Judging from the early favorites to be the party’s next standard bearer and the ongoing effort to hunt down and expel Trump critics, Republicans might want to go ahead and schedule their 2024 nominating convention in Crazytown. Unless something changes dramatically, the GOP is lost to traditional figures like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for the foreseeable future, as allies of the defeated president consolidate their control over the party apparatus.

Aside from Trump himself, who may yet run again, it is two pugilistic red state governors and Trump loyalists who are garnering the most attention. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem came in first and second in the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll when Trump was excluded. And while that poll is not necessarily predictive — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) won it three straight years from 2013-2015 and collected one delegate in 2016 — there are many other indicators suggesting that someone with Trump’s politics and demeanor is likely to carry the day.

Noem is already headlining campaign-like events, and DeSantis is an early darling of donors. Both governors have gained strength and visibility through their public defiance of public health experts during the coronavirus pandemic, which tapped into widespread conservative mistrust of science and hostility to any kind of social solidarity.

Noem, who never imposed a mask mandate in her state, gleefully plunged forward with a 460,000-person gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts in August 2020 that predictably contributed to a nationwide surge. Despite its relative isolation, South Dakota has a top-10 per capita death rate among U.S. states. Noem’s Twitter page is a veritable showcase of the anti-woke hysteria that has burned through the GOP like history’s dumbest wildfire. She’s reminiscent of former Alaska …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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