Donald Trump looks like he is leaving the White House and his likely replacement will be the oldest president ever. Joe Biden will be 78 at his inauguration and everything points to him serving one term only.
The Democrats already have a successor in pole position, the likely next vice president, Kamala Harris.
This election recorded the most votes in US history; both candidates smashed the previously unbroken 70-million barrier. So the fires of division look set to keep smouldering until 2024.
Even if Trump has to leave Washington at the point of a cattle-prod, he won’t be silenced. But his refusal to accept the counts and his car-crash press conferences have cost him valuable political capital, so who will lead the Republican comeback? Despite his faults, he still seems to have got the most votes of any sitting president, meaning the GOP MAGA truck still has plenty of gas in the tank. So, who’ll be next to take the wheel?
The smart money is on Ivanka stepping in as The Anointed One.
There’s already a raft of Ivanka 2024 Facebook pages.
At the start of her father’s reign, she was prominent but realised that those who fly too close to the Sun get burnt.
Whereas Don Jr. and Eric are Icarus; they didn’t heed the warning.
However, her influence and networking didn’t wane.
Her husband Jared Kushner was a key player in the derided Israeli “peace deal,” so that legacy will flow in Ivanka’s direction.
And being a younger female will play well with those keen to see a shake-up of the White Old Man club.
Another who could have a similar effect is Nikki Haley. She was one of the few appointees who Trump didn’t bellow “you’re fired” at, and voluntarily stepped down from her role as US ambassador to the United Nations.
While there, she got involved in the North Korean crisis and commanded respect.
Optics also give her an edge; both her parents are Indian immigrants and her brother served in Desert Storm.
Her husband Michael is also in the forces and was deployed to Afghanistan, while she was governor of South Carolina.
But there are concerns that she’s an opportunist.
During the 2016 primaries, she took a jibe at Trump: “Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference.”
She supported Marco Rubio, before moving on to Ted Cruz before pledging allegiance to Trump by accepting his job offer.
Her backing of whichever horse is winning makes her The Skeleton Key.
Then there’s The Blushing Bride, the one who is waiting for a compliment but in faux-modesty theatrically replies: ‘Who? Me?’ That’s Larry Hogan, governor of Maryland. When asked on CNN if he was planning to make a run – he replied: “A lot of people are encouraging me to think about it, but I’m in the middle of a state of emergency, focused on the virus, the pandemic and our economic recovery. We have a long time to talk about this over the next four years.”
That translates as ‘Yes’.
Hogan is no fan of Trump and has slammed his claims of rigged ballots. For no clear reason, having an Irish link appears to give candidates traction. Ronald Reagan had it and Obama even unearthed that his great-great-great grandfather came from the Emerald Isle. In fact, 22 of 44 men to sit in the Oval Office have claimed some form of Irish Heritage. The likely next occupant even recently refused to speak to the BBC, commenting bluntly: “I’m Irish.”
Both Hogan’s parents have that lineage.
Another angle that plays well is Captain America, and suiting up for 2024 is Dan Crenshaw. He’s in the House of Representatives for Texas’s 2nd congressional district. But his superpower is being able to swear to defend his country with valour and understanding what being commander-in-chief is all about.
Crenshaw lost his right eye in Afghanistan on duty as a Navy SEAL, due to an improvised explosive device. He also had one of the most action-packed campaign ads ever, which saw him leaping out of a plane.
Another popular character we have is The Non-Politician. The one who imbibes from a potion that none of the others can, because they are qualified for the job. Trump obviously assumed this role in 2016 and the torch looks to be passing to Fox News motormouth Tucker Carlson. His last book ‘Ship of Fools’ castigated the ruling classes for ruining America. He’s got impeccable connections to media bosses, so wouldn’t struggle to convey his message. He also has a base that would be easy to mobilise – his show ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ is the most watched cable news program in America.
With age being one of Biden’s weakest points, there’s a growing phenomenon of The Fresh-Faced Hope. Ahead of 2024, that looks to be what Missouri’s Josh Hawley is aiming for. He’s the youngest US senator and is using his generational advantage to wade into the social media debate. While the older power-brokers are dumbfounded by TikTok, Hawley is working on a book, ‘The Tyranny of Big Tech’.
Talking about it, he said: “This is the fight to recover America’s populist democracy.”
Hawley also fits his role to the letter, as his official portrait casts doubt about whether he’s ever had to shave.
Of course, everything is always bigger and better in the USA.
And there’s always some oddball figure, who believes they could garner support – even though no one else does.
They’re The Basement Dweller in this game of political chess, and the current favourite is none other than Oscar-winner and Angelina Jolie’s dad, Jon Voight. He broke cover with a perplexing monologue, where he ranted: “‘My friends of all colours, races and religions, this is now our greatest fight since the civil war. The battle of righteousness versus Satan – yes, Satan because these leftists are evil, corrupt and they want to tear down this nation.”
As the situation is fluid, other runners could gain ground as things unfold. The extended cast includes middle of the road Mr. Average, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and The LiferJohn Kasich, who’s made two runs (2000 and 2016) but hasn’t admitted defeat yet – and someone else did that to great effect recently.
Let the games begin!
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