Although former President Donald Trump has not yet secured the Republican presidential nomination for 2024, speculation has already shifted from his opponent to his running mate following his decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses this week and his expected victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday.
With 51 percent of the vote in Iowa, Trump secured a commanding victory that even The Associated Press was compelled to describe as “commanding.” This figure set a new record, surpassing the second-place finisher, Republican governor Ron DeSantis, by 30 points.
New Hampshire appears to be capable of producing comparable outcomes. Even though the current RealClearPolitics polling average gives Trump a 13.5 percent lead with 46.8 percent of the total vote, that does not tell the whole story.
By averaging the two polls conducted exclusively since the withdrawal of businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from the race, one can determine that Trump receives 52% of the vote, which is strikingly similar to the results he obtained in Iowa. Furthermore, this increases his lead to 15.5 percent, with his former ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, defeating DeSantis by 36.5 to 6.
Whom will Trump appoint as his running companion in July, barring any unforeseen circumstances that may occur between now and the Republican National Convention?
Republicans nationwide have begun to inquire about this matter. Although the answer remains uncertain, Trump has stated that his decision is already solidified, and Axios speculated late Thursday night that New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, Ohio Senator J.D. Vance, and Haley are the three most likely candidates.
The Western Journal reported on Thursday that the New York representative and former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon is the leading candidate for the position.
“Stefanik is at the top,” he told NBC News when asked about chatter among Trump allies that she would be his pick.
Stefanik was the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Trump for 2024 — a fact she likes to repeat publicly in interviews — and told NBC’s “Meet the Press” earlier this month that she’d be “honored to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration.”
Concerns continue to exist regarding Trump’s susceptibilities in the general election, according to Axios. The RealClearPolitics average of polls for the hypothetical (barely) matchup between Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden indicates that Trump has a 1.6-point advantage. This raises the question of to what extent Stefanik could assist with that.
While her gender may mitigate what some voters perceive as Trump’s more aggressive stance regarding the distaff gender, it is improbable that her presence would be sufficient to, for instance, sway New York’s 28 electoral votes. Although it is her state of residence, it has not voted Republican in a presidential election since 1984.
In light of this, Vance could potentially be the superior option. Ohio is more significant than its 18 electoral votes suggest; since 1976, the state has cast five Democratic presidential nominations and seven Republican ones.
In 2022, Vance decisively defeated Tim Ryan, the Democratic opponent, by more than 6 percentage points, indicating that his popularity in the state could aid Trump in 2024. Conversely, Ohio was a state that Trump won in both 2016 and 2020, so Vance’s assistance there might be inconsequential.
Haley is the true issue that divides voters. Haley would almost certainly increase the number of moderate voters who cast ballots for the Republicans in 2024; however, this may come at the expense of votes from Trump’s MAGA constituency.
“I would not only not vote for that ticket, I would advocate against it as strongly as I could,” Tucker Carlson told Tim Pool in a December interview.
It is improbable that the inclusion of Haley on the ticket would persuade a significant number of MAGA voters to support a third-party candidate against Trump, much less Biden; however, that number could remain at home on Election Day, thereby tipping the scales in favor of the incumbent.
Numerous other names, some of which are more likely to be mentioned as possibilities by Trump insiders than others, have been put forth by various outlets. Kari Lake, who is presently engaged in her own campaign for the Senate in Arizona, has been cited alongside Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
The three candidates currently enumerated by Axios are likely the most accurate approximation of what a “short list” might entail; however, no one knows for certain at this juncture of the process.
With the exception of Trump, nobody.