Friday, January 27, 2023

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: The Shadows of 2024


Although this early in the 2024 presidential race

incumbent President Joe Biden and former President

Donald Trump are the favorites for their respective

party nominations, nothing is settled.

Mr. Trump has already announced his candidacy,

and Mr. Biden appears intending to do so soon.

There is one additional announced GOP candidate,

former national security advisor John Bolton who is

considered unlikely to receive much support. No

notable Democrat has yet announced they will run.

Although he leads so far in many national polls. the

former president faces likely serious challenges in

the party primaries. Most notably, Governor Ron

DeSantis of Florida, who has not yet announced he

will run, already leads Trump in some state polls.

DeSantis, perhaps the biggest GOP winner in 2022,

appears to be the leading challenger in 2024. Former

South Carolina governor and later cabinet member,

Nikki Haley, shows some support in the early polls,

and is considering making the race. The conservative

party also has an impressive “bench” of potential

other candidates, including Governor Kristi Noem of

South Dakota, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas,

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, Senator Marco

Rubio of Florida, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina,

Mike Pompeo, and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

Democrats do not seem to have as impressive a

“bench,” but they do have a number of rising stars

who could run for president in 2024. Two names

frequently cited are Secretary of Transportation

Pete Buttigieg and California Governor Gavin

Newsom. Buttigieg, not yet a candidate, in fact led

Biden in a recent New Hampshire poll. Less

nationally well-known are Secretary and Commerce

and former Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo;

new Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro; and new

Maryland Governor Wes Moore.. Raimondo was

a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University with a law

degree from Yale and a successful businesswoman

before entering politics. Shapiro previously was state

attorney general, senior congressional staffer and

state legislator — and, like Raimondo, has a reputation

for moderate progressive politics. Moore, the first black

Maryland governor, was also a Rhodes scholar. An

army veteran and former investment banker, he was 

also a TV producer.

Some Democrats who ran in 2020 (and lost to Biden) 

could also run, but for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth

Warren age would be an issue in 2024.

For now, however, major Democrats are holding back

in deference to their sitting president. It is no secret

that many Democrats hope he retires, and the brief

surge he enjoyed in the polls after the 2022 midterms

has already dissipated following the revelation of 

classified documents he took home when he was vice 

president. His age and physical condition are likely to

become an issue if he runs for a second term.

For now, the 2024 presidential race, less than two 

years away, remains a match in the shadows. If

there is no incumbent running, there will likely be

many more candidates in both parties than named

above — just as there was in recent cycles,

Beginning with President Biden’s decision of whether

or not to run, the current tentative candidacy shadows 

will disappear, and be replaced with the names and 

faces in what promises to be an epic political contest.


Copyright (c) 2023 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 9, 2023



The protracted balloting to choose a new speaker

of the House of Representatives, anticipated by

The Prairie Editor on this website in late December, 

has now been resolved after more than three days, 

and considerable debate with the election of  Rep. 

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to the key post.

Mr. McCarthy had been selected as the new

Republican majority’s choice in a caucus vote by

a wide margin in December, but because the GOP 

has only a narrow 222 to 212 lead in the full body, 

it was possible for a small group within the majority

caucus to prevent Mr. McCarthy from receiving

the 218 votes necessary to be elected.

Before the January 3 vote, a group of five GOP 

members expressed their unhappiness with the 

rules that had governed the House under 

Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and contended 

that Mr. McCarthy as speaker was likely to

perpetuate them. They said they would not vote

for him. Another two dozen GOP members indicated 

they might also vote for someone else.

In spite of some concessions by Mr. McCarthy to 

this unhappy bloc, he received only 202 votes on

the first ballot, 16 votes short of the necessary

majority. Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, Nancy Pelosi’s

successor, received the vote of every member of

his caucus, 212, and he continued to receive that

number of votes in all the remaining 14 ballots.

Then began a series of negotiations which eventually

brought 14 of the dissidents to vote for McCarthy, 

while the five hardliners agreed to vote “present,”

thus enabling Kevin McCarthy to be elected speaker.

Reactions to the three-day spectacle and its

conclusion have been predictably partisan. The

Democrats, now in the minority, boasted of their

unity in the voting — despite having their own

factions, including the five members of the leftist 

group known as “The Squad.” Democratic leaders

during the balloting understandably used the occasion

to repeat the liberal mantras of their policy issues.

Some Republicans, after the balloting, reflected some

uncertainty, having put Mr. McCarthy in the

speakership, how the GOP agenda would be able to

proceed, especially with the return to the old rule

of one member being able to challenge the 

speaker’s tenure.

This uncertainty was expressed by some in the GOP

establishment, many of whom felt the public display

of discord within their caucus weakened their voter

support. This view was also echoed by the Democrats

and the establishment media which routinely has

supported President Biden and his very liberal


Another view, however, suggests that the Republican

House majority, albeit small, will now be able to be 

more effective as a check on the Biden administration, 

the Democrat Senate majority, and their efforts to 

promote and enact legislation and policies which 

conservatives oppose.

The reality is that, regardless of any personal motives,

the GOP dissidents have brought back a much more

transparent House of Representatives. In enforcing

Democratic “unity,” former Speaker Pelosi had

concentrated power in her office and her leadership

coterie. Debate on the floor and the ability to offer

amendments to legislation was prohibited. The right

to hold the speaker accountable was effectively

eliminated; the ability of the opposition to participate

in House business was curtailed. Further, Speaker

Pelosi had effectively sealed off the House from

public access under the rubric of security concerns.

Speaker McCarthy will inevitably face disagreements

within his caucus, but he has already given several

of those who are members of the more conservative

Freedom Caucus and others who initially voted against 

him more prominent  committee roles, thus significantly 

reducing incentives for caucus conflict in pursuing their

conservative agenda.

The bottom line appears to be that the Republican

House will more likely be able to be a consistently

conservative opposition as the new political cycle 

leading to the presidential election in 2024 now begins 

in earnest.


Copyright (c) 2023 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.