Trump’s VP Shortlist: Watch These Three Names Closely

Trump’s VP Shortlist: Watch These Three Names Closely

Former President Donald Trump hasn’t won the 2024 Republican presidential nomination yet, but with his decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses this week and another expected victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday, speculation has already moved on from whom the nominee will be to whom the nominee will choose as running mate.

In Iowa, Trump enjoyed what even The Associated Press was forced to label a “commanding win,” with 51 percent of the vote, a record-setting 30 points more than second-place finisher Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida.

New Hampshire seems to be prepared to deliver similar results. The current RealClearPolitics average of polling shows Trump with a 13.5 percent lead with 46.8 percent of the total vote, but even that isn’t the entire story.

If you average only the two polls conducted since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy dropped out of the race, Trump wins 52 percent of the vote — very similar to the results he saw in Iowa — and his lead increases to 15.5 percent, with his former ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, crushing DeSantis for second place, 36.5 to 6.

So who will Trump pick as his running mate, assuming no calamity befalls him between now and the Republican National Convention in July?

That’s the question Republicans all over the country have started asking, and while it’s really still anybody’s guess, Trump himself has said that his mind is already made up, and Axios suggested late Thursday night that the three most likely candidates are New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, and Haley.

As The Western Journal wrote on Thursday, former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, the representative from New York is the leading contender for the role.

“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.”

Axios noted that some “questions persist about Trump’s vulnerabilities in the general election,” — the RealClearPolitics average of polls for the still-hypothetical (barely) matchup between Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden gives Trump only a 1.6-point advantage — and that raises of the question of how much Stefanik would help with that.

As a woman, she might help to soften what some voters perceive as Trump’s rougher edges when it comes to the distaff gender, but it’s unlikely that she would be enough to, say, bring New York’s 28 electoral votes into play. It’s her home state, but it hasn’t gone Republican in a presidential election since 1984.

By that measure, Vance might be a better choice. Ohio brings 18 electoral votes to the table, and is more in play — since 1976, the state has voted for the Republican presidential ticket seven times, the Democratic five.

Vance soundly defeated Democratic opponent Tim Ryan by more than 6 points in 2022, suggesting a popularity in the state that could help Trump win it in 2024. On the other hand, Trump won Ohio in both 2016 and 2020, so Vance’s help there may not mean much.

The real question dividing voters is Haley. There is little question that Haley would bring more moderate voters to the polls for Republicans in 2024 — but perhaps at the cost of votes from Trump’s MAGA base.

“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 seems unlikely that putting Haley on the ticket would drive many MAGA voters to vote against Trump for a third-party candidate, much less for Biden — but it could cause enough of those voters to stay home on Election Day to swing things toward the incumbent.

A host of other names, some more likely to be at least mentioned as possibilities by Trump insiders than others, have been proposed by various outlets, including Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and even Kari Lake, who is currently involved in her own campaign for Senate in Arizona.

At this point, the three contenders listed by Axios are probably the best guess as to what a “short list” might look like, but the truth is that at this point in the process, no one knows for sure.

No one but Trump, anyway.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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