Labor Day traditionally marks the official start of a campaign season. While the November midterms are right around the corner, several 2024 Republican presidential hopefuls will head to New Hampshire this week, perhaps to send a clear message to rank-and-file Republicans that the 2024 GOP nominee is not simply going to be crowned; he or she must earn the right to represent the party — as it should be.
As reported by Fox News on Sunday, two potential candidates will return to New Hampshire this week, the state that for a century held the first primary in the race for the White House, while another possible contender is scheduled to make his first stop in the early voting state.
Let’s first hit the candidate most loathed by Trump loyalists — former Vice President Mike Pence, of course — for refusing to cave to pressure from the former president to attempt an unconstitutional action (see: 14th Amendment, Electoral Vote Count Act of 1887) and “send it back to the states,” a concocted idea that the vice president has no constitutional authority to carry out, nor is there a constitutional mechanism for doing so. Incidentally, Pence was arguably the most loyal to Trump of anyone in his revolving-door administration, but I digress.
Pence will headline a fundraiser in Wilton, New Hampshire, on September 14, the day after primary day in the crucial battleground state. The winner of the Republican Senate nomination will face former governor and first-time Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan. The race, noted Fox, is one of a handful across the country that could determine if the Republicans regain the Senate majority in November.
The question is, does Pence have a chance in 2024?
Prior to the aftermath of the 2020 election and Pence’s certification of the counting of Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021, he would’ve been a long shot in 2024, in my opinion. Simply put, while Pence might be qualified to be president, he doesn’t have the personality to become president. But now? No way in hell. Pence continues to be unfairly vilified for failing to succumb to Trump’s pressure. Stick a political fork in Mike Pence, for the foreseeable future, America
Next up, six days after Pence’s trip, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will headline the New Hampshire Institute of Politics’ “Politics and Eggs.” The speaking series has been a must-stop for nearly 25 years for White House hopefuls of both major parties. While Pompeo is an outside shot at best to capture the 2024 GOP nomination, he has said on numerous occasions he believes Trump should be primaried in 2024, meaning taken through the process of winning the nomination, not simply being ordained, as I suggested at the top. That should be — must be — the case with every candidate for the presidency of the United States. If not, why not?
Finally — for now — we have Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who hasn’t made as many trips to early voting states as have Pence and Pompeo. That will change this week when the outspoken Texan heads to New Hampshire, ostensibly on a 2022 mission, which will also create additional speculation about his potential 2024 plans. As one might recall, “Lyin’ Ted,” as Trump derisively called Cruz, was the “last man standing” in 2016 before falling to Trump in the Indiana primary, all but assuring The Donald the nomination.
Cruz will travel to the Granite State to campaign with Republican congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt at a get-out-the-vote rally on Thursday, according to Fox. The firebrand senator made stops, last month, as well — to headline a fundraiser for longtime GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, who’s running for re-election in Iowa this year, and to Nevada, which votes fourth in the GOP primary and caucus schedule, where he spoke in support of former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the 2022 Senate nominee in the battleground state.
So what of Ron DesDantis?
That… is the real question, as millions of potential Republican voters who firmly believe the 2020 election is history, that the disastrous presidency of Joe Biden should be front and center, and that the focus should be on the future — not the past. DeSantis, who continues to gain national attention for unwaveringly standing up to the “woke,” most notably the Disney Corporation, coupled with the Biden disaster, is viewed by many Republicans as the best chance to topple Trump.
All of that said, will DeSantis make a move in 2024, or will he wait until 2028, after the likely 2024 GOP bloodbath is over? Again, grab the popcorn.
As my colleague Sister Toldjah reported in early August, despite Biden’s stage 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome and 24×7 obsession with the former president, “Some Democrats are now reluctantly acknowledging that there is a foe out there who is far more formidable than Trump: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. And they say Biden should stop spending so much time making Donald Trump a focal point and more time trying to dent DeSantis’ rising popularity.”
Said one Democrat strategist:
To me, DeSantis is the scarier prospect. He’s a smarter version of Trump, he’s way more strategic, and he doesn’t have a hundred lawsuits at his feet.
Moreover, as we reported in July, various Republican insiders and donors are looking for “credible alternatives” to Trump in 2024, and most of the attention is on DeSantis. Additionally, there have been hints of friction between the Florida governor and Trump, most notably, DeSantis has not asked for Trump’s endorsement of his 2022 gubernatorial re-election bid.
And if DeSantis decides it’s a “go” in 2024?
As we also reported in July, there are signs that DeSantis could be — behind the scenes — actively preparing for a White House run, even as he campaigns for a second term as governor. Via Reuters:
A Reuters analysis of DeSantis’ social media ads shows he has dramatically expanded his out-of-state ads in recent months, an indicator, say some political analysts, that he may be laying the groundwork for a national campaign.
In the first three months of this year, political ads sent through DeSantis’ Facebook and Instagram pages were overwhelmingly concentrated in Florida, as one would expect from a man running for office in the state.
But by the April-June period, they were spread roughly evenly between Florida and the rest of the country, according to a Reuters analysis of regional spending data for social media ads compiled by New York University’s Cybersecurity for Democracy project.
DeSantis’ increase in out-of-state ads suggests a move toward building a nationwide network of supporters, said three Republican strategists, including Ron Bonjean, who was an adviser to former President Trump’s 2016 presidential transition team.
Bonjean said of DeSantis at the time:
It’s an important part of the campaign playbook and can help him build support quickly should he eventually throw his hat in the ring.
The bottom line:
And so it begins. How it ends is anyone’s guess, regardless of what the politically-predisposed keyboard warriors tell you, but one thing seems certain: Donald Trump will not run unopposed.
Unlike many in the Republican Party once thought (hoped) would be the case in 2024, it appears likely that Donald Trump will be challenged by multiple candidates. Regardless of which side of that fence one stands on, the 2024 nominee must be first vetted by Republican voters; the real bloodbath occurs in November 2024 against the real political enemy — and for America as we know it.
2024: Don’t screw it up, Republicans.