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The Right Resistance: Speculators for Trump’s 2024 running mate will most likely be wrong

Some of you may not have even noticed the passing of another milestone this past weekend, that being Saturday, June 15, which marked the one-month-to-go date until the opening of the 2024 Republican presidential nominating convention in Milwaukee,

Wisconsin. There, it’s widely anticipated that Donald J. Trump’s name will be placed in nomination followed by a unanimous – or nearly so – vote of the delegates.


The attendees in the big RNC event will make a lot of noise, wear tons of buttons and silly hats, wave signs, dress funny (some of them) and lend the impression that the Republican Party is as unified now as it’s been in a long time, the sometimes rancorous and spiteful 2024 primary campaign season and the three post-January 6 years a distant memory among Republicans. Yes, this even includes Nikki Haley. Don’t ask how.


Will the nights and hours seem anti-climactic? So many quadrennial political conventions these days are little more than rubber stamp sessions for affirming the party establishment’s rules, hamming for the cameras, producing schmalzy campaign-type commercials and for parading as many celebrities before the national cameras as possible, blatant pandering to the five or so people (an estimate, right?) who care about what such and such thinks about the nominee enough to listen to their endorsements.


One thing that will definitely peak interest is the impending choice from Trump regarding his 2024 running mate, a mystery the 45th president and three-time Republican party nominee has dangled in front of Americans for some time now. With former veep Mike Pence already out of the picture (way out, actually), the Republican leader has a big choice to make. With Trump’s age, legal problems and penchant for drawing verbal assaults from his enemies, the vice president’s slot will carry special weight this year. For some.


Who will it be? Who should it be? In an article titled “That’s the ticket: Pros and cons of top contenders to be Trump’s VP”, Seth McLaughlin reported at the Washington Times last weekend:


“Former President Donald Trump is zeroing in on his VP pick from a list of political heavy-weights and conservative stars, and he’ll announce his choice at the Republican National Convention in July. ‘I have sort of a pretty good idea,’ Mr. Trump told Fox News about his latest thinking. ‘Look, we have some really talented people.’…


“Analysts say Mr. Trump also is likely looking to balance out the ticket with someone who can help shore up support among moderate Republicans and make inroads with the suburban women, minority voters and young voters who have grown disillusioned with Democrats. Some prospects have fared better than others…


“The list of contenders includes Republicans who voted to certify the results of the 2020 election and evolved from being Trump haters to prominent allies. There are also notable wildcards such as former Fox personality Tucker Carlson and Rep. Marjorie Tayor Greene of Georgia, who arguably has been his most loyal supporter. The veep chatter also has swept up ambitious up-and-comers like Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York and Byron D[onalds] of Florida.”


Yeah, who knows. With speculation being what it is among media journalists and pundits who depend on generating buzz to draw interest to their stories, you could bring up any eligible person under the Constitution and likely draw notoriety from it. Trump is renowned for loving surprises, and this year’s running mate derby is no exception. Adding to the suspense is Trump’s ongoing struggle with the Joe Biden deep state justice department which obtained one sham conviction already and is hankering for more shots at getting the Republican before a biased judge and jury to give it another whirl so as to toss him in the hoosegow.


The “who will he choose?” conjecture adds to the flavor of the debate. Americans understand that Trump’s selection will be largely based on merit alone, but nonetheless, commentators are going out of their way to pick apart the qualifications and bona fides of each prospect to reveal the real reason why the lifelong real estate developer would honor him or her above everyone else.


By Trump suggesting the other day that he was close to making a decision regarding his MAGA 2.0 choice, he did, as he always does, say a lot and nothing at the same time. After all, telling a questioner that a proposed veep designee was “probably” in the room opens up the possibility to include everyone who’d been there that day as well as everyone who wasn’t physically present as well.


“Probably” means “maybe”. You know, it was the answer your mom used to give when, as a kid, you asked whether your favorite gift wish was in that big wrapped package under the Christmas tree. For all we knew, back then, it was a box inside a box or a cardboard frame full of nothing but air intended to teach you a lesson for violating the “don’t ask again” rule for the umpteenth time.


But in Trump’s special circumstance, his running mate must be someone, and it can’t just be anyone, and time’s running out before Trump has to get the necessaries taken care of before the convention starts. A week can seem like a year in today’s political fracas, yet time goes by fast. The wolves are perpetually at the proverbial door.


Who are the top contenders? If Trump chooses Tim Scott, it could signal that the chance-taking lifelong real estate tycoon, reality TV star and tabloid celebrity has finally taken the high, safe road as far as his intra-party relations are concerned – and is looking towards securing the general election through demographics and identity. The fact that Scott is African-American is hard to overlook, and Trump’s ever-improving standing with black men is something the nominee is very interested in.


For those speculating that Trump would prefer a placeholder-type vice president already hedging bets on who would inherit his MAGA legacy, Tim Scott would not be the one to do it. Scott is a fine man with an inspiring story who’s earned everything he’s ever been gifted with politically, but it also could be argued Tim is much too “nice” to willingly take part in the kinds of dirty, drag-it-out fights he’ll need to follow in Trump’s unfillable footsteps.


Tim Scott is no Trump mini-me, put it that way. Scott falls much closer to the “coalition-builder” type politician who makes friends with the old Bush establishment-creatures than Trump ever did. Is the South Carolinian combative enough to lead the new movement to Make America Great Again once Trump has exited the national spotlight?


Or, simply stated, is Tim Scott too nice a guy to be Trump’s loyal vice president?


The other non-white candidates, if people tend to group them together by surface characteristics (not sure why), are 2016 GOP presidential-rival-turned loyal MAGA enthusiast Ben Carson, Florida Rep. Byron Donalds and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. It wasn’t surprising that Trump would consider Carson for such a post because he could count on the retired pediatric neurosurgeon’s rock-solid loyalty as well as depend on the Detroit native to bolster the administration’s arguments for urban renewal. But, at age 72, Carson doesn’t represent the “future” on the populist/conservative spectrum as Trump envisions it.


Neither does Rubio, in my estimation, though the mid-50’s Floridian does possess an impressive set of oratory skills, which he displayed alongside Trump in 2016 when he was called “Little Marco” (by Trump) and challenged for being too “robotic” (by Chris Christie). Rubio has since abandoned his wishy-washy championing of amnesty, but could he be trusted – by Trump – to be a true believer in the MAGA cause?


Rep. Byron Donalds wouldn’t draw suspicion for potential disloyalty. The mid-forties Sunshine Stater has earned acclaim for his articulate defense of conservatism, combative (in a good way) qualities and willingness to engage the (ideological) enemy without fear. In my mind, Donalds epitomizes the up-and-coming wave of conservative African-Americans, the anti-woke warriors who embody American principles and reject the “old” Affirmative Action credo.


If Trump were planning to take a flyer on a relative newcomer to be his running mate, I think Donalds is just the right fit. There’s the constitutional issue of both potential nominees being from the same state, but this also could be said for Marco Rubio, too. Is there a way around it?


Trump has residences in several states. Here’s guessing the wheels are already in motion to take care of this dilemma.


Ohio Senator JD Vance is the youngest of the “vetted” group (New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is exactly a month older) and therefore represents perhaps the candidate with the most options – and potential uses for a “new” Trump presidency. Similar to Donalds in the personality disposition category, Vance can be prickly when confronted by hypocritical establishment media news interrogators and has honed his message to the ultimate. He’s ready to take on the vice president nominee’s traditional “attack dog” role and, if selected, will no doubt become Trump’s personal political heir.


As McLaughlin alluded to earlier, Tucker Carlson has been mentioned a number of times as being considered by Trump for his running mate, but nothing I’ve heard lately indicates the talk show phenom is being prepped for the campaign trail.


How about Senator Tom Cotton or North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum? They almost make too much sense, which is the rationale Trump will use to go with someone else.


No one can say why Trump picked the names to vet that he did. I seem to recall in 2016 that Mike Pence wasn’t on any of the so-called “short lists”, yet the mild-mannered Indianan eventually received the nod. Trump could pick someone from the vetting list; or he may not. The days are counting down until all of us find out one way or the other.

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