Unity vs. Trumpism: Can Tim Scott Find a Path to the 2024 GOP Presidential Nomination?

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While the 2024 Republican presidential candidate field officially stands at just two — former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley — it seems a foregone conclusion that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will jump in, along with several others.


Those who’ve believed from the beginning that Trump should be primaried (as should be the case with any candidate other than those running for re-election — unless your name is Joe Biden) rather than anointed unchallenged have gotten their wish, with more to come.

For the anyone-but-Trump crowd, ideally the field would be whittled down to Trump and a single challenger sooner than later, simply because the greater the number of not-Trump candidates in the field, the more dispersed the “not-Trump” vote will be, giving the former president a “yuuge” advantage.

All of that said, not-Trump voters would be best served by going through a process of watching different candidates perform and then deciding which not-Trump candidate might ultimately be the best option to deny Trump the nomination — if even possible.

One such probable candidate is South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott.

From Scott’s perspective, the critical question is whether a majority of the Republican Party is ready to move away from Trumpism — us vs. them divisiveness — and toward the message Scott is selling, as suggested by Jonathan Weisman, a congressional correspondent for The New York Times: “a theme of unity and forgiveness aimed at the current war in his party — and the divisions roiling the nation at large.”

Fair assessment — at least.


Let’s touch on DeSantis, the potential candidate Trump most fears, as evidenced by his obsession with attacking “Ron DeSanctimonious” at every opportunity — most if not all of those “opportunities” concocted by Trump himself. Here’s a likely preview of coming attractions, which Trump dropped on Truth Social at 1:03 a.m., Saturday:

I will never call Ron DeSanctimonious ‘Meatball’ Ron, as the Fake News is insisting I will. Even though FoxNews [sic] killing lightweight Paul Ryan is revered by him, Low Energy Jeb Bush is his hero and always at his side, his beaches and State [sic] were closed for long periods of time, his testing, testing, testing for the China Virus didn’t work out too well, and his loyalty skills are really weak, it would be totally inappropriate to use the word “meatball” as a moniker for Ron!

“Loyalty skills are really weak.” The notion that any adult could write silliness like that and not be embarrassed eludes me. Anyway, various sources reported that Trump has been “workshopping” new sophomoric nicknames for DeSantis, including “Meatball Ron.” I report, you decide.

While the popular Florida governor continues to keep his powder dry as the former president’s personal attacks intensify, I have zero doubt that if and when DeSantis finally decides it’s game on against Trump’s silliness, the steel cage match will begin in earnest, but I digress.


As The Times reported, Scott returned to Charleston on Thursday to test out his potential theme, should he decide to toss his hat in the ring. In a speech to the Charleston County Republican Party, the only Black Republican senator talked about optimism and redemption.

If you want to understand America, you need to start in Charleston; you need to understand and appreciate the devastation brought upon African Americans.

But if you stop at our original sin, you have not started the story of America, because the story of America is not defined by our original sin. The story of America is defined by our redemption.

The good news for Scott is the obvious political assets he brings to a potentially crowded 2024 field: a message of optimism, a disposition that has made him personally popular even among Democrats, along with the historic nature of his potential nomination.

The bad potential bad news for Scott is the reality of today’s Republican Party environment, which is arguably more invested in anger than optimism.

As The Times noted, even in his home state of South Carolina, it’s not clear if Scott’s style and approach are favorable to those of Trump and DeSantis; two “heavyweights” who clearly aren’t afraid to throw down when either decides that throwing down is necessary.

In Trump’s case, it’s a safe bet he’d do his best to burn the Republican Party to the ground if he’s denied the nomination. So assuming the coming toxicity between Trump and DeSantis, let’s take it a step further: If it does come down to a contest between the two Floridians, it won’t be out of the realm of speculation that one or both might announce a potential running mate prior to the nomination being sewn up.


In this scenario, Trump will likely have already destroyed his relationships with Haley and Scott, which would leave both South Carolinians as strong possibilities for the veep slot on a DeSantis ticket. In that case, if I were DeSantis, I’d go with Tim Scott.

Why Scott over Haley? Call it a gut feeling.



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