While President Joe Biden has yet to make his 2024 intentions plain, it is assumed that he will announce his re-election bid soon enough, and the belabored former President Donald Trump is already full steam ahead in his effort to reclaim the White House. Additionally, several other Republicans have officially joined the race, including two former governors, Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. On the Democrat side, self-help guru Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have come forward as primary challengers to Biden. But what of those dark horses that have yet to make a public play for the most powerful job in the world?
The Newsom Nexus
On a modern-day Grand Tour, California Governor Gavin Newsom is taking the time to raise his red-state profile by visiting the bastions of the GOP electorate. Alabama, Florida, and Texas have all been on the receiving end of an appearance by the man who says he will not stand against Joe Biden in 2024. Why the big road trip, then?
Newsom could be trying to help local Democrats in these states raise their profiles prior to the election in the hopes of turning red to purple, or he could be laying the groundwork for a late announcement. Regarding the former position, however, Dems are worried that the California shine might not play too well.
Florida’s Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried warned that the efforts could backfire and pointed out that “What would not be helpful is a comparison between the two states… Florida is very different from California.”
Matt Angle, a Democrat organizer in Texas, also had reservations about the approach, saying, “The resources are needed, and there is some smart money that gets spent in Texas from outside… But Texans, even Democrats, resent people coming in and acting like they’re bringing fire to cavemen.”
Still, doling out his unused campaign funds to struggling Dems might just be the goodwill gesture that gets him on the 2024 ticket, should Biden decide not to run – or should Newsom decide he’s the only Democrat who can win.
Destiny for DeSantis?
Prior to the arraignment of Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had the wind at his back. While Trump was maintaining his sizeable lead, the as-yet-unannounced DeSantis was on the receiving end of major media speculation and the beneficiary of column inches usually reserved for national politicians. With Alvin Bragg’s indictment, however, Trump appears to have regained his decisive lead.
As Liberty Nation’s Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner noted, “DeSantis cleverly managed to capitalize on the pending indictment of his rival. He attacked the flimsy basis for the arrest, but played dumb while simultaneously demeaning Trump’s character: ‘I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair.’” Certainly, a strong signal that the governor’s cap is in the ring.
DeSantis is one of the few politicians that actually has a positive favorability rating – plus six points, according to the latest YouGov/Economist poll. Parlaying his national approval and high-profile gambits into a 2024 run is a distinct possibility.
The Manchin Maneuver?
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has become a civic fulcrum since his party took power in January 2021. Due to the tight margins in the upper chamber, his vote has been both courted and derided in equal measure by those seeking to pass legislation. And yet the shifting sands of political ideology have left the Mountain State member neither fish nor fowl.
As reported by Just the News, Manchin has been quietly courting high-profile conservative donors of late. Sourcing an anonymous GOP advisor, the outlet observes:
“There are a number of conservatives who have spent time with Sen. Manchin. They were actually hoping he would switch to the Republican Party… Now the Senator hasn’t said this but it’s been suggested by others that he might have [switched] if Mitch McConnell wasn’t the GOP leader. An independent run might be the next best thing.”
Having been lauded by the right for refusing to follow his party’s block voting, and receiving plaudits from a number of the more moderate Democratic Party faithful, Manchin finds himself in a unique position: A politician that – at least on the surface – appears to bridge the ideological chasm.
Speaking to Politico in March, Alaska Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R) posited that “[Manchin’s] running for something. I don’t know what it is.” The Republican added, “He’s going to have a tough race. I think West Virginia’s redder than we are in Alabama. So he’s going to put his best foot forward for a year and a half. We gotta think he’s going to run.”
A Political Eternity to 2024
Harold Wilson, a former two-time prime minister of Great Britain, once noted that “A week is a long time in politics.” The frenetic energy that infuses the modern world has only deepened the significance of his observation. A week is, indeed, a long time – so 18 months until the next presidential election in 2024 is a veritable eternity. Much can change on a near-infinite timeline.
But rumblings are afoot. As Joe Biden is forced to defend his own record at the helm – marred by, among other things, inflation, a border crisis, and a lack of coherent messaging – his grasp on a second term appears less and less sure. For Donald Trump, mired in investigations and with the full force of the Fourth Estate still vehemently opposed to him having any role in public life, a path to victory is far from certain. The electorate remains deeply divided and both the incumbent and his main opponent are in negative territory when it comes to favorability ratings. Either man could yet fall to a challenge from his own side. At a time when the word “unprecedented” is used so often in reference to political events, it might be wise, at this point, to not dismiss even the dark horses.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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