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Wake Up To Politics - July 6, 2022

Wake Up To Politics: Isn’t there anyone else in 2024?
Wake Up To Politics - July 6, 2022

by Gabe Fleisher

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Election Day 2022 is 125 days away. Election Day 2024 is 853 days away.

Isn’t there anyone else for 2024?

Let’s get this out of the way: Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the two major party presidential nominees in 2020, are favored to be the major party presidential nominees once again in 2024.

Few voters appear to be enthused by such a rematch. According to a Harvard/Harris poll out this week, 71% of the nation thinks Biden shouldn’t run again, while 61% say the same about Trump.

That shouldn’t be too surprising: at 76 and 79 years old, respectively, and both boasting approval ratings in the low-40s, Trump and Biden are the two oldest and least popular presidents in modern American history. And yet, in the same poll where large majorities said they’d rather the duo didn’t run again, Trump and Biden still led the pack in their respective party primaries.

But in just the past few days, both parties have shown some small signs of moving on.

Biden is facing a torrent of criticism from fellow Democrats, who are increasingly frustrated with his slow response to the end of Roe v. Wade and growing critical of a White House they view as aimlessly lacking the urgency of this political moment.

“Is Biden a Man Out of Time?” asked a recent headline from The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein, a favored pundit among left-of-center pols.

Meanwhile, top Republican donors and activists are wondering whether whether it’s time to push Trump overboard, as potential rivals are feeling emboldened by his vulnerabilities exposed in the recent January 6th testimony.

Don’t get me wrong: Trump and Biden are still the frontrunners in their parties. Biden enters 2024 with the significant structural advantages of an incumbent president. And Trump has risen from the ashes after many fleeting moments where it seemed the GOP was about to ditch him. (He’s also trying to be first out of the gate: he might announce as early as this month. So, no, it’s not too soon to talk about this.)

Donald Trump and Joe Biden could be headed for a rematch in 2024. (Elvert Barnes)

Still, the recent frustrations have given rise to rumblings about a new generation of politicians who could seize the mantle in 2024. It’s a question I hear a lot, in my inbox and in person: “Isn’t there anyone else?” There is, actually. So today, I want to offer a (very early) guide to some of the other possible candidates exploring 2024 runs, so you can at least pay attention when you see their names in the news over the next few months.

Here’s your who’s-who of who else might run (listed in no particular order, with a focus on pols who have made recent public moves towards running):

The Republicans

We’ll start with the GOP, since it’s the side of the aisle where there’s actually guaranteed to be a competitive primary.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 43 years old: The Republican Party’s new top culture warrior, DeSantis is favored by the GOP donor set and has been raking in huge sums ostensibly for his 2022 re-elect. Once a Trump acolyte, he now seems to be creeping away from the ex-president to prepare for a possible campaign (and has even bested him in a few straw polls).

Former Vice President Mike Pence, 63: After loyally serving as Trump’s VP for four years, and then breaking with him at the last moment, Pence is getting a second look from some amid the January 6th hearings, which have lionized him. But it’s not clear he’s been forgiven by the Trump voters he’d need to attract in 2024.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, 55: Youngkin’s upset gubernatorial win in a blue-leaning state last year immediately put him on the map of GOP rising stars. He’s meeting with donors about a possible run, trying to see if he can take his successful 2021 strategy (lean in on education, go light on Trumpism) national.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 58: He’s reportedly assured Trump privately that he wouldn’t run against him, while also telling others he could beat Trump in the Iowa caucuses. Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman, has made several visits to Iowa and the other early states and has been aggressively courting donors.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, 55: Her starring role in the January 6th committee hearing has vaulted her to the top of the crowded anti-Trump lane (as opposed to the Trumpism-without-Trump lane many of these others would occupy). But first she must win a heated primary in her home state next month.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 51: Most possible presidential contenders are coy about their ambitions, but not Cruz. He told an interviewer that he’d run again “in a heartbeat” in 2024, and noted that the runner-up from the party’s last competitive primary often wins the nomination the next time around. Hmm, I wonder who that could be?

Other names to watch: Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, 45; Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, 42; South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, 50; former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, 50; Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, 66; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 59; South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, 56; Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, 64.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is gearing up for a possible 2024 bid. (Gage Skidmore)

The Democrats

Keep in mind that most — if not all — of these candidates would not run against President Biden if he seeks a second term next cycle, as he says he will do. But also keep in mind that many top Democrats privately don’t want Biden to run again, and all of the below figures are eyeing possible campaigns in case he doesn’t.

Vice President Kamala Harris, 57: Biden’s second-in-command, she’s sure to run if he sits 2024 out and would enter with a sizable base of support, especially among the Black voters who have basically picked the past few Democratic nominees. But Harris’ vice presidency has been beset with missteps, and her approval rating is even lower than Biden’s, so she would certainly not clear the field.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, 40: The openly gay former small-town mayor shocked many as he picked up steam in the 2020 Democratic field, ultimately winning the Iowa caucuses but losing the nomination. His donors are already prodding him to run again in 2024, making an intra-administration fight with Harris likely.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, 54: After fending off a Republican recall attempt last year, Newsom has lately been trying to insert himself into the national conversation. He joined Truth Social, he’s advertising in Florida to poke DeSantis, and he’s pushing for the rest of his party to get more aggressive, too. But would he run against Harris, his fellow Californian?

