As we look toward the 2024 Presidential election, we see each political party faces a dilemma. On the Republican side, if former President Donald Trump runs again, his personal negatives are so high that, according to recent polls, President Joe Biden would still beat him. For a Republican victory, it is essential that he not be the candidate. I say that as someone who voted for Mr. Trump both in the 2016 Ohio primary and in the general election that year and in 2020, contributed to his campaign and met with him in March, 2016 in Cleveland to give him a copy of Paul Weyrich’s and my last co-authored book, The Next Conservatism. That meeting was not at my request but that of some of his campaign staff who saw the potential the book offered for a new and widely attractive conservative agenda.
The dilemma here is that it is likely Mr. Trump will run again because he seeks vindication for his Presidency. That is understandable, even laudable, because he was a successful President who gave us a booming economy, no new wars and Operation Warpspeed, without which we probably would not yet have Covid vaccines. If he runs again, he will win the Republican nomination because he retains tremendous support among the Republican base – again, for some good reasons.
I think this dilemma has a solution: a Republican ticket of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and, for Vice President, Eric Trump, President Trump’s son. DeSantis has been a true conservative, one willing to challenge cultural Marxism (most Republicans won’t), defy federal mandates and back effective local law enforcement. He has also been a successful governor, and Presidential candidates should generally be governors rather than U.S. Senators or Representatives. Why? Because governors actually have to make things work while Senators and Congressmen need only give speeches.
By putting Eric Trump on the ticket as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, President Trump can get the vindication he seeks without having to run himself. Why not Donald Trump, Jr.? Because voters may get confused between two Donald Trumps. Putting Eric on the ticket will bring millions of voters who voted for his father. And if the Democrats try to run not against Eric but against former President Trump, all he will need to say is, “How many people are carbon copies of their father?” A DeSantis/Eric Trump ticket will be the Dems worst nightmare.
Well, second-worst. Their worst is the dilemma they face, for which I do not see a solution. It is clear that President Biden is on his last leg physically and mentally. I say that with sadness. I remember him from when I was U.S. Senate staff. Indeed, I once worked with him to get an amendment through the Senate Budget Committee. He was intelligent, considerate, and a pleasure to us lowly staffers, which was not true of all Senators. But running him again in 2024 would be like bringing out all the dead and mummified Incas, still dressed in their finery, for state occasions in the Incan Empire. It is simply not possible.
That leaves the Democrats facing President Biden’s poison pill, Vice President Harris. She was a failure as a candidate in 2020 for the Democratic nomination and she will be a failure again if she heads the Democratic ticket. But how can the Democrats deny the nomination to a black woman without enraging a large portion of their base? The only way forward I see for them is to nominate a different black woman. But someone like Stacy Adams would alienate not only whites but Asians and Hispanics as well. Michelle Obama? That would probably be their best shot, but I don’t think she wants to put her family through another Presidential campaign, or, for that matter, another Presidency.
If the Republicans solve their dilemma with a DeSantis/Eric Trump ticket while the Democrats remain trapped in their own, the 2024 election outcome is not difficult to forecast. All it requires is for Republicans to be smarter than Democrats. Ulp.