We are in the year of the next presidential election. The Democratic Party is currently at its breaking point of deciding the direction of the party by choosing between candidates such as Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. These candidates each have their own path by which the Left may have to form their party after.
However, at least this year, the party that doesn’t have to form that direction is the GOP.
So with that avoidance of turn of ideological direction, it may be proper to look ahead to the next true turning point of presidential politics for the GOP in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary.
What makes 2024 so unique? This is the year that many believe will be tough on the GOP due to the dramatic rise of President Donald Trump and the effect he has had on not only the party itself, but the ideologues and members within in.
Although we are at least somewhat confident that the presidential nominee for the GOP will have nowhere near the same effect Trump has had on the party, it still seems proper to take a look at who might hold the responsibility to lead the party further after Donald Trump, so let’s take a view of 5 candidates to look out for in 2024.
5. Mike Pence
The first and most obvious choice for this list is the current Vice President of the United States and former Indiana Governor, Mike Pence. Pence is the safe, old school conservative choice that many establishment Republicans approved of in 2016 to counteract Trump’s unorthodox politics leading up to the election. In 2024, many GOPers may look to Pence to bring the party back to the original Bush, Reagan, and Cheney era of the Republican Party after the Trumpian era of politics is over. However, there is a reason he is 5th on this list. The rejection of that same mindset is much of the reasoning Trump won the primary in the first place in 2016, so is it likely that the same voters that went so unconventional before will revert back to the same old same old?
4. Dan Crenshaw
Lt. Commander and current Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw is one of the most popular conservative leaders in the Republican Party, as well as one of its youngest. At 35, Crenshaw has became one of President Trump’s most vocal and media savvy supporters in the federal government, knowing how to get his message through on social media as well as nail any media interview that he participated in. As well as being a respected combat veteran, Crenshaw has made a name for himself in being one of the most recognized voices in the conservative movement, using his wittiness, humor, and cunning personality to gain fans on both sides of the aisle.
Although young, many of Crenshaw’s tactics, issue priorities, and belief systems hinge on the old Republican guard, yet give him access to spread these ideas to a younger audience. This gives Crenshaw many benefit and harms. Either he can use it to his advantage to reach out in spreading the message of old fashioned conservatism to young voters, while still maintaining the older generation’s beliefs, or he could be viewed as one of the establishment favorites that may be rejected they were in 2016.
3. Greg Abbott
The second Texan to appear on this list is the Governor of the Republic, Gregg Abbott. The chairman of the United States Governor Association, Abbott has remained one of the most recognized members of the party throughout the country. Whether it’s his state being among the most envied of Republicans in other states, his love for dogs and Texan lifestyle on Twitter, or his compassion for his constituents in his state, Governor Abbott has remained among the the most well liked Republicans in the country. He is well liked among his governorship peers, his state, and, most importantly, the citizens of Texas. In a poll done by Morning Consult in 2019, Abbott was the ninth most approved Governor in the U.S. as voted on by their constituents. This speaks dividends for a state like Texas, which is home to over 27 million people. Abbott has the experience, likability, and popularity to make a run at The White House if he chooses to do so.
2. Ben Shapiro
The wild card of this list needs no introduction.
One of the most polarizing yet popular media members of this decade is none other than the man who deemed the phrase that encapsulates the anti-PC movement: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”
Shapiro has used the counterculture attitude of modern conservatism to build a media empire for himself and for his media organization, The Daily Wire. Far and away the most controversial figure on this list, Shapiro has been pissing people off and gaining an onset followers for around a decade now, establishing himself as perhaps the most influential conservative figure not named Donald Trump. Whether it has been his protested campus speeches, his esteemed political writings, or his maverick attitude, Shapiro is one of the most recognizable conservatives in decades.
Would he want to run for the presidency?
Who knows. Shapiro has never held political office nor ran for it, lives in a democratically strong state of California, and was an avid vocal critic of President Trump during the 2016 election.
So what makes him a likely 2024 force? The Debates.
We all know how Trump made his meteoric rise to the top of the presidential primaries. Those that recall will know that at the time of the first presidential primary debates in 2015, Trump was hovering around 15-16%, the same as people like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. However, the moment(s) when Trump skyrocketed was when his renegade attitude began to show its dominance, and after one or two debates, he controlled the rest of the debate slate, polls, the primaries, and eventually, the general election too.
Am I saying Ben Shapiro is the next Donald Trump? Of course not. But if there are commonalities that the two share it is the ability to control a room, the ability to be media savvy, and the ability to know how to control the narrative when on a debate stage.
Shapiro is very different from Trump in style. He will control a debate stage by dominating discussions about philosophy and policy, while Trump would control the narrative of anti-PC, anti-Establishment, and speaking for those in what he deemed “the silent majority”. Shapiro will have the most unique opportunity of anyone on this list. He is an outsider. He can control a debate stage and rise.
1. Nikki Haley
No 2024 election discussion can been talked about without including the current dictionary definition of rising star in the GOP in former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador, Nikki Haley.
Perhaps the most recognized woman in the Republican Party right now, Haley has the experience that only perhaps rivals Mike Pence in terms of holding office. Haley has previously held a State Representative spot in her home state of South Carolina, was the 116th Governor of the state, and was President Donald Trump’s nominee and pick for the United Nations Ambassadorship that she held until late 2018.
Since leaving the ambassadorship, Haley has founded a advocacy group entitled “Stand For America”, which promotes conservative public policy, wrote a book entitled “With All Due Respect”, and has even had to shoot down rumors that she would replace Vice President Pence on the 2020 GOP Presidential Ticket.
Haley is a decorated and experienced civil servant, a Trumpian and establishment favorite, and an intelligent, stalwart conservative on top of all her other attributes.
One of Haley’s only weaknesses may be that.. she is the favorite. In the past ten or so years, there has only realistically been a couple favorites that have actually went on to win the nomination for their party. When Hillary Clinton was favored to win the Democratic nomination in 2008, Barack Obama came along. When people like Jeb Bush were favored to win the 2016 Republican nomination, Donald Trump put them out to pasture.
Could the same happen to Haley? Perhaps. But if Haley stays on the popularity wave she is currently riding, she may stroll straight into the nomination in 2024.
It may be far too early to be thinking about this as voters because we are about to exhaust ourselves with yet another polarizing election, but the time to look at what the Republican party options will look like in the post-Trump era is now.