that could have significant funding behind it. He has made this intention clear by siphoning off significant funds from the ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign into this new project. Recent censorship from ‘big tech’ companies, however, may legally restrict his direct control of its content. Nonetheless, it is easy to imagine Trump becoming a significant lobbying power in 2024 and most likely putting all his weight behind his children. Nonetheless, an indicator of his waning power could be the loss of two Senate seats in Georgia. Both Senators placed themselves firmly in the Trump camp and lost – an indication of the toxicity of Trump’s conspiracy rhetoric. He is also currently creating a civil war amongst his own loyal people, he stopped paying Rudy Giuliani his daily salary following his second House impeachment and is losing cabinet members rapidly.
The second option, is Ivanka Trump. She has made her political ambition clear from the start of the administration. Being photographed at the G20 with Theresa May and President Macron, and travelling with her father on countless diplomatic ventures, she clearly doesn’t see her dreams ending in 2020. Her tip for the ticket was almost solidified by her announcement to attend Biden’s inauguration as a ‘good sport’. Her campaign could also solve the GOP’s terrible voting record with women. She is certainly a top pick. However, we need to remember that a Senate impeachment or legal family turmoil would be the nail in the coffin for her campaign.
Working our way through the Trump camp we arrive at Josh Hawley. Whilst he is still too young for 2024 he is certainly one to keep tabs on. He defied Mitch McConnell by voting against election certification winning approval from Trump supporters and yet his politics are not firmly ‘right wing’. Whilst pushing nationalist buttons in the GOP he sided with Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer to push through $2000-dollar stimulus checks in opposition to just $600. But, he may face issues of disgruntled Senate colleagues, like Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who was the first to openly support impeachment.
Finally, Ted Cruz, he will without a doubt run but many would be surprised if he gained traction. He is increasingly perceived as ‘toxic’ after his inflammatory speech on the Senate floor on the day of Capital Hill riots and campaign rallies the week before. His failed campaign in 2016 illustrates little resonation in the GOP support base.
Now for Cabinet picks: Mike Pompeo effectively launched his campaign on Twitter. The Secretary of State created his own highlight reel, starting it off with the potential campaign slogan, ‘just me, Mike’. Alongside him is Vice President Mike Pence. Pence faces a very difficult situation. He is furious at Trump for turning his back on him in front of his rioting support base, who chanted ‘hang Mike Pence’ within the Capital Walls. He therefore faces a split in the roads. His refusal to invoke the 25th amendment suggests that he fears the complete alienation of Trump supporters, yet he is still perceived as a ‘traitor’ to staunch supporters. To his merit, he is a true religious fanatic and presented himself as the calm, rational and statesman-like alternative to Trump in the Vice President presidential debates. That being said, he is arguably too mundane to captivate the GOP support base, and whether he would attain unreserved endorsement from Trump is another issue.
Another alternative is Tom Cotton. The Arkansas Senator defied Trump to ratify the election results, yet fairly aligns with the President politically. Recently claiming that the Senate lacks ‘constitutional authority’ to impeach Trump after he has left office shows his unwillingness to sever all ties with team-Trump. He gained publicity for asking to send in the ‘troops’ against BLM protestors in a New York Times column, which led to his airing on Fox, and accusing left-wing media of caving to the ‘woke mob’.
He is well established and well liked in the Republican party. Trump campaign and media platforms such as Fox News and Breitbart, he is certainly a contender.
Niki Hailey is certainly a possibility. The former UN ambassador and the first woman to serve as Governor of South Carolina. She has already been headhunted as White House potential by Mitt Romney who considered her as a Vice President candidate. She was openly critical of Trump before his election and condemned his call for a ban on Muslims. Her career in the UN was largely successful and seemed very outspoken about her opposition to North Korea and Iran. Once again, a female ticket could claw back some of the female vote for the GOP. As a Native American, her election would certainly ease the Republicans poor reputation with minorities. However, whether Republican primary voters have this foresight is still unknown.
A final shot in the dark could be Tucker Carlson. The FOX News host has recently begun to cut ties with the Trump administration following the capitol hill riots, after amassing a huge support base, following Trump’s initial endorsement of him. The FOX anchor has also shown interest in populist policies. For instance, his condemnation of big company’s minimum wage policies and restricted government food stamps programmes. He will have the support of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, and has serious potential. Young, energetic and becoming a family name within republicans he would have a large base from which to launch his campaign.
A close eye will have to be kept on the eligibility of these potential runners, and there is a lot resting on the outcome of Trump’s impeachment trial.