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Which Republicans will challenge the Trump 2024 candidacy?

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Which Republicans will challenge the Trump 2024 candidacy?

THE popular MAXIM “to want is to be able” has little applicability in politics and even more if it is about North America, where bipartisanship has dominated presidential democracy. 2024 will not be the exception and the aspirations of both Republicans (conservatives) and Democrats (liberals) begin to be uncovered.

While waiting for President Joe Biden to define whether he will seek re-election -it is rumored that he will do so on February 7 in the traditional speech on the State of the Union- on the opposition side, his predecessor Donald Trump has been in the campaign since last November when he made his candidacy official and other leaders are considering running.

EThat is the idea that, for now, is keeping eight conservative leaders awake at night: the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis -motivated by his resounding victory in the midterms-, former vice president Mike Pence, former United States ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Marco Rubio (Florida) and Tim Scott (South Carolina), as well as Governors Gregg Abbot (Texas) and Glen Youngkin (Virginia).

Everyone wants and can, but will they have the electoral strength to face the political phenomenon that is Trump? Also, with the high possibility that the Republican Party will once again have the keys to the White House, will they risk an internal fracture?

In the first concern and due to the political thermometer of the polls, only Governor DeSantis could give him the fight today, the natural leader of American conservatives, omnipresent on the national and even international stage. As for the second, although there are several disagreements with Trump, it is easier to find common ground (programmatic agreements) than to stage a break.

RealClear Politics, the US political news website and electoral poll data aggregator, reviews several polls that agree that, in a hypothetical primary, the former conservative president leads the governor of Florida between 15 and 25 points in the intention to vote, while the other possible candidates do not exceed 7% support. (See table)

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As is known, the US bipartisanship goes through a long process to choose its presidential candidate. Thus, before the general election, the primaries and caucuses are held, which take place in stages in all the states, between January and June of the year in which the election of the tenant of the White House takes place. In this case, 2024. From there the delegates to the Electoral College leave, who finally proclaim the nominee at a party convention. And it is this one who submits his name to the polls in November.

The presidential race is far away but not the campaign of the Republicans, since with the active and mediatic candidacy of Trump, his potential challengers and as we see the majority of former members of his government team, make announcements to weigh their real political possibilities.

Along these lines, this week Nikki Haley has generated expectation about a “special announcement”. “My family and I have a big announcement to share with you on February 15!” tweeted the 51-year-old former diplomat, inviting her followers to meet on that date in the state of South Carolina, where she served as governor in 2011. and 2017, when then-President Trump appointed her as ambassador to the UN.

If his ambitions are confirmed, Haley will become the first weight candidate, although it is not reflected in the polls where he does not exceed 4% in the intention to vote, to challenge the former Republican president.

Trump reacted by posting a video on his Truth Social network, in which several months ago Nikki Haley said she would not run if the Republican billionaire was a candidate. And she accompanied him with a message: “Nikki must follow what her heart tells her, not her honor. She will definitely aspire.”

Meanwhile, all the spotlights are on Governor DeSantis, considered a rising star of the party and his counterpoint to his one-time mentor, former President Trump.

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South Carolina and New Hampshire marked the restart of the ex-president’s proselytizing, a week ago, and from there he reiterated his criticism of the Florida governor, considering him “disloyal”, since he recalled “I was the one who made him enter, he had no chance… His political life without my support was over.”

He also questioned him for having changed his position on vaccines against covid-19 and confining that State when many of his supporters faced the pandemic without doing so. “Now try to rewrite history,” he said.

Regarding DeSantis’ possible presidential aspiration, he said calmly: “If it launches, it’s fine. I’m way up in the polls. He will have to do what he wants to do, but he can apply.”

The response of the young political leader was not long in coming. He assured that when a person serves as an elected official, they must make “all kinds of decisions… You have to steer that ship. And the good thing is that people can make their judgment about it, whether it is re-elected or not,” he maintained.

In this sense, DeSantis stuck out his chest, recalling that the population of Florida would somehow agree with his management, including decisions in the health field, since in the last elections he won “with the highest percentage of votes of any Republican candidate for governor in the history of the state of Florida”.

“We won by the largest margin of votes, more than 1.5 million votes, of any gubernatorial candidate in Florida history,” DeSantis stressed.

And although this crossover of accusations is not the first -nor will it be the last- it occurs at the moment when the rumors that the governor of Florida will run for the Republican presidential nomination are taking hold, driven by the support of various leaders, more beyond the state that governs.

Several media have indicated that the announcement would be made at the end of the year, when the state legislative period ends and that, with an eye on 2024, his advisers would be contacting well-known party figures to make them part of the campaign.

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By resuming his proselytizing activity the previous Saturday in two key places, since they are among the first to hold the primaries (New Hampshire and South Carolina), Trump warned that the next elections will be the last chance for salvation for the United States and therefore “We need a leader who is ready to do it from day one…A leader who is prepared to face the forces sweeping our country.”

He also touted his record on public safety and immigration, vowing to save the country “from destruction by a corrupt, radical and self-serving political establishment.” And, in the face of the investigations that he is the subject of – which could be a major obstacle to his nomination – he reiterated that “radical left-wing prosecutors are the ones who have subjected him to a “witch hunt”.

Reviled by some and admired by others, the political outsider in 2016, who surprised the world with his victory over Hillary Clinton, continues to have undeniable electoral strength and political influence. Investigated, criticized, banned on social networks and beaten for failing to achieve the projected red wave in the November midterm elections, Trump continues to bet, blindly, on “making America great again.”

He is waiting, as well as those who decide to run, for the newly elected Party president, Ronna McDaniel, and the party’s leadership, to define the schedule for next year’s primaries.

That election was a first test of power between Trump and De Santis. The winner, who had the support of the former president, doubled the votes to Harmeet Dhillon, backed by DeSantis.

There is still a long way to go and applications to meet. For now, the conservative campaign is focused on these two renowned leaders, the ones who would have the best chance of winning the presidential nomination.

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