Thursday, November 28, 2019

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: The "Benches" For 2024?

No one, understandably, is talking about 2024 these days --- after
all, we are still eleven months away from a very undetermined
outcome in 2020!

Nevertheless, the Republican Party will have a new leader in 2024
no matter what the result next year.

Donald Trump will be a hard act to follow, especially if he wins
re-election in 2020. There is no one in the GOP even remotely
like him in his public personality and style, but that does not
mean his party lacks an impressive "bench" to succeed him either
in a post-Trump era --- or to challenge the Democratic incumbent
should he or she win next year.

The list is impressive indeed. It includes former Governor and
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton of
Arkansas, U.S Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, U.S Senator
John Thune of South Dakota, and --- if he wins the Michigan
U.S. senate seat in Michigan in 2020, John James.

Of course many other well-known Republicans will probably
think about running, including 2016 candidate, Florida U.S.
Senator Marco Rubio, and current Vice President Mike Pence.
Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa and Senator Tim Scott of South
Carolina might have appeal, as  could U.S. Senator Cory Gardner
of Colorado --- if he wins a tough re-election battle next year.

What makes this group impressive is that they are young, have
already had distinctive records, each has some measure of
personal charisma, and (except for Rubio) are fresh faces on the
presidential campaign stage. Each of them (including now,
Rubio) could have the support of an outgoing President Trump
in 2024. And probably to their advantage, each of them has a
less disruptive style than the 2016 upset winner who continues
to provoke so much disdain and, for others, admiration for his
Twitterisms and outspoken mannerisms.

Other figures, perhaps a sitting Republican governor or member
of Congress, could emerge in the long interval before 2024.

Unlike the Democrats in 2016, who had no standout bench to
succeed Barack Obama --- and might not have a great bench in
2020 --- the conservative party has a bench to look forward to in
That does not mean hey will win in that cycle. The electorate
might have Trump-fatigue by then, but the Grand Old Party at
least has plenty of dynamic young new faces to put forward.

On the Democratic Party side, the most charismatic young
figure so far has been South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg who is
suddenly doing well in he 2020 race. The promise of Beto
O’Rourke, heralded after 2018, has fizzled --- signaling that being
young and charismatic isn’t enough in presidential politics.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, New Mexico Governor
Marjorie Lujan Grisham and Montana Governor Steve Bullock
(he’s running in 2020) could be significant young Democratic
figures, as might two other current candidates, Hawaii
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and businessman Andrew Yang.

California Senator Kamala Harris and New Jersey Senator
Cory Booker are still in the 2020 race, but so far have not
connected with their party's voters. Perhaps they might have
more success five years from now.

What makes the GOP bench so interesting is that most of its
candidates --- particularly Nikki Haley, Tom Cotton and Josh
Haley so far --- are not just attractive political faces, but have
some new ideas and policies they are already putting forward.

If the Democrats don’t win in 2020, they will need to create a
promising bench of their own for 2024. And, I might add, with
a bench younger in ideas and age than their frontrunners so far
in this cycle.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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