Thursday, November 09, 2023


I didn't watch last night's Republican debate and I don't see any point in parsing it now. I like the way Lawrence O'Donnell characterized it: “This is the debate for, you know, in case Trump chokes on a cheeseburger.” If Trump is alive and ambulatory next year, he'll be the Republican presidential nominee. We all know that.

But you might have thought that the debate was worth watching because Trump might choose one of the candidates on stage as his running mate. I'm calling it now: None of the candidates who debated last night will be on the ticket with Trump.

Obviously, Chris Christie won't. Even though he's been an utter failure as a Trump antagonist, he'll stick with the anti-Trump brand after he drops out of the race, which should be just after the New Hampshire or South Carolina primary. ABC will probably hire him back as an analyst, and he'll log a lot of screen time throughout the 2024 campaign (and Trump's trials). After that, Trump will either be president of the United States or a man possibly on the verge of prison (though the process of appealing any of his convictions will take a long time to play out). Why would Christie pass up easy work like this in order to abase himself in pursuit of a spot on a ticket with Trump, someone who clearly regards him as a pathetic loser?

Tim Scott might be hoping for a spot on the ticket, but I don't see it. We know Trump doesn't like or respect Black people, but I think there's another reason Scott won't make the cut: the girlfriend question. Scott's much-discussed but heretofore unseen girlfriend actually showed up at the debate last night, though I'm not sure that will quiet rumors about Scott's sexuality. Mike Pence was a sexual Puritan, but he had a wife, at least -- I think Trump either believes Scott is gay or thinks it's extremely weird that he's a never-married 58-year-old who promotes the idea of virginity until marriage (even if he claims he's not a virgin).

And while it's possible that Trump could mend fences with Nikki Haley (assuming she has no self-respect and is willing to kiss his ring after the primaries are over), his attacks on her (and the "Birdbrain" nickname he's given her) suggest that he's decided he doesn't need her.

Trump has been calling Haley "Birdbrain" since September; several weeks ago, he sent her a birdcage. It's hard to imagine that he'll turn around and say, "No, I was kidding -- she's really bright, and she'd make a great president if anything ever happens to me."

And I'll repeat what I've said before: Trump won't pick Ron DeSantis or Vivek Ramaswamy as his running mate because they're both aggressively ambitious. He'd be afraid that they might poison his food to get to the Oval Office (and he might be right). And at this point DeSantis is box-office poison -- no one will want to associate with him.

I'm betting on either South Dakota governor Kristi Noem or Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sanders in particular clearly wants it -- in the video clip above, Trump calls himself "your favorite president -- me," and here's Sanders endorsing him and calling him "everybody's favorite president":

If I were betting, I'd bet on her.

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