I was sorry to see Kristi Noem join the ranks of 2024 Republican presidential prospects who have eliminated themselves from contention should Donald Trump decide not to run again. Her non-veto veto of the South Dakota bill to ban biological men from competing in girls’ sports is an unfortunate blot on her record. When you have Tucker Carlson challenging your actions, it doesn’t bode well for your political future.
It would seem as though Governor Noem’s only hope for a resurrection is to admit she made a serious mistake by caving in to the progressive forces of evil, ask her constituents for forgiveness, and give the transgender sports ban her unequivocal stamp of approval. It’s rare that a politician has the honesty and courage to admit his/her mistakes, but maybe Governor Noem will prove to be the exception.
At a minimum, before her transgender woke moment, Noem was a strong contender for the VP slot on a Trump 2024 ticket. At least for now, however, she has joined the ranks of distinguished populists like Ted Cruz, Mike Pence, and Tom Cotton, all of whom have suffered self-inflicted wounds.
Cruz, of course, along with snake-in-the-grass Marco Rubio, eliminated himself from a future shot at the Republican nomination back in 2016 by foolishly trying to persuade electors to ignore the fact that Donald Trump had overwhelmingly won the Republican nomination and cast their votes for him instead. It was downright embarrassing to watch. To his credit, Cruz has since tried to right his political ship, but it’s probably too late. He’s a brilliant, conservative statesman, but his rebellion in 2016 makes you feel you can never totally trust him.
Then there’s Mike Pence, who had the frontrunner position all but wrapped up, only to fall short in the waning moments of his vice presidency. Pence is a good man, and he was a loyal vice president, but at the very end of his second term he made the mistake of buying into the Republican establishment’s credo, “Lose with dignity.” Insisting that he didn’t have the authority to refuse to certify the 2020 election results may have been admirable, but when you’re fighting an enemy that recognizes no rules, it not only signals weakness and gullibility, it’s stupid. It’s also sad, because Pence probably would have made an excellent president.
Tom Cotton may still have a shot, but his decision to co-sponsor a bill with the insufferable Mitt Romney to raise the minimum wage and thus create more unemployment caused red flags to pop up all around him. Time will tell if voters are willing to forgive him for his indiscretion, but one more slip-up and he’ll be toast. MAGA people are sick and tired of Republicans supporting Democrat agenda policies.
I’m not even including Nikki Haley in this group, because most of the America-first crowd figured out a long time ago that she’s a shameless opportunist who can’t be trusted. But don’t say it too loud, because she undoubtedly does not realize that she has no chance of securing the Republican nomination. Like her pal Marco, she has always been an incorrigible snake in the grass.
Which brings me to two people whom I believe would make great presidents, but who will not be running. First and foremost is Mark Levin, who is brilliant, tough as nails, and unyielding. He would be a dream come true, someone who would start every day of his presidency by speaking some truth that would fuel Democrat hysteria. It’s fun to fantasize about a Mark Levin presidency, but, unfortunately, he will never run.
Another potentially great president would be Matt Gaetz. There is no mouth-brain combination in Congress as sharp as his. If Republicans can somehow save the republic from being taken over by the Democrat criminal cartel, Gaetz will almost certainly run for president at some point in time. But not now. What he needs first is a senate seat or governorship under his belt, which would make him unstoppable in 2028 and beyond.
Now, to the five people whom I believe will be in the best position to win the 2024 GOP nomination should Donald Trump decide not to run.
My fifth choice on this list is Don Jr. He has his father’s temperament — bombastic, super aggressive, and fearless — which is a plus. And while he doesn’t enjoy Donald Sr.’s iconic status, his verbal skills are awesome. Whereas Donald Trump has difficulty cobbling together an intelligible, mature-sounding sentence, Don Jr. is an amazing speaker and interviewee. No one on the political scene has a faster brain and mouth than him, not even Matt Gaetz.
The biggest obstacle Don Jr. will always face as he tries to climb the political ladder is his personality. Like his father, he’s easy to dislike. Establishment Republicans would declare all-out war on him if he were to announce his candidacy. His dad was successful in standing up to the corrupt RINOs, but it helped that he was able to accumulate a lot of Republican support along the way, support that may be out of reach for Don Jr.
My fourth choice for the 2024 nomination is Senator Josh Hawley. Hawley has it all — brains, knowledge, verbal skills, and toughness. He is deadly serious about the task at hand — saving the United States of America from the clutches of crazed socialists — but his lack of charisma will always be an obstacle for him. Nevertheless, Hawley has a shot, and there’s no doubt in my mind he would make a great president. Regardless of what happens in 2024, Hawley will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
My third choice is Mike Pompeo, a rotund version of Dirty Harry. Pompeo’s credentials are impeccable, starting with his graduating first in his class at West Point. He has a no-nonsense personality that is like a breath of fresh air to voters who have no interest in compromising with Democrats. While his personality is bland, there’s never any doubt about what he thinks. Plus, his loyalty to President Trump has always been clear and unequivocal, which sets him apart from most of the other serious contenders. Pompeo would be a nightmare for Democrats, which is why he would make an awesome president.
Second on my list of preferred GOP candidates is Ron DeSantis. Years ago, I singled out DeSantis as a sure presidential contender down the road — meaning after Donald Trump finished his second term. But with Trump’s (supposed) loss in 2020, the door has opened early for DeSantis. Unlike any of the other candidates, as Governor of Florida he will have had at least four years of successful executive experience under his belt by 2024. Like Hawley, you can count on Ron DeSantis to be around for a very long time.
Finally, we get to my first choice: Tucker Carlson — by a country mile. I don’t know Tucker personally, so I can’t tell you for certain that he’s actually considering a run for the presidency. However, to say the things he says, night after night, it seems to me that he either has a death wish or he has the 2024 Republican nomination in mind. With the exception of Mark Levin (and, in the past, Rush Limbaugh), no one is in Tucker’s league when it comes to blunt honesty.
Neither does anyone compare to Tucker when it comes to calling out the fraud and cowardice of congressional Republicans. In sum and substance, his overriding question night after night is: Why are there no Republicans willing to call out the evil insanity that regularly takes place in Washington? His complete lack of subtlety is a real turn-on to America First voters who are sick of both Democrats and Republicans never being held accountable for their crimes.
Tucker recognizes no sacred cows. Conservatives like Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Mike Braun, James Lankford — and now Kristi Noem — have all had the honor of being in his crosshairs. He doesn’t attack anyone for show. He’s sincere in wanting to know why in the hell no Republicans are willing to stand up to the Democrats’ anti-Constitutional, anti-American, anti-science rhetoric. You know he means it when he says he is “the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink.”
Tucker throwing his hat in the ring may be a long shot, but if he should decide to take the plunge, you can take it to the bank that he would easily win the Republican nomination — assuming Donald Trump doesn’t run again, of course.
Which brings us to the big question: Will Trump run in 2024? Barring some unforeseen problem (health or otherwise), he probably will. Personally, even though I would certainly support him if he ran, I have to admit I would prefer he use his enormous influence to help elect one of the younger, more eloquent, more likeable prospects in the 2024 field.
Even though I firmly believe Trump was the most successful American president of the past century, his quirks not only frustrate his supporters, they undoubtedly drive a certain number of would-be Republican voters into the arms of Democrats. As noted earlier, one of Trump’s most off-putting quirks is that he seems incapable of uttering an intelligible, mature-sounding sentence. I mean, you can only listen to a man say “like nobody has ever seen before” or “numbers nobody thought possible” so many times before rolling your eyes. It’s exhausting to even his most loyal followers.
Trump’s other big weakness is that he can’t seem to control himself from playing into the hands of his enemies. I have never been able to figure out why he agrees to do interviews with scoundrels like George Stephanopoulos, Leslie Stahl, and little Chrissy Wallace. Does he not know they are out to destroy him? Likely, it’s just his ego wanting to prove he isn’t afraid of even his worst enemies. Not smart.
Unfortunately, I doubt Trump will settle for the role of kingmaker, but if he could bring himself to do it, it would dramatically increase the odds of a Republican retaking the White House. That said, political fortunes have a habit of changing quickly and often, so it will be interesting to revisit all this 6-12 months down the road.