2024 Republican Candidates: Conservative Intel Edition

The 2020 presidential election concluded in a cloud of controversy and questions about how Donald Trump lost remain. A recent piece in Time Magazine even celebrates a years-long covert effort against Trump by Big Tech and leftist activists, united by their hostility to the Washington outsider. There is more swamp to drain.

Regardless of the 2020’s outcome, Republicans will be running as the challengers to a Democratic president. Look for a crowded field as different wings of the party jockey for the nomination.

Here is Conservative Intel’s exclusive look at the 2024 Republican nomination rumor mill:

1. The Comeback:

Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States: Donald Trump remains a formidable force in American politics and the man to be reckoned with in the Republican party. Everything Republicans do now is measured against Trump’s stance and opinion and many Republicans would love nothing more than a revenge tour after the 2020election debacle.

Trump received 78 million votes and still has an approval rating above 80% within the party, making him the most popular Republican in the United States. However, Trump would be 78 in 2024 and since Twitter censored his account, it is unclear how he would communicate his message to supporters. Even if he doesn’t run, look for Trump to be a major player in the next four years – his endorsement will be the key to the nomination.

2. Trump Loyalists:

Mike Pence, 48th Vice President of the United States: The former vice president was often a calming presence in the turbulence of the Trump administration. Paired with a gift for clear communication (although dry at times), some see Pence as the perfect man to move Trump’s agenda forward in the future without the dramatics. Some question if Pence would want the nomination given his personality and frustrations with higher office. If he hasn’t shown interest by 2022, he likely won’t run.

Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State/CIA Director: Mike Pompeo was a key player in Trump’s foreign policy achievements and remained loyal to Donald Trump until the end. His experience is formidable, but many question if he has the charisma to win over a majority of Republicans.

3. New Look Republicans:

Nikki Haley, former Governor of South Carolina/U.N. Ambassador: Nikki Haley might be the most obvious candidate in 2024. Her record as state governor then foreign ambassador for Donald Trump is impressive and she has been a conservative favorite for years. She already launched her own PAC that seems geared towards a political future. However, she did clash with the Trump administration in her tenure as U.N. ambassador and some Trump supporters are wary of her political maneuvering by leaving the administration early. Haley will almost certainly run so look if she can increase her support among Trump loyalists.

Josh Hawley, Missouri Senator: Josh Hawley endeared himself to Trump supporters in recent months through his consistent objection to the 2020 election results. As other senators withdrew their support, Hawley stood strong. While this is a plus for Trump Republicans, Hawley may have a tough time bridging the gap between them and moderate Republicans with his hard-charging defense of the former president. He also will have just finished a first term in the Senate by 2024, making him one of the least experienced candidates on this list.

Tom Cotton, Arkansas Senator: Tom Cotton has a proven record of service to his country. As an infantry officer in the Army, he received the Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman Badge and became a U.S. senator at age 37. He supported Trump’s policies but did not stand by the president’s claims of election fraud, which will hurt him among Trump loyalists. Despite his leadership and youth, many cite his 2020 Republican National Committee speech as evidence he lacks the charisma to be president. Cotton has not been in the 2024 sweepstakes spotlight but many consider him a serious contender.

Ben Sasse, Nebraska Senator: Ben Sasse may have a hard time in the post-Trump Republican party. He was critical of the president and called Trump a “meglomaniac strongman” and has even gone so far as suggesting he would leave the Republican party altogether. However, many see Sasse as the face of principled conservatism, balancing Donald Trump’s populist message. This may be true, but running for president apart his own party and its former president will make his candidacy difficult if he decides to run.

4. The Governors:

Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor: Ron DeSantis is viewed as a likely 2024 candidate due to his leadership during the pandemic and continued support of Donald Trump. While Democrats criticized Florida’s response to Covid-19, DeSantis remained firm in keeping Florida open for business while protecting seniors and the vulnerable from the virus. State’s with far stricter rules like New York and California are at or above Florida’s infection rates. DeSantis has been firm in supporting Donald Trump and campaigned with him in 2020. Trump also lives in Florida, showing his support for the increasingly Republican state. Gov. DeSantis will be up for reelection in 2022, so look how he performs there for clues to his 2024 run. While he is popular now, things could change in the next two years.

Kristi Noem, South Dakota Governor: Like Gov. DeSantis, Kriti Noem displayed leadership during the pandemic and remained loyal to Trump. Many Republicans welcome her candidacy as a woman and see it as a bridge to win back suburban women, a demographic Trump lost heavily in 2020. However, Noem is governor of the fifth smallest state and some worry a jump from South Dakota to President of the United States would be too steep.

Greg Abbott, Texas Governor: Greg Abbott has forged a reputation as a conservative with an independent streak. He issued one of the shortest stay-at-home orders during the pandemic and is one of the most popular governors in the Union. He had a strong working relationship with Donald Trump during Trump’s presidency but kept some of his controversial policies at arms length. Abbott has not expressed any interest in higher office but would be popular if he ran.

5. Republican Re-runs:

Ted Cruz, Texas Senator: After a second place finish in the 2016 Republican primaries and spirited defense of Donald Trump’s election claims, Cruz has placed himself in a position to take up Trump’s mantle in 2024. He has high name recognition among Republicans and has a consistent conservatives record. Detractors will say Cruz’s slim victory over Beto O’Rourke in 2018 is evidence that he isn’t popular and that his recent defense of Trump is just pandering to a group he earlier rejected. Either way, look for Cruz to jockey for media attention and a prime spot in the primary as 2024 draws closer.

Marco Rubio, Florida Senator: Marco Rubio seems like a perfect candidate for president and has the experience to prove it. However, his early stances against Donald Trump and failed 2016 candidacy have many Republicans thinking his time to run has expired. Having over a decade in the Senate, Rubio may be better served staying there than making a run for the White House.

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