Saturday, August 24, 2019


The future of the Republican Party is neither of these people:
When top Republicans convened at the St. Regis resort in Aspen, Colo. last month for an exclusive donor retreat, several attendees said there was palpable tension in the room as the gathering’s two headliners prepared to speak: Vice President Mike Pence and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley.

... to some it seemed as if Pence and Haley, who spoke on back-to-back days, were vying for their attention. Some in the audience ... buzzed they were getting a sneak preview of a 2024 Republican primary....

At a time when Republicans are starting to contemplate what their party will look like after Donald Trump leaves office, a rivalry has developed between the two politicians who cut markedly different profiles — and signs of strain are bubbling to the surface.
Are Pence and Haley sizing each other up in anticipation of the 2024 presidential race? Was Haley's team responsible for the recent rumor that she might replace Pence on the 2020 GOP ticket? How hard will Haley work to help the GOP in the 2020 elections, and how hard is she working to help herself? These are the questions asked in this story (from Politico).

I've told you several times that I don't believe Haley can win the 2024 nomination. She's not of European descent. She was raised a Sikh. She's been a critic of Trump, and as this story notes, that criticism continues.
Earlier this month, Haley took a swipe at Trump after his criticism of Baltimore and its black congressman, Elijah Cummings. “This is so unnecessary,” she wrote on Twitter, adding the eyeroll emoji. White House counselor and former Pence pollster Kellyanne Conway then fired back: “THIS is so unnecessary. Trump-PENCE2020,” Conway wrote of Haley’s tweet.
But Pence won't be the 2024 nominee either. Recent reporting on President Trump's popularity with evangelicals makes clear what should have been obvious to everyone a long time ago: The Christian right isn't looking for a candidate who behaves like a Christian. The Christian right is looking for a candidate who pays lip service to Christianity while attacking the enemies of right-wing conservatism (and conservatism in general) as viciously and relentlessly as possible. Recall what Elizabeth Bruenig recently wrote in The Washington Post about a conversation she had with several evangelical Trump supporters in Texas:
... perhaps the most illuminating moment of the evening came when I asked whether any of them would be willing to vote for a more traditional evangelical challenger to Trump, should one hypothetically rise to oppose him in the primaries.

At first, there were murmurs about the possibility of Vice President Pence. But then Maria Ivy warned that Pence is soft compared with Trump, too decent and mannerly to take on the job. Bob Collins agreed: “The president is having to deal with a den of vipers,” he said. “I’m not sure Pence could do that.” “It’s spiritual warfare,” Dale Ivy added, emphasizing that Trump is the only man in the field who seems strong enough to confront it.
Given the choice between a brawler who doesn't talk about Jesus enough and a devout Christian who doesn't brawl enough, evangelical voters will choose the brawler every time.

You know my short list for 2024: Dan Crenshaw, Tom Cotton, Liz Cheney, Matt Gaetz, Donald Junior. (UPDATE: I should add Josh Hawley to this list.) That's not an exhaustive list -- the point is that the nominee won't be a break from Trumpism or a "healer." The Politico story tells us:
Haley’s forthcoming memoir, to be released in November, may offer a hint of her approach. While the book isn’t expected to take direct shots at the White House, its promotional materials describe her as “a leader who seeks to bring Americans together in divisive times.”
Forget it. That's precisely what the GOP base wants to avoid.

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