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The Right Resistance: For Trump’s 2024 running mate, is winning the only consideration?

Question for fellow Donald J. Trump supporters: Would you be willing to accept Nikki Haley – or Chris Christie -- as Trump’s running mate if it meant the Republican candidate’s chances of victory in this year’s presidential election increased considerably?

As time goes on and presumed 2024 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continues to toss hints about who he might tap to be his MAGA 2.0 running mate, speculation over the weighty decision has reached the absurd point in some circles, with a few commentators even suggesting a miraculous reconciliation with “Birdbrain” Haley is still under contemplation.


For what it’s worth, Trump’s short list, according to this not-too-long-ago report from Newsweek, includes South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, former 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, Elise Stefanik, Ben Carson and J.D. vance. And Trump added a few names himself: “Speaking to Fox News host Laura Ingraham on February 20, Trump said that Scott, Noem, [Vivek] Ramaswamy, Gabbard, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and Florida Representative Byron Donalds were all on his vice president shortlist.”


Notably absent from the above list were Haley and Christie, but I’ve seen in other sources (notably Kurt Schlichter’s Townhall column) that Trump’s people are still in regular contact behind-the-scenes with the 2024 GOP race’s runner-up, and her selection would reverberate throughout the world and generate the type of news buzz that Trump craves at all times. Everyone who’s followed Trump understands that Trump loves surprises, too, and his choosing his “rival” to join with him to revitalize the nation would satisfy every publicity-seeking bone in his body, wouldn’t it?


The same goes for Christie. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been anyone who’s advanced the notion that the former strong Trump backer-turned-opportunistic Never Trumper remains in discussions to be Mike Pence’s replacement. Christie recently denied that he would make an independent bid under the No Labels “label”, but he also has all-but stepped up his critiques of Trump himself. The sign of a desperate and jilted political man, the rotund former New Jersey governor and 2016 and 2024 Republican candidate doesn’t appear to know where he stands these days.


For what it’s worth, Christie hasn’t been approached by senile president Joe Biden regarding the potential of big Chris going full Benedict Arnold on Trump, but some still wonder why. In an opinion piece titled “Why Hasn’t Biden Called Chris Christie?”, the sometimes useful for starting an argument liberal Jonathan Martin wrote at Politico recently:


“Surely Biden, who was in Arizona last week, knows that Haley won 20 percent of the vote (and Ron DeSantis another two percent) in Phoenix’s Maricopa County. That’s 22 percent for somebody besides Trump in a race that’s long over. These are voters up for grabs in the fall. And voters whose ultimate decision could be shaped by leaders with credibility on the pre-Trump right.


“To Biden’s credit, he did call Haley the day she dropped out. Which is more than Trump has done to appeal to his former rival. Haley, of course, is highly unlikely to support Biden. Wanting a future in the GOP, she’ll likely come around to Trump.


“Yet as Haley’s ongoing silence demonstrates, Trump has made that more difficult by doing nothing to win her over. The same principle applies to Biden. By not reaching out to Republicans uneasy with their own nominee, the president is making it easier for them to criticize him.”


Is this a fair take on the Never Trump/Biden situation? No surprise, but I think Martin has presented the situation all wrong here. The entire reason why this disgruntled group of nominal Republican establishment naysayers is “Never Trump” to begin with is because most of them maintain that they’re still Republicans but can’t support Donald Trump due to his co-opting the once-squishy GOP and turning it into a populist/conservative entity that enjoys mixing it up with Democrats rather than paying lip service to the limited government agenda and then folding like a deck chair to the opposition when the going gets tough.


Christie himself has said, and continues to say, that he can’t support anyone who’s been accused of so many crimes and might go to prison if the Merrick Garland justice department gets its way up and down the eastern seaboard this year. Dirigible Chris doesn’t go into detail when asked to explain his position on the merits of said Trump lawfare, but he’s more than willing to use the witch hunt as a convenient excuse to dig at his old friend (Trump) time and again.


It could be that liberal cable news outlets are realizing that no one listens to Christie any longer, since Trump easily prevailed in the 2024 race and the New Jerseyan never broke free of single digits, even in New Hampshire.



As far as Trump still pondering Haley as his veep, I doubt he’d actually choose her. The latter weeks of the campaign were particularly unsavory for the popularity challenged former South Carolina governor and Trump U.N. Ambassador, when Nikki repeatedly emphasized that the sure winner was unqualified, would lose to Biden and, insultingly, wasn’t stable enough to be president. That’s a pretty high wall for Trump to get over to even think about asking Haley – and media fools like Jonathan Martin wonder why Trump himself hasn’t called her in the month or so since she left the race.


Why should Trump do it? For the same reasons he would still think of Nikki for his vice president. Making nice with Haley could conceivably bring some of her wayward establishment Republican voters back into the MAGA tent, something he hypothetically needs to bolster his chances of winning this year.


This is it for Trump. And this is it for America the way we’ve always known it and loved it. Trump realizes this, and I believe, would be willing to do almost anything to assure victory. What he would do with Haley after inauguration day is up to him, but the most important calendar day, for now, is November 5.


That being said, Trump almost certainly won’t choose Haley for the simple reason that I don’t think he likes her very much – and he views her as disloyal, which is a fatal flaw for Trump. Nikki remained in the race long (at least a few weeks) after it was clear she had no shot to win, continued on her mostly personal vendetta against Trump and refused to say the “e” word after she did hang up her campaign heels.


Why would Trump overlook all of these things when there are other, equally viable choices?


I was surprised that Trump still listed Gov. Ron DeSantis on his short list, because the two of them were at odds for most of the campaign – Trump saying that DeSantis wasn’t loyal and DeSantis arguing that Trump, though a good president in most ways, didn’t get the job done the first time around. Meanwhile, the Floridian has repeatedly emphasized that he’s not interested in being vice president, and one is tempted to believe him.


If Trump tapped DeSantis, it would end up being a Lincoln-like “Team of rivals” type scenario.


According to recent reports, Senator Tim Scott is the odds-on favorite to be selected by Trump, which makes some sense since Scott, though a 2024 candidate himself, never said anything that would cause the former president to dislike or distrust him. Scott regularly appeared at Trump’s campaign events and showed a little spirit in his speeches, too. The fact that he’s African-American will be harped on by the media, but the “Uncle Tom” charge only goes so far with the sector of the black voters who are heartily sick of senile Joe Biden and his economy-wrecking agenda.


Here too, I doubt Trump would choose Scott, not because he’s unqualified or lacking in sufficient “wow” factor, but because the South Carolinian wouldn’t greatly add to Trump’s chances of winning the election. Tim is about as nice and polite as Trump is controversial and brash, so this would make for an interesting dynamic between the two. But I believe Trump is searching for a little more pizazz from his number two.


I don’t take the rumors surrounding Tulsi Gabbard-for-Trump’s running mate seriously. Trump probably personally likes Tulsi, and why wouldn’t he? She’s a former Democrat who’s spoken out against Biden from the beginning, so she can’t be called an opportunistic hypocrite. But there’s also a good chance many conservatives and Republicans wouldn’t like the choice. And Trump needs to raise money – so he’s got to make a lot of people happy, not put-off.


I’m also not convinced that South Dakota governor Kristi Noem is going to be the one, either. Once upon a time I, and many others, considered Noem to be the frontrunner. But how much would she add to the ticket? She’s white as Wonder bread and hails from a small (population-wise) midwestern state that is already Trump country, through and through. News buzz surrounding her would last about a week and she’d be given the full Sarah Palin-treatment by the establishment media. Would Noem hold up?


The others – Elise Stefanik, Ben Carson, J.D. Vance and Byron Donalds – are interesting “niche” veep candidates but none are game-changer types. The same goes for former Trump secretary-of-state Mike Pompeo, though the latter man is probably one of the most qualified to step in as president at a moment’s notice, if needed.


The most important characteristic of all for Trump’s running mate? Whomever Donald Trump feels he or she should be. The 2024 GOP nominee will listen to the back-and-forth on whom he should choose, but ultimately, the decision is up to Trump and Trump alone. Trump’s political instincts are rarely challenged; here’s thinking he’ll get it right again this time.

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