If anybody actually believes the two South Carolinians who are seeking the Republican nomination for president are actually running for president in 2024, we’ve got some swampland for you in Florida. That’s where the two leading candidates, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, live and manage to suck up most of the political oxygen of the nation.
What’s really happening now is positioning. Former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, who announced her 2024 campaign in Charleston in February, and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, who announced his campaign last month in North Charleston, are actually working now to be asked by the eventual GOP nominee to be a running mate.
If we had to make a wager, we’d bet Haley, who served as a United Nations ambassador under Trump, is hoping to be on the ticket with DeSantis. And Scott, who voted with Trump 97% of the time when he was president, is angling to be Trump’s veep choice. When Fox News personality Sean Hannity asked in February about policy differences with Trump, Scott said, “Probably not very many at all. I am so thankful that we had President Trump in office.”
Words of a true sycophant. So if he doesn’t have much differences with the leading candidate, why’s he running at all?
Beyond the bromance between Trump and Scott, a more important question is to wonder what qualifies him to be president? His legislative record is pretty thin. He’s out on the stump talking about faith and positive things, but not engaging on really tough issues. His self-touted “opportunity zones” for development are a tepid success, at best, because they seem to have helped the rich get richer more than helping provide the poor with huge opportunities.
Haley, no less ambitious or eager for the spotlight than Scott, has more of a policy leg to stand on. She did a pretty good job in the stuffy role of U.N. Ambassador under Trump and managed to leave the office early without Trump’s ire. She takes a lot of credit for calling as governor to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds, when, in fact, she shares the credit of getting it done with South Carolina business leaders as well as top Democrats and Republicans. She burned some of her credit, though, when she pandered in 2020 that America was not a racist country, which anybody with a kernel of common sense knows is not true. Racism still pervades the national psyche and drives Republican politics in ways that would make Richard Nixon smile from the grave.
So the 2024 campaign for Scott and Haley may be a little more about 2028 or 2032 if one is picked as a vice presidential running mate. Sometimes that works — Biden and Bush Sr. — and sometimes it doesn’t. Remember Al Gore, Dan Quayle and Walter Mondale?
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