"A Civics Lesson" - John Samuel Tieman

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Axar.az presents and article "A Civics Lesson" by John Samuel Tieman.

The 2024 presidential election season is upon us. Especially for my readers overseas, I've prepared this guide. This list of candidates, and potential candidates, gives you a broad picture, though time and space don't permit much depth.

As I write, there are only two declared candidates, Donald Trump and Nikki Haley. That will soon change. There is a lot of time between now and November of 2024. Primaries begin a year from now. The candidates are gathering.

There are three major routes to the presidency. The vice presidency is obvious. Of the 46 people who have become president, 15 were former vice presidents. Another route, the senate, provides that candidate with national exposure. Then there's the governor's mansion. Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt, all were governors before they became presidents. Indeed, 17 presidents were former governors. Some presidents have come out of business, the military, and the U. S. House Of Representatives. But these other routes are rare.

First, the Democrats. Joe Biden is assured of renomination. Unemployment is low. The administration's support for The Ukraine is popular. There have been steps toward gun control. Climate change goals include cutting our emissions in half by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Biden signed a $1.7 trillion spending bill that includes, among other things, money for medical research, safety, veterans' health care, disaster recovery, and funding for the Violence Against Women Act. The administration avoided a government shutdown. There is much more. Taken as a whole, this administration has passed the most sweeping legislation since Roosevelt's New Deal.

Now, the Republicans. Donald Trump has never really stopped running since 2020. But his path back into the White House is far from certain. He lost the popular vote for his first election by 3,000,000 votes, although he won by garnering enough votes in the Electoral College. In his second run, he lost by 7,000,000 votes. He is still very popular among Republicans. His support hovers at 30 - 35% of all Americans. Whether he can widen that base is questionable.

The rest of the Republicans can be divided into two lanes. In one lane are the normal Republicans. “Normies” some call them. We'll get back to this. The other lane is the Trump lane. But what happens if Trump fails? What if he gets sick or goes to jail? The first litmus test for membership in the Trump lane is a simple question. Does the candidate believe – or at least publicly espouse – that the 2020 election was stolen through massive fraud perpetrated by Democrats, Blacks, socialists, immigrants, criminals, and international spies? The other requirement is that the candidate be a culture warrior.

Enter Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Aside from Trump himself, DeSantis is the leading candidate in the Trump lane. A former U. S. Representative, the Florida governor won his recent reelection by an impressive 19.6%. DeSantis is every bit the culture warrior that Trump is. What's his advantage? He is younger, shrewder, and a competent executive.

Mike Pence was Donald Trump's vice president. He is a former governor from Indiana, a culture warrior, a devout Evangelical Christian. He is putting distance between himself and his former boss. He believes the G. O. P. will move on from Trump. Whether the party does move on from Trump, this remains to be seen.

Senator Ted Cruz ran for president in 2016. He has not ruled out another bid. He is very popular among the culture warriors. He is a formidable candidate. However, in 2024 he is up for reelection, and may prefer to retain his Texas senate seat.

In the other lane are the “normies”, normal Republicans more in the mold of Ronald Reagan than Donald Trump. They hold to time-honored conservative values – individual liberty, small government, cultural traditions, governmental norms, respect for the free market, law and order, peace through strength, and fiscal responsibility, among other things.

Nikki Haley has a great resume. She was a state legislator, governor of South Carolina, and U. N. Ambassador under Pres. Trump. She avoided the scandals of the Trump years. To gain the nomination, she will have to garner some Trump votes. That will be difficult. Why? She's not white. Her parents are from The Punjab. Her birth name is Nimarata Nikki Randhawa. Although a Methodist today, she still honors her Sikh heritage. She is best known nationally for signing a bill, while she was governor, to remove the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds. None of this plays well with the Trump base.

Tim Scott is a senator from South Carolina. He is, perhaps, the rarest of politicians, a Black Republican. His positions are mainstream – repeal Obamacare, lower taxes, pro-life, immigration restrictions, English as the official language. However, he faces the same problems faced by Nikki Haley. He's not white. How he would carry any part of the Trump wing of the party is anyone's guess. Fun fact: Tim Scott and Nikki Haley would never run on the same ticket. Article II of the Constitution makes it difficult, though not impossible, for a party's presidential and vice presidential candidates to be from the same state.

There are other Republicans to watch. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin won reelection by focusing on parental power in education, an interesting strategy. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is a culture warrior to be feared. Chris Sununum, governor of New Hampshire, comes from a revered political dynasty. Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota is a regular at conservative gatherings. Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently told FOX News that he is giving “very serious consideration” to a run for president. New Jersey's Chris Christie, a former governor and 2016 candidate, is a vocal opponent of Donald Trump. Asa Hutchinson, former governor of Arkansas, said he would decide in “probably April”. A favorite of many, Liz Cheney, the former Wyoming congresswoman, emerged as the foremost G. O. P. critic of Donald Trump's insurrection attempt.

2023.03.27 / 10:13
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