Two weeks ago in this space, I asked readers to help find some new faces to lead the presidential tickets in the 2024 election. “We need a fresh start,” I wrote. I expressed concern that a couple of elderly guys, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, are the current front-runners for 2024. I suggested that the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties find candidates who are focused on the future, rather than deciding whether they should buy green bananas.
As expected, your responses covered the entire political spectrum. And, not everyone believes that Biden and Trump are past their prime.
For example, Midge Kennedy wrote, “I think Trump will run again. Biden will not because of his age and mental capacity, and for all the issues that have arisen in the first seven months of his presidency.” She continued, “Someone, relatively unheard of, will come out of the shadows for the Democrats, much like Obama did, and will be the phoenix rising out of the ashes created by Biden.”
Thomas Jones provides a different view. He writes, “We who will vote for Biden in 2024 are not one bit concerned about his shortcomings, we just don’t like Trump one bit!”
An anonymous reader is squarely behind Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. “She’s the only one who tells the truth. She will allow real patriots to take our country back!”
Another Georgia politician is the choice of Lara Burton. She writes, “We need a strong leader who has the wisdom to look to the future and make decisions which are good for all people. A uniting force, not a dividing one. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (age 46) is leaving office to try to restore bipartisanship to the search for solutions to the problems facing America. Check this guy out!”
DeLane Haren is hoping Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn decides to run. She writes, “She is intelligent, compassionate, determined, unafraid and patriotic. She would try her best to unify the nation. However, she would not sacrifice her personal integrity or beliefs to get that done.”
An anonymous reader has a dream ballot with both a Democrat and a Republican in mind: “My wife would like to see a 2024 contest between Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican Liz Cheney. She thinks the men have messed things up long enough!”
Also anonymously, a reader has two prominent Democrats in mind: former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The person writes, “McAuliffe is somewhat of an unknown, but he has qualities that appeal to me in a leader: experience, empathy and a sense of what matters to most people. Buttigieg is a caring, educated man who thinks quickly on his feet.”
Most of the respondents favored Republicans, some of whom would be counted on to be a “stand-in” for Trump, should he decide not to run. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was the most popular choice, with Barbara Snow commenting, “I would vote for him in a New York minute. He has done an excellent job as governor of Florida.” Lynn Wilks added, “I really like Gov. DeSantis with Nikki Haley as his running mate!”
Ginny Nickoloff supports former Vice President Mike Pence. “He had good experience under Trump and saw how Trump dealt with our allies as well as enemy countries.” Jack Green likes Pence for a different reason: “He’s a Christian man who acted honorably during the Capitol riots by doing his duty.” Green also likes Texas Governor Greg Abbott and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
Honorable mention choices included former Ohio Governor John Kasich, Trump cabinet member Dr. Ben Carson, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
As for dark horse candidates, one anonymous writer threw my Braves cap into the ring: “David, I would vote for you. You already have years of experience reading from a Teleprompter. The presidential retreat in Maryland is named for you. Plus, the job comes with free government housing! But before I endorse you, I must ask. Have you ever said anything controversial about some hot topic? Have you kissed someone or something inappropriately? Have you ever told an insensitive joke?”
Gee, Mr. Anonymous, lighten up on me! After all, we’re only talking about the job of the President of the United States. It’s not like I’m in the running for something big, like the host of “Jeopardy.”
Judging from the division that promises to engulf the 2022 midterm elections, and the turmoil that will surely result, there is only one promise I can make about the likelihood of more negativity in the 2024 presidential campaign: Buckle up. Like the great rock star Randy Bachman so famously sang, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”