OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
On the same day that Donald Trump’s biggest rival for the 2024 GOP presidential race officially declared his candidacy, a political forecaster with a reputation for being spot-on made a prediction about who the former president’s running mate will be if he wins the nomination.
Richard Hanania believes that Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who himself jumped into the race earlier this week, will ultimately wind up as Trump’s pick.
He believes that the selection of Scott, an African-American Republican who enjoys significant support among conservative circles, could be a strategic move of great significance.
“Trump is going to be the nominee, and I predict he picks Tim Scott as his running mate. Everyone loves an inoffensive black conservative, especially swing voters. Democrats will have to walk on eggshells in critiquing him. Trump-Scott ticket will be very tough to beat,” Hanania, president of the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, tweeted on Wednesday.
He added: “Many conservatives have a belief that ‘Democrats are omnipotent and can do whatever they want, they create their own reality and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.’ No, they sometimes get put in tough situations. Stop treating them like god.”
Trump, for his part, wished Scott luck after he declared his candidacy.
“Good luck to Senator Tim Scott in entering the Republican Presidential Primary Race,” he wrote on Truth Social. “It is rapidly loading up with lots of people, and Tim is a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally unelectable. I got Opportunity Zones done with Tim, a big deal that has been highly successful. Good luck Tim!”
Several previous reports, however, have noted that Trump is actually in favor of selecting a female running mate.
The latest to report on Trump’s rumored preferences was the site 1945, which said the former president is likely to “stun the world” with his 2024 VP pick and listed three women thought to be under consideration: Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Arizona Republican Kari Lake, and South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem.
On Lake, the report states: “Lake certainly looked ascendant last fall when she was competing for Arizona’s governorship. She enjoyed Trump’s endorsement, and she enjoyed favorable coverage in conservative media. It’s not hard to understand why. Lake is a unique creature, spewing the hard right rhetoric that MAGA Nation finds so endearing while doing so with the glitz and polish of a seasoned TV reporter. She was delivering Trump’s message – but she was doing so without the spray tan and the guttural accent and the lack of eloquence. Rather, Lake delivered Trump’s message all pretty-like.”
On Greene, the report said: “Trump loves her and she loves Trump. And impressively, MTG seems to be pivoting into a position of more mainstream acceptance with the GOP (as demonstrated through her support of Kevin McCarthy for speaker). The version of MTG that can appeal to both MAGA and the mainstream is a concerning premise, and someone that Trump has his eye on as a prospective running mate with appeal in the newly-in-play Georgia.”
And on Noem, the report speculates: “The governor of South Dakota is apparently on Trump’s shortlist. Noem said she would be shocked if Trump chose her and I think she means it; she is a long-shot pick. But she’s got a few of the things Trump guns for. One, Noem has been loyal to Trump, vowing to support the former president through the 2024 campaign. And Trump values loyalty above seemingly all else.”
Trump insiders spoke to the Daily Caller and said the 45th president is likely to pick a vice presidential candidate that is “loyal,” has “charisma,” and is “ideologically aligned” with him.
“No candidates have publicly announced their intent to be Trump’s VP, but the former president has indicated that ‘a lot of people’ are ‘auditioning’ behind the scenes,” the Daily Caller reported.