I know I shouldn’t do this.
I know that I’m feeding into the perpetual campaign cycle of the United States that I absolutely agree is unhealthy and unproductive for the country. No one actually concerns themselves with the hard business of governing anymore. They are too consumed in jockeying for position for the next election, raising money off opponent gaffes, seizing the microphone to exploit the latest situation all to bolster their chances of gaining or maintaining power.
We need some time away from the cycle. We – and by we, I mean the country as a whole – need time to unify rather than being drawn into the endless polarization, rallies, and protests against one group and for another.
So the last thing that someone like me who understands and believes all this should be doing is fueling any kind of thought or talk about the 2024 election. We still have three more months of this presidential cycle, and here I am ready to get going on the next?
Well, not exactly. Believe it or not, it’s actually catharsis for me. Thinking about a post-Trump era for the Republican Party brings me hope. And it also makes this election cycle completely immaterial. Whether we are Trumpless starting in January of 2021 or Trumpless starting in January of 2025, there is a time coming when conservatives will not be arguing with one another whether they should be supporting the provocateur-in-chief or not. I look forward to that. Immensely.
So back at the start of June I compiled my top five choices for Republican presidential candidates once the Trump era is over. They were: 5. Mike Pence, 4. Ron DeSantis, 3. Greg Abbott, 2. Nikki Haley, 1. Tim Scott.
Two months later and I’d like to re-order them, drop one from the top 5 and add a brand new number one choice who came out of nowhere, please.
5. Mike Pence. Still think he is a man of solid character and integrity. Not perfect or flawless, and again, his conversion to Trumpism will always disappoint me. But if you ask me if I think he would act or govern like Trump as president? Not a chance. He comes in at #5 just barely ahead of Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, by the way.
4. Nikki Haley. I still really like her, obviously. I still think she would be a fantastic president. More than anything, her disappearance from the national stage has caused my interest in her to wane a bit. But still, a solid choice.
3. Ron DeSantis. DeSantis bumps up one spot not because I think he’s the most articulate. In fact, I’ve been a little turned off by some of his press conferences where I didn’t think he was good on his feet. But his willingness to endure hostile media and lead his state effectively through the COVID spike impressed me. He didn’t give in to panic and that’s a very admirable quality right now.
2. Tim Scott. Scott has done nothing to merit being bumped from #1 other than just not being as impressive as his replacement. In fairness, he isn’t leading a state as Governor right now, so it makes his ability to do that somewhat hindered. Nonetheless, I still think Scott is a rock star and would be ecstatic to see him rise to the top.
1. Kristi Noem. What a job she has done. Had been totally off my radar out in South Dakota, but she is a solid conservative who just like DeSantis, has led her state admirably through this COVID crisis. And by admirably, I mean responsibly and with restraint. She has consistently spoken to the truth that people in her state are free, she is not their overlord, and she has refused to act like one. The result?
So there they are. The new top 5. Give me a Noem/Scott ticket and I’ll be over the moon. Of course, given that it only took two months for me to find a new favorite, I suppose something could change in the next four years.