And They’re Off! (The Republicans Start Their Presidential Campaigns)

This past week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the state of Iowa, where we promised never to surrender to the “woke mob.” See, DeSantis makes first trip to Iowa ahead of 2024, vowing to defeat “woke mob” – CBS News He has yet to make an official announcement, but his visit makes his interest clear.

Meanwhile, former U. N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has already made her candidacy official, told an Iowa crowd that America needs to increase the Social Security retirement age. See, Nikki Haley says she wants to raise Social Security’s full retirement age — what you need to know about the FRA now (

Former President Donald Trump is due to visit Iowa early next week, with some indications that voters are keeping their options open. See, Iowa Republicans say they may look beyond Trump in 2024: “It’s an open field” (

Here’s the Spirited Reasoner’s take on those three campaigns.

The DeSantis campaign appears aimed at social issues, the red meat of the Republican right wing base. Unfortunately (for him), his supporters have been leading the campaign with slogans along the lines of “Make the U. S. more like Florida,” a sure fire losing catchphrase if there ever was one. His strength, on the other hand, appears to be his appeal to Trump supporters as something of a Trump clone without all the legal and political baggage. For Gov. DeSantis to become our nation’s next President, three things would have to happen: (1) he would have to defeat Donald Trump (and all other candidates) in the Republican primaries; (2) President Biden would have to commit one or more serious blunders (or suffer major healthcare problems); and (3) Donald Trump would have to forego a third-party candidacy à la Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party.

The Haley campaign appears focused on younger Republicans, those caring little about Social Security, Medicare, and other third-rail issues. Touching those third rails will, unfortunately for her, likely turn out to be politically disastrous. For her to become our nation’s next President, the campaigns of DeSantis, Trump, and Biden would all need to collapse, the odds of which are akin to those of hell freezing over. (But then again, those were the approximate odds of Donald Trump winning the Presidency in 2016.)

The Trump campaign remains focused on denying that he lost the 2020 campaign while also promising vengeance on his base’s enemies. (Take your pick of enemies and methods of punishment. I’m guessing the Spirited Reasoner would be in there somewhere.) Far too many local Republican politicians remained cowed by Trump’s method of bullying, so it remains unclear how much momentum he can maintain. He is also facing several criminal and civil lawsuits, including the possibility of dozens of lawsuits arising out of injuries to Capitol Police victims during the January 6, 2021 insurrection. One thing seems certain, however: he will not disappear gently from the scene. There remains time, but not much air in the room, for more Republican challengers. Meanwhile, we can expect to see lots of visits to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in the weeks and months ahead.  

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