The Republican Race for Second Place

Dr. Munr Kazmir
5 min readDec 6, 2023

Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy: Can anyone beat a down-but-not-out Trump?

Ai Generated images dedicated to the public domain and free to use for any reason. Donald Trump, former president of the United States, Republican. (Photo: Ben Longstroth)

DeSantis and Newsom Offer a Glimpse at an Alternate 2024 With No Trump or Biden Running,” imagined Phillip Elliott for Time Magazine on November 30, 2023.

A debate between two rising stars in their respective political parties it may have been; an alternate glimpse of the 2024 presidential election it was not.

“The event was billed by some as a 2028 preview but it was more of a bizarro version of 2024 — one where neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden were running for a second term,” mused Elliott. “In that alternate reality, it turns out, we would all be arguing a lot more about the pandemic.”

Of course, all of that is fiction; both former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden are most certainly running for president in 2024.

While the Democratic Party coalesces, perhaps reluctantly, around President Joe Biden’s foregone reelection campaign, Republican Party primary candidates are still attempting to tear Trump from his precarious perch atop the 2024 Republican ticket.

Why Did That DeSantis-Newsom Debate Even Happen?” wondered Ed Kilgore for the New Yorker last Friday. Kilgore wasn’t the only one mystified by the event.

Gavin Newsom, Presidential Candidate?” wondered