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, 57: Another governor who’s trying to grab national attention. He made a highly publicized stop in New Hampshire, and some Democrats preferred his response to the Monday shooting in his state (“I’m furious”) to Biden’s. You’d think his $3.6 billion net worth would give him trouble on the left flank, but some more liberal online types are already in his corner.

California Rep. Ro Khanna, 45: Bernie Sanders wants you to remember that he might run if Biden doesn’t, but many of his allies are already looking for new blood. Some have landed on Khanna, the left-leaning Silicon Valley congressman who recently wrote a manifesto on “dignity in the digital age.”

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, 52: If he wins re-election this year and shows he can win once again in the key battleground of Georgia — not a small “if,” to be clear — the minister with MLK’s former pulpit will likely enter the 2024 conversation. Remember: every Black Democratic U.S. Senator in history has run for president, so don’t be surprised if Warnock joins the list.

Other names to watch: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, 50; Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, 47; Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, 51; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, 53; North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, 65; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, 62; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 80; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 73.

VP Kamala Harris would enter 2024 with a sizable base — but not a glide path to victory. (Lawrence Jackson / White House)

Join the conversation: Are there any other Democrats or Republicans you’re hoping run for president in 2024? Let me know and I might feature some of the interesting names in an upcoming newsletter.

More news to know

— The Georgia grand jury investigating former President Trump’s efforts to subvert the state’s 2020 vote is zeroing in on his inner circle. The grand jury issued subpoenas on Tuesday to Trump’s former personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

— A federal judge in California overturned a Trump-era move to weaken the Endangered Species Act on Tuesday. A win for environmental groups, the ruling paves the way for the Biden administration to restore protections for hundreds of endangered species.

— WNBA player Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since February. She penned a letter to President Biden this week appealing for his help. “I’m terrified I might be here forever,” she wrote. The White House says Biden has read the letter but Griner’s wife is criticizing his administration for its lack of action in response.

— UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have survived a no-confidence vote last month, but he continues to lose political support. Two of his top Cabinet ministers resigned on Tuesday, protesting his handling of sexual misconduct allegations against a top party member. Johnson is vowing to stay on as PM.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to face threats to his political survival. (Simon Dawson / No. 10 Downing Street)

What else caught my eye

Interesting reading from across the web.

FIRST PERSON: Lynn Sweet is a highly respected Washington journalist. But this piece isn’t about D.C. — it’s about her experience at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, first as an attendee and then as a reporter. “As people were fleeing the scene, I hustled toward it,” she writes, recounting the pools of “ruby red blood” and the scene “frozen in time” with chairs, backpacks, and other objects frightened families left behind. (Chicago Sun-Times)

INSIDE WASHINGTON: “CODEL” is the Beltway shorthand for a “congressional delegation,” a group of lawmakers who travel together abroad on official business. But the trips have also become a “secret weapon” for members of Congress to build bipartisan relationships outside of the domestic spotlight, leading to legislation such as the gun control deal. I love stories that give unique looks inside how Washington really works, and this is one of them. (Politico)

NEXT GEN: I’m also always intrigued by stories of young people getting involved in the political square. This is one such story — but from South Korea, where the age to run for office was recently lowered from 25 to 18. The new crop of young South Korean politicians have faced familiar barriers put up by an aging political leadership, with the added challenge of navigating cultural norms where social standing is dictated by one’s age. (New York Times)

Members of Congress listen to their tour guide during a “CODEL” to Israel. (James Lankford’s office)

What’s going on in Washington today

All times Eastern. Click on an event’s time to watch it.

— President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing (9:30 am) and then travel to Cleveland, Ohio (12:25 pm). After arriving (1:55 pm), he will deliver remarks (3:15 pm) at a local high school announcing the final rule implementing the American Rescue Plan’s Special Financial Assistance program, which will bolster multiemployer pension plans that cover millions of American workers.

Biden will then depart Cleveland (4:55 pm) and return to the White House (6:20 pm).

— Vice President Harris has no public events scheduled.

— The House and Senate are on recess for the week.

— The Supreme Court is out of session until October.

Before I go...

This story is pretty wild.

Mensa is the international organization for people who score in the top 2% on IQ tests. Their newest member? Isla McNabb of Crestwood, Kentucky... who’s 2½ years old.

Here’s more on the young genius, via the Washington Post.

That’s it for today. If you enjoy Wake Up To Politics, it’s always appreciated if you donate to support the newsletter or buy some merch. Or if you tell your friends and family to sign up at wakeuptopolitics.com.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email me: my inbox is always open.

Thanks for waking up to politics! Have a great day.

— Gabe