The political eunuchs have speculated that Joe Biden will be a one-term president and Mr. Biden’s comments have not ruled that out. (Frankly, the answer to that question lies with Dr. Jill – Mr. Biden’s omnipresent wife – and until she notes otherwise, Democrats would be wise to hold their own presidential ambitions in check. President Donald Trump has hinted that he may seek a return match in 2024 and in doing so he may freeze the presidential ambitions of many Republicans. Frankly, I am skeptical about the chances of either of them running and that gives me license to speculate about who may or who should be running for president in 2024.
For the Republicans.
The Republicans have a unique opportunity to not only thwart the massive societal changes proposed by the far left wing of the Democrat Party but to craft a means by which bi-partisan agreement can prevail. (The Democrats lack that opportunity because Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schummer (D-NY) are so highly partisan that their sole gauge for bi-partisanship is that the liberals get everything and the Republicans thank them for showing them the way.)
I count amongst those who could lead that effort Sens. John Thune R-SD), John Barasso (R-WY), Steve Daines (R-MT), and John Hawley (R-MO). As partisan as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) can be at times he has shown in the past an ability to work across the aisle although he has lost respect for many of his Democrat colleagues because of their performance during consideration of the three Supreme Court Justices previously nominated by Mr. Trump and confirmed by the Senate. Of that group, Mr. Thune shows the best prospects for a presidential race even though South Dakota has relatively few electoral college votes.
Add to those, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who has been the strong steady voice of international relations for the last two years and has held the feet of the Chinese Communist to the fire repeatedly, braced up Iran as the cold blooded terrorist they are and helped shepherd the growing rapprochement between Israel and a number of Middle East Muslim nations. Faint heart has never succeeded in international affairs and Mr. Pompeo is about as far from a faint heart as former Secretary of State John Kerry (D) is close to it.
And of course one needs to consider Mr. Trump’s extraordinarily competent Vice President, Mike Pence who has successfully undertaken no end of difficult tasks on behalf of Mr. Trump, including managing the fast, efficient and successful deployment of equipment, protective clothing and medicines necessary to combat COVID-19. However, despite the extraordinary competence, firm resolve and “can-do” attitude, Mr. Pence is more a calming influence than the passionate leader necessary to continue the fight to drain the swamp.
For the Republicans it is easier to identify those with ambitions that should not run. Let’s begin with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a twice failed presidential candidate, who elected to recover the title previously held by deceased Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as the Republican most likely to stab you in the back. Mr. Romney may run because the likelihood that the people of Utah will return him to the Senate in 2024 are between slim and none. Mr. Romney is like a reed in the wind and his views modulate depending on the latest poll. He needs to retire and leave us alone.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) still yearns to be president and so as soon as he can invent yet another title to elevate himself as the one true conservative he’ll be on his way – “constitutional conservative” didn’t work, “consistent conservative” isn’t working and even his newest in defense of the recent Supreme Court nominees as an “originalist conservative” isn’t going anywhere. He might try an honest assessment – while Mr. Trump described himself as an “American-first” conservative, Mr. Cruz could describe himself as a “me-first” conservative and no one would disagree.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) would like another chance but he is too “Bush-like” and not enough “Trump-like” to fire up the faithful engaged by Mr. Trump. He still has the opportunity to separate himself from other Republicans by a strong economic policy and a leader in the fight against the corruption of the high tech titans (Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter). We’ll see how he does.
And I add to that Mr. Trump himself. I am not a particular fan of Mr. Trump but I am one of the biggest fan as to where he has taken the county from an economic and geopolitical standpoint as well as the beginning of the effort to rescue the nation from the grasp of a permanent and unaccountable federal bureaucracy. My problem is that he had opportunity after opportunity to rise above the fray, to deliver a tough message without personal attacks (or at least minimal attacks) and in virtually every instance he resorted to the street fighter that has defined him all of his life. There were moments like his state of the union messages, his addresses to the United Nations, etc, where he demonstrated that he had the ability to calm the waters but they never lasted. My hope is that Mr. Trump now spends his considerable energy and talents towards helping transform the Republican Party from its country club image to that of the party of mainstream business, working men and women, and rising legal immigrants who now power much of the nation’s small business. I am weary of the bombast but never so weary that I would turn it over to Mr. Biden or, even worse, the Democrat’s emerging far-left socialists.
Four years is a long time in politics and there may be a handful of governors who rise to the occasion – some worthy, more not so worthy. In the former column take a look at Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, And New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and on everybody’s list for Vice-President should be South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
There may be others worth a look but, as a conservative, my money is on former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Ms. Haley was twice elected as governor and during her terms South Carolina experienced a surge in economic and job growth despite the heavy hand of the federal government led by former President Barack Obama. She was decidedly pro-life and critical of those who supported the remnants of racial bias in the South. As Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms. Haley confronted and devastated the leaders of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. She was the strongest voice for America in the United Nations since Jean Kirkpatrick. So strong were her words that she braced up the European diplomats who believed in accommodation before principle and appeasement before strength. The cheese eating surrender monkeys met their match and the world was better for it.
She is also the worst nightmare for the Democrats who have come to rely solely on “identity politics” and “wealth reassignment” as a raison d’être. Ms. Haley is the daughter of Indian (Sikh) immigrants who stressed education, service and self-reliance – it is baked in. According to Gurmat Academy (an institution devoted to the study of Sikism) Sikh’s are taught:
“The individual has a right to develop his or her personality to the maximum extent possible. The Sikh is essentially a person of action, with an overwhelming sense of self-reliance.
“The individual must make a contribution to the social welfare as a sacred duty. The gulf between the more fortunate and the less fortunate has to be bridged.”
And while Ms. Haley has converted to Christianity since her marriage, she still attends Sikh ceremonies on certain holidays in honor of her parents and her upbringing. In essence, Ms. Haley is a woman, a person of color and a defender of minorities including the LGBT communities. What do the Democrats have left to talk about? And while all of that is irrelevant as to Ms. Haley’s qualifications to be President of the United States they are humorous in flummoxing the Democrats.
There will be those who advocate for a “woman for president.” Not me, I advocate for someone who has the qualifications to be president and Nikki Haley has them all.
For the Democrats
While age, health and mental acuity lobby against a second term for Mr. Biden, the final decision rests mostly with Mrs. Biden. The “grand conspirators who see a socialist plot to elect Mr. Biden, move him aside and install the otherwise unelectable socialist-in-waiting Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) are going to be sadly disappointed for two reasons. First, while Mr. Biden’s mental acuity maybe slipping his general health appears to be pretty good and so there is little reason to assume that their Twenty-fifth Amendment fantasy will ever bear fruit. (Even if Mr. Biden’s mental acuity slips, Mrs. Biden will be there to prop him up as did Edith Wilson – wife of President Woodrow Wilson – and Nancy Reagan – wife of President Ronald Reagan.) And second, Ms. Harris is one of those people that others care less for the more they get to know her. After four years flitting around the stage like a school girl on her first date, or bristling at others to stop “mansplaining” things when her significant ignorance shows, or embracing one boneheaded idea after another from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortex (D-NY), her performance in a Democrat primary will be even worse than her 2020 presidential run. Left on her own, Ms. Harris will fade faster than Robert (Beto) O’Rourke (D-TX) denims.
It is probably safe to assume that the same cast of miserable candidates fielded by the socialist/progressive wing of the Democrat Party in 2020 will want another run in 2024. Few will have learned any lessons at all.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) will be 83 in 2024 and he will be have to run for re-election as a senator if he wishes to remain on the public stage. However, during his years as a leader of the socialist movement within the Democrat Party, Mr. Sanders has improved his net worth by millions through book sales, real estate transactions and his wife’s political advertising business. It is entirely possible that Mr. Sanders will review the Democrat field, find them insufficiently socialist and make one last run – maybe elevating AOC as his running mate and positing her for 2028.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), another socialist who claims to embrace capitalism but only under her regulations suffers the same indignity as Ms. Harris – the more people got to know her during the 2020 campaign the less they liked her. For years, Ms. Warren has been the United States Senate’s resident finger-wagging scold lecturing anyone who would listen – that number is rapidly declining – on everything from soup to nuts. She is a know-it-all with a solution for every problem but it is always the same solution – more regulations and more taxpayer spending. And like Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren will have to run for re-election in 2024 or lose her bully pulpit in the Senate. My bet is she will spend time campaigning for the presidency in 2024 but ultimately withdraw in favor of re-election to the Senate.
Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) who proclaimed that he was “Spartacus” during the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, is itching for another run. He was re-elected in 2020 and, therefore, is in a perfect spot to run another losing effort while holding on to his Senate seat. Enough said. Mr. Booker is an enthusiastic supporter of everything progressive with little appreciation of the long term consequences. He seeks to assume the mantle of former President Barack Obama but lacks the gravitas to do so. He’ll do no better this time around than he did last. But so long as the Democrats are bound by identify politics Mr. Booker is good to have around.
The rest of the 2020 Democrat field is so sad that it isn’t worth noting and hopefully we will not see a repeat of that mess again.
But there are new faces. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is seeking to raise his status through a series of self-congratulatory books and speaking tours. However, voters are going to have a tough time forgetting about the elderly he killed by forcing COVID-19 infected people back into nursing homes despite the elderly’s vulnerability. And without Mr. Trump to criticize, Mr. Cuomo will be left to defend his own record (including family scandals) which is abysmal. And you can bet that every step of the way, his New York nemesis, Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D-NYC) will be there stabbing him in the back.
And then there’s Hollywood’s favorite, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA). His $2000 blazers and designer denims may rev up the Hollywood phonies but his ill-conceived lengthy lock down of urban California is going to leave a bitter taste amongst shuttered small business owners, their out-of-work employees and a permanently repressed business community. Mr. Newsom can count on the high tech industry which was immunized from the economic effects of the pandemic, and the public employee unions who were likewise immunized by being paid while not working, and the entertainment industry who are as vacuous as he is, and the far left progressives who can spot an empty vessel from clear across the country. He will be a potent candidate except for one glaring problem – he is a white male and does not belong to any recognizable victim groups unless “starched hair” and a “tin ear” counts.
Maybe, Ms. Harris is the best that the Democrats can do but I’m betting that the East Coast liberal establishment is going to find someone better.
All in all we’ll get a brief respite but by Labor day of 2021 you will begin to see the cream and the crap floating to the surface.