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SELLERS: The Case to Replace Trump in 2024 (and the Crucial Role He Should Fill Instead)

The GOP cannot afford to have a divided front for the next two years, a critical time when it must focus on re-organizing and also on doing all it can to stop the damage of the Biden administration...

(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) A few weeks ago, as the Biden adminstration and its leftist media operatives did their best to turn the Nov. 8 midterm election into a mandate on former President Donald Trump, I came to the beleaguered ex-leader’s defense.

My rationale for backing him had less to do with Trump, himself, and more with the reaction he elicits—the irrational drive to undermine and vilify him and his supporters by any means necessary.

That, I noted, is nothing new. If it weren’t Trump, it would be the next in line, as was the case for Nixon, Ford and both Bushes.

Of Republican presidents spanning the last half century, only Reagan has succeeded in transcending the constant barrage of leftist attacks—and not for their lack of trying.

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But Tuesday’s surprisingly underwhelming election returns, paired with the spectacular overperformance of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have led Republicans to a bit of soul-searching, and at least opened the door to a case for untethering the conservative movement from its revered leader—as well as others who may have clung to the reins a bit too long.

If Democrats can successfully outmaneuver the GOP in a contest that should, for all intents and purposes, have been a historic rebuke of the Biden administration, then clearly something isn’t working.

And we cannot afford another six years of the sort of devastation that Biden Democrats have wrought in only two—even if it means throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Or at least putting his talents to good use elsewhere.

Trump’s defenders, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., remain steadfast and vocal.

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“I want to tell you how shortsighted and ridiculous that is,” Greene said Wednesday on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast.

“It is pathetic, the people that are running out saying it’s his fault,” she continued. “No, that is a lazy, pathetic, wimpy, easy mindset. They just want one thing and then they want to carry on without doing the hard work—the real changes in the Republican Party and the way we fight the fight.”

Yet, even those who remain true to the cause that Trump helped coalesce into a full-fledged movement may recognize that, after getting caught flat-footed in another election dominated by Democrat malfeasance, a sea change may be needed to make additional progress on the inroads that a Trump-led GOP has made with a new coalition of voters.

MORE HARM THAN GOOD

Having earlier argued that Trump’s polarizing nature is an asset, not a liability, I will put aside the basic fact that leftists and Establishment RINOs really do not seem to like him very much, and all the problems that creates.

Still, there are other reasons his candidacy could do more harm than good.

As great as Trump has been at building things in the material world, his political talent is tearing down existing structures with all the nuance and delicacy of a bull in a china shop.

And his latest target may be the GOP’s best hope for upending the cabalistic juggernaut that is the Left’s corrupt political machine: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Already, with Trump eyeing a Nov. 15 announcement that some suspect/fear will be a formal declaration of his candidacy, he has made several snipes at DeSantis, including a very troubling remark on the eve of the election.

“I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “I know more about him than anybody—other than, perhaps, his wife.”

The remark followed on the heels of Trump’s lackluster attempt to coin a new nickname for the governor—Ron DeSanctimonious—during a weekend rally in Pennsylvania.

It also followed a New York Times hit piece concerning DeSantis’s first job out of college, as a history teacher at a private school in northwest Georgia. In it, several former students, now in their late 30s, accused DeSantis, 44, of partying with underage teenagers at events where alcohol was present, and also forcing one to chug a large quantity of milk.

On Thursday, Trump appeared ready to go full nuclear, accusing DeSantis of disloyalty and being an “average” governor in a lengthy missive.

What is clear coming out of the midterms is that the GOP cannot afford to have a divided front for the next two years, a critical time when it must focus on re-organizing and also on doing all it can to stop the damage of the Biden administration.

Trump, of course, has his own set of liabilities that Democrats are likely to continue making hay of, including multiple investigations at the county, state and federal level. If he declares his candidacy, the Justice Department has signaled its intention to appoint a special counsel to continue the pending investigations.

Moreover, at 78 on Nov. 5, 2024, Trump’s age would raise the same concerns as Joe Biden’s. Thus, his candidacy would neutralize a GOP criticism about the current White House occupant and would open up, for Democrats, their own point of attack—particularly if they forcibly oust Biden from the ticket due to his age.

Then there is the matter of his many MAGA disciples.

Trump’s mixed track-record of 2022 endorsements should not necessarily be the basis for criticism among his fellow Republicans, since his barnstorming of battleground states continues to draw massive throngs of supporters.

Nonetheless, his successes in recruiting some particularly strong protégés, like Arizona gubernatorial phenom Kari Lake, may actually make the case that his once one-of-a-kind leadership is now redundant. The fighting spirit, on which he once held a monopoly, is now a prerequisite for many primary winners.

POLITICAL ‘MUSICAL CHAIRS’

The main argument in Trump’s favor is that much work remains to be done in weeding out the ineffective RINOs who have put preserving the Establishment ahead of the demands of their constituents.

But a restructuring of roles within the party could achieve this, playing to the strengths of each personality.

Here are some of the possibilities:

  • Rush Limbaugh for President
    PHOTO: Ben Sellers, Headline USA

    Donald Trump abandons his political ambitions and fills the role of kingmaker and MAGA lodestar left vacant by the late, great Rush Limbaugh. A political talkshow would be the perfect forum for the ex-pres to continue being heard and roiling the leftist establishment, while playing to his past experiences as a celebrity game-show host. In his heyday, Limbaugh might easily have waltzed into any public office he chose, but he knew his calling lay elsewhere, inspiring an entire generation of conservative leaders through the airwaves.

  • Ron DeSantis runs at the top of the ticket in 2024, offering the best qualities of Trumpism without the baggage, and succeeds in bringing with him a strong base of support among Hispanics, suburban women and other political mercenary groups. He also has the support of several key power-players, including podcast host Joe Rogan and Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who help to amplify his voice, fundraising ability and mainstream appeal. In the event that Biden attack-dogs try to prosecute Trump, DeSantis should be clear on one thing: that he will pardon the former president and all other political dissidents who were targeted by the current administration.
  • Kari Lake may be the top choice to split the ticket with DeSantis, particularly if she succeeds in her gubernatorial bid. Her executive experience, while limited, would be enough to anoint her as second in command, and it would be a symbolic concession to Trump backers. Lake also has the sort of Type-A charisma that the laid-back DeSantis tends to lack and could assist with his communications strategies—a job that future White House press secretary Christina Pushaw has fielded the lion’s share of thus far. Moreover, she could help draw some of the media fire from the frontrunner and capably function in the veep’s most important role: insurance policy.
  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, despite having thrown his support to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., should be the next House speaker. He is, by nature, an attack dog whose relentless efforts match the vicious, ruthless determination of current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., but for good instead of evil.
  • Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., should replace Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate. He has the sort of policy wonkiness needed for long-game strategizing, which was a rare strong-suit of McConnell’s, but is less ethically compromised and more loyal to the best interests of the party. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who has stepped forward as the likliest contender, is known to be a bit eccentric and suffered a hit to his political capital over his recent budgetary plan, which critics claimed would cut social security.
  • Mike Pence should abandon his pursuit of the nomination, which was a longshot even before his rift with Trump because of his low-key demeanor, and instead seek to become the new chair of the Republican National Committee, while current chair Ronna Romney McDaniel could focus on being the campaign manager for her uncle Mitt’s uphill re-election effort in the 2024 cycle.

I could go on to delve into the weeds of committee chairs and Cabinet posts (Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, for Supreme Court justice, perhaps?), but suffice it to say, one important step for the future of the Republican Party is to emphasize diversity, which has long been one of its greatest vulnerabilities.

  • I would love to see North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (a former school teacher) as Education secretary and Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears(a retired Marine and legal immigrant) as Homeland Security secretary—assuming, of course, that neither has bigger plans in mind at the state level.
  • Two of DeSantis’s potential female campaign rivals also would fit logically into Cabinet posts: former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley as secretary of State; and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem as secretary of Agriculture or the Interior, both of which areas where she has particular expertise.
  • Lastly, former HUD Secretary Ben Carson should return as secretary of Health and Human Services, given his background as one of the world’s pre-eminent brain surgeons. My dream lineup would also include economist Thomas Sowell heading the Treasury Department, but at 94 on Election Day 2024, he may not be a viable choice.

Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at truthsocial.com/@bensellers.

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