Wednesday, November 29, 2023


First, this happened:
An influential super PAC backed by the Koch brothers announced it is endorsing Nikki Haley in the 2024 presidential primary....

In a memo released on Tuesday morning, Americans for Prosperity Action said it planned to commit its extensive grassroots organization to helping Haley, and it will launch mail and television advertising campaigns to boost their on-the-ground efforts. Over the summer, the group announced it would plug up to $70 million into political races this year. It is the first time the group has weighed in during a presidential primary.
And now we have this:
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in an interview Wednesday that he would advise former President Trump pick 2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley as his running mate.

During the New York Times’s DealBook Summit, Andrew Ross Sorkin asked McCarthy who the “right person” would be for Trump to pick as his vice president among Haley, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), and 2024 GOP presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.)....

“Now if I was picking for purely political decisions, what it looks like today is the anti-Trump vote is going to Nikki Haley,” [McCarthy said]....

McCarthy said that is why he would select the person who could convince those voters to support the Trump ticket, saying, “if that person is with you, maybe they’d be with you too.”
I don't think the Koch endorsement will do any good -- Haley is far behind Trump in the polls, even in Iowa, New Hampshire, and her home state of South Carolina. Ron DeSantis won't drop out before Iowa. Chris Christie won't drop out before New Hampshire. The anti-Trump vote will continue to be split, and it's not that large to begin with. So Haley can't win the nomination. I know that Koch and his allies are rich businessmen who find it inconceivable that the world might not give them exactly they want every time they want something, but if they want Trump to lose this nomination, they've probably blown it.

Yet perhaps the Koch endorsement is just part of the plan. McCarthy might be sending a GOP establishment signal to Haley that she really should consider accepting the #2 slot from the man who now calls her "Birdbrain" -- and to Trump that he can improve his chances of winning if he picks her. (Sad to say, that's probably true. Haley is becoming a new Liz Cheney -- a bog-standard Republican who's respected and even admired by some Democratic voters.)

I'm sure the Kochites sincerely believe that their candidate might upset Trump in the primaries. But as a Plan B, they may be hoping to elect a safe, biddable GOP vice president, in the hope that she'll take over if Trump's felony cases lead to a conviction.

We assume that a reelected Trump will quickly put together a Justice Department that will dismiss all the federal charges he faces, and maybe even declare that he can't be tried or convicted on state charges as long as he's president. But what if this is taken to court and the Republicans on the federal bench -- all the way up to the Supreme Court -- rule that he can't clear his name that way, precisely because they and their billionaire patrons would vastly prefer a President Haley to a President Trump? In other words, what if the plan is to put her in place and let the Supreme Court depose him in favor of her?

Trump is a stupid man, but I think he's an idiot savant in matters like this. I think he'll pick someone like Kristi Noem as his running mate because she doesn't seem as ambitious as Haley (or Ron DeSantis, or Vivek Ramaswamy) -- and also because he might actually recognize that the GOP establishment trusts Haley and would be happy to see him go if she's the VP. Maybe he'd even run with Marjorie Taylor Greene, recognizing that no Kochite wants her as president.

I don't know how this will play out. We'll see.

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