The 2020 Democratic Primary is coming to a conclusion with only two candidates remaining. The race is likely over though because Bernie Sanders has no easy path to the nomination and even if there is a contested convention, the DNC is bound to support Joe Biden. None of this is a surprise though.
On the Republican side, there has been no contest. Donald Trump is being challenged by Bill Weld who is yet to capture a single delegate. He also saw a primary from Joe Walsh, who if you didn’t know is a total loser. Walsh is the typical neocon that can’t stand the idea of Trump not being extremely pro-war and a loyalist to the establishment. These people have lost their control of the party as Trump has seen his highest approval to date among GOP voters at 90%.
With the Republican primary virtually uncontested, you have to wonder. Who could be the face of the party in 2024? You’re certain to see the top establishment choices in Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, and even Mike Pence. There will be former candidates from 2016 such as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio as well. But as we saw in 2016, nothing is certain with the Republican electorate.
When you look back to the 2016 general election, most people gave Donald Trump no shot to win. And when you look back to the 2016 Republican primary, the idea of Donald Trump winning even a state was a comedy sketch.
Donald Trump was the darkhorse candidate in 2016, and don’t be surprised if we see another outsider rise to the top in four years. America is tired of the Washington establishment and the idea of the GOP running on liberty and low taxes. Tax cuts don’t win elections, fixing bad trade deals and exploiting the broken immigration system do.
With those points settled, let’s get into the five possible darkhorse GOP candidates for 2024. The list includes a former Vice Presidential nominee and two people who’ve never held public office.
John James, Michigan
James has never held public office, but he’s a top outsider for 2024. He was the Republican nominee for the US Senate in 2018 and lost to a three-term incumbent. James as an African-American businessman will also help the GOP with black voters, a group that they’ve slowly been improving with.
The chances of him running in 2024 are strong but it will depend if he can unseat incumbent US Senator Gary Peters this November. If James loses it’s doubtful he would still run after two failed senate campaigns. Michigan will be a key swing state in 2024, so having a home state boost could be helpful.
Matt Gaetz, Florida
Gaetz is fairly well-known on Twitter but not to the common voter. After ironically wearing a gas mask on the house floor last week to vote on funding for the coronavirus, the Florida congressman has gone into quarantine. His office released a statement that he’d been in contact with an individual containing the virus at CPAC last week. He has been tested since then and results came back negative.
Besides the A+ trolling, Gaetz is one of my personal favorite politicians. He is one of the most pro-Trump members of congress and even announced last week he will no longer take money from super-PACs. Gaetz would be a good choice for voters in 2024 who want Trumpism to last post-Trump. Still, it’ll be difficult to get the nomination as a member of the house.
A bold quote from his opinion piece with Daily Caller was “Our founding fathers did not commit treason to the Crown of England just so our generation could turn around and prostitute ourselves to the special interests of multinational corporations. Instead, our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.”
Sarah Palin, Alaska
The former republican 2008 VP nominee was one of the first vocal supporters of Donald Trump. She endorsed the President on January 20th, 2016 which was over a month before any member of Congress did. At the time, his campaign was in dire need of a boost with Ted Cruz and Ben Carson surging in polls.
Palin is certainly a long shot but you can’t rule anything out. She was a surprising, outside-the-box VP pick for John McCain in 2008. The idea never really worked as planned because of her lack of experience. Although she was a governor, she was unknown in the lower 48 and to the generic voter. But what are really the duties as the governor of Alaska? Getting a budget deal to fund snow dog racing?
Larry Hogan, Maryland
Finding a governor for this list was fairly difficult. Greg Abbott or Ron DeSantis are strong choices but the goal was to find someone whose truly unknown in the party. Being a two-term republican governor from the deep blue state of Maryland is certainly a qualification for Hogan.
But Hogan is the complete opposite of Trump as a RINO republican, which is the only way to win in Maryland. It’s unclear whether the party will search for someone like Hogan who can win back the moderate and educated voters or nominate someone who feeds to Trump’s base. Hogan still does not hold mainstream republican viewpoints. He banned fracking in his first term and has supported vast increases in gun control. He’s certainly unknown but it’s doubtful he is what the party has it’s sights on for 2024.
Tucker Carlson, California
This is by far the darkest of darkhorse candidates. A TV mogul, running for President? That could never happen. Carlson runs the well-known show Tucker Carlson Tonight which is on weeknights at 8 PM ET on Fox News and is typically the second highest viewed nightly cable show. Over the past few years he’s grown his show into promoting America First ideals. These ideals include reducing legal immigration and combating the China threat to America.
Carlson has said in the past he would not consider a run but, who knows what’ll happen in four years? He would ideally run as a Republican though he attacks both sides of the political spectrum daily. Just watch this monologue from December 2019 when he attacked GOP mega-donor Paul Singer for destroying the small town of Sydney, Nebraska.
There is certainly name recognition between Republican primary voters and Carlson. A majority of his viewers are Trump supporters who will vote in the primary. His personal beliefs of right-wing populism go even a further step than Trump and could provide an appeal.