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The Hottest Takes On the 2024 GOP Primary
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To keep up with my string of outstanding life choices, I will write the article that absolutely no one wants - a “way too early, please God help us, I hate you for doing this to me” handicapping of the 2024 GOP primary race. And to make this even more painful for you, I plan on making this an ongoing series until we can end our national nightmare…and start my 2028 Presidential race handicapping.
For the sake of this article, I will assume that Joe Biden is the Dem nominee in 2024, aka the best-case scenario for the Dems, no matter how Alzheimer-ridden he is at that point. As a party, the Democrat’s political talents run as deep as the bench for the local Hebrew school’s basketball team. Let’s review:
Kamala is too busy being excited about how wocket-ships work and making staffers find the nearest bridge to jump off.
Mayor Pete (the political reincarnation of Glass Joe from Mike Tyson’s Knockout) is too busy either fucking up literally every aspect of American infrastructure, taking paternity leave while our ports are collapsing, or running away from reporters who ask fundamental questions about his incompetence.
Bernie Sanders will be 84 by the time the 2024 election rolls around.
Liz Warren is well, Liz Warren, and no one wants Nurse Ratchet as their POTUS.
As scary as it is, Gavin Newsome could pose a more formidable challenge than the others, but I would give him no better chance than Biden, though maybe even odds.
For each GOP candidate, I will give what I believe their odds of winning the GOP nod is and, in the case of them failing, what they might do next.
Off we go into the abyss…
The Dumpster Fires, Inside Of A Train Wreck, Within A Yard Sales
John Bolton (Odds of GOP nomination: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000:1)
He hasn’t officially announced yet but has suggested it in an interview on Good Morning Britain. I can’t think of anyone worse suited for the current climate of the GOP today than Bolton. The days of the war-hawk Neo-Con are deader than Jimmy Hoffa, and like Hoffa, no one will ever find the body unless they read old David Frum or Bill Krystal pieces.
He’d have a better chance of winning if he dressed up as a millennial and tried to run as Bohn Jolton, John’s illegitimate Grandson from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Next Role: Somewhere, my internet browser will never see or hear from him again.
Liz Cheney (Odds of GOP nomination:999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999:1)
The wet dream of every Never-Trumper-Turned-Undercover-Dem-Operative. The only good thing about her winning the nomination would be to see all her new-found political friends turn around, douse her in gasoline, turn the flamethrowers on her, and set her ablaze just before throwing her into the January 6th gulag.
If an enterprising entrepreneur is out there, setting up a mano-a-mano pay-per-view debate between Cheney and Trump would be world championship, MMA prizefight level. It would appeal to every corner of the US political universe, and both of them have big enough egos that they think they would win, as opposed to facing reality that, as the computer, Joshua, told Mathew Broderick in War Games, the only way to win, is not to play.
Next Role: Finding more brown people for her dad to bomb somewhere?
The “Please, For the Love of Jesus, Just Don’t. You’ll Only Embarrass Yourself”s
Mike Pence (Odds of GOP nomination: 500:1)
If you haven’t read Pence’s recent piece about what he was doing behind the scenes on Jan. 6, I highly recommend it. He seems like a genuinely good guy. That said, there are two factors that render him DOA.
First, he gets cut with both ends of the double edge sword of having way too much Trump baggage for the non-MAGA types and too much “didn’t try to overthrow the government” baggage for the pro-Trump crowd.
Second, the mood of the country is not one in which the Ned Flanders of American politics can win. “Well, golly neighbor, while the Ukrainians are all in a tizzy over those darn Ruskies, let’s just send them some of those handy-dandy F22 Raptors and see what the heckily, deckily, is going to happen.”
Next Role: Paid speaking gigs, taking care of his grandkids
Mike Pompeo (Odds of GOP nomination: 200:1)
If you’re going to vote for Trump, vote for Trump and not the dime-store version of him. And I don’t hate Pompeo as some other right-libertarians do, but c’mon. Just don’t.
Next Role: Probably fight for the Trump VP role, but I don’t see what he brings aside from slavish devotion (which, granted, goes a long way). If Trump is not the nominee, he’ll become a fixture on Fox News and maybe get a show at some point.
The Governor Poo-poo Platter (minus one)
Nikki Haley (Odds of GOP nomination: 100:1)
Haley’s story has a Clinton “A Boy From Hope” feel (the rapist Clinton, with political chops, not the “I’ve never achieved anything in my adult life that didn’t involve standing by my predator husband” one). She is a first-generation American of Indian parents who owned small businesses in her small hometown in South Carolina, blah, blah blah.
There are a couple of issues here-
To say Haley is not dynamic enough underplays it by about 100-fold, and her campaign launch video is undeniable proof. I’ve seen more charismatic hostages in Jihadi proof-of-life videos.
Haley can be summed up by the fact that her political mantra is “it’s a beautiful day in South Carolina.” I get the down-hominess of it, but it also has all the electricity of the “Hey Davey” Goliath said to Davey in that 1960’s Claymation series.
Second, you’re running for the GOP nomination, not for the leftist wok-eratti nom. Your position on the woke totem pole will overcome all types of incompetence if you’re in the Dem party (see earlier in the post), but in the GOP, you have to at least pretend to have a clue of what you’re doing (or be the human version of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog). Stop with identity politics. Nobody cares that you “don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.” JFC…have some dignity.
Next Role: All the typical, post-politician garbage. In twenty years, we’ll wonder how she went from humble public servant to sailing her 200 ft. yacht off the coast of Mallorca.
Greg Abbott (Odds of GOP nomination: 99:1)
(Don’t compare him to FDR, don’t compare him to FDR, don’t compare him to FDR…damn it!)
He’s a successful Governor in the largest republican state in the US, so why not follow in the footsteps of W. and Rick Perry? I don’t know if he’ll run, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Sort of the poor man’s DeSantis in pushing back against the Covid regime and fighting Blackrock’s ESG investments in state pension funds. Unfortunately, the real McCoy is running this time, and he will have a nearly impossible job differentiating himself from Mr. Sunshine State.
Next Role: Hanging out in the Governor’s mansion until 2027, then probably joining the board of an energy company for $10 million a year.
Kristi Noem (Odds of GOP nomination: Doesn’t matter)
The Governor of South Dakota and a prominent Trump supporter. She will have the same deficiency as Abbott in how she will differentiate herself from DeSantis. The answer: She won’t
Next Role: In reality, she won’t run to win. She’ll play the same role Chris Christy played for Trump in 2016 (though in a much less obese, canckle kind of way) in playing the attack dog of one of Trump’s rivals. In fact, she has already started down that road. If Trump gets the nomination, she has to be near the top of the list as his running mate.
Glenn Younkin (Odds of GOP nomination:40:1)
Since he is tackling many of the same issues as DeSantis (CRT and Trans kids in schools, for example), it is tempting to put him in the same bucket as Abbott and Noem, but he has a few things going for him that they don’t.
First, he won the Governorship in Virginia, which is an outright blue state now (as opposed to red TX and SD), and he did so by focusing on what I believe will be an emerging voter coalition in the coming years, parents.
Second, he is a good campaigner.
Third, Virginia, oddly, has a one-term limit for Governors, so he’ll be out of a (political) job after this race.
However, he has two primary weaknesses, a small one and a political whopper.
The minor issue is that he campaigned with Kari Lake in her failed Arizona gubernatorial run, so he’ll get hit with the “election denial” thing, but it is tangential participation at most, so nothing he won’t be able to swat away.
His primary weakness is that he will likely be running in an economic environment that will be somewhere between bad and horrific, and before becoming Governor of Virginia, he was CEO of The Carlyle Group…a private equity firm. Trump is brushing off the Dem’s “vulture capitalist” mantra from the Romney days. That alone could be his death knell.
Tim Scott (Odds of GOP nomination: 40:1)
Also, hailing from the great state of South Carolina, and as compelling as Haley’s story is, Scott’s is better. He grew up poor with a single mom who had an illiterate father and struggled in school but built himself up and became a successful small business owner. Other than that…Yawn
Next Role: Cabinet member for the next POTUS. Maybe as head of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or Department of Labor.
Ted Cruz (Odds of GOP nomination: 30:1)
We’ve all met that guy who gives off the Norman Bates, early in Psycho vibes, creepy in a way you can’t quite put your finger on (sans the mummified mother). Meet Ted Cruz. He’s incredibly smart (Allan Dershowitz said Cruz was among the best students he taught during his tenure at Harvard Law School), can boil down complex issues, feeds red meat to the base, shakes the hands, kisses the babies, and all the other things they teach you in “How to be a scumbag politician 101” class, and yet people have strong feelings about their dislike for him.
That’s just your lot in life. Sorry, Ted.
And frankly, I’d rather watch a porn video of my grandparents than see him on the campaign trail again..., but alas, I think we are destined to watch.
Next Role: I can’t see him being happy as a “just-another-guy” cabinet member for a President, and while he would be more than qualified for a SCOTUS nod at some point, the bar will be too high to get him confirmed. Maybe he will run for Governor of Texas at some point? But in all likelihood, he is a Texas Senator until he dies.
Vivek Ramaswamy (Odds of GOP nomination: 25:1)
(I will not make an Apu from The Simpsons joke, I will not make an Apu from The Simpsons joke, I will not make an Apu from The Simpsons joke – Damn it! 0 for 2)
Full disclosure, I am a huge fan of Vivek. He has had an immensely successful career in tech, finance, and pharmaceuticals, runs the explicitly anti-ESG investment firm Strive Asset Management and has written multiple books on the evils of woke corporate culture.
Just last week, he formally announced his campaign, and his messaging and energy thus far have been outstanding.
However, becoming President isn’t about giving good PowerPoint in the corporate boardroom; it’s about going to the annual corn fair in Sac City, Iowa (no idea if that’s a thing, I just giggled when I saw the name of the town because deep down, I’m still 14). I think Vivek will struggle here, as Politico outlined in this profile of his early visits to Iowa.
That said, I don’t think his best place is as President, nor do I really want him to be President. I think he is doing more for the good of the country by following his current path.
I’m probably overestimating his chances anyway because of my minor man crush on him.
Next Role: Continuing to run Strive or possibly as Chief Economic Advisor to POTUS admin
The Big Dogs
DeSantis (Odds of GOP nomination: 5:1)
I have to assume anyone reading this far knows DeSantis, so I am not going to rehash a bunch of stuff that’s been written five thousand times, except to say that he turned a purple state, into a solidly red one, in large part by capturing a massive percentage of Hispanic voters. The Dems are terrified of him, as well they should be.
DeSantis will not only have to fight off other GOP candidates, but the left is also already starting their attacks, calling him possibly worse than Trump, which confuses me.
If he is worse than Trump, and Trump was Hitler, then what is DeSantis? Is it like Trump got together with Darth Vader, Joffery Barathian, Hannibal Lecter, and that creepy eye-looking thing from Lord Of The Rings and came up with the perfect evil politician?
Trump (Odds of GOP nomination: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO)
MOM…DO I HAVE TO EAT MY BROCCOLI? NO, I DON’T WANT TO! FINE, IF THAT’S THE ONLY WAY I CAN PLAY HOGWARTS LEGACY AFTER DINNER.
What can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said?
This analysis would have looked quite different a week ago, but his visit to East Palestine is classic Trump and why he is still beloved by his base.
Consider this – at the same time Biden was overseas giving Ukraine another 45 trillion dollars (or whatever), Trump was in East Palestine giving US citizens clean drinking water and buying them McDonald’s. Support for the US’s bottomless pit of money and arms to Ukraine is decreasing significantly and will be even lower by this time next year, especially if the economy turns negative more harshly. If Trump wins the nomination, that contrast will be played out in attack ads nationwide, and they will hit like an asteroid. Horrific optics for Biden. Massive win for Trump.
(side note - this debacle in New Palestine could be the most significant unforced political error in modern history. I don’t understand what team Biden is thinking in how they played this. If you have an idea, drop it in the comments.)
Moving on, let’s analyze how he is attacking DeSantis.
Here are several “Truths” he posted recently (I feel like I walked about of a strip club after writing “Truths” in this context, and not one of the upscale places where you can claim you went for the steaks)
Trump has always shown an uncanny ability to find an opponent’s weak spot and drive a stake into its vampiric heart, whether it be Jeb Bush’s low energy, Marco Rubio’s diminutive stature (Short Kings are the sexiest...don’t blame me, it’s just a scientific fact), or Hilary Clinton’s corruption, he has an innate knack for knowing how to throw rivals into a tailspin, while simultaneously exciting his base.
Now, read those “Truths,” and tell me if he is even close to anything with those. Ron DeSanctimonious? Covid lockdowns? Cutting Social Security? Small crowds? Club for Growth? Lincoln Project? Florida’s sunshine and beaches? This smorgasbord of standard issue, Tourette’s-like insults are not going to cut it. There simply is no easy answer here for Trump, and he knows it, which is why we’re watching him beta-test insults in public to see if any of them resonate.
They aren’t. I predict Trump will eventually go to er DeSantis’s wife, Casey, who recently beat breast cancer…this will backfire profoundly.
Are you excited for 2024 yet?!
Until next time kids, remember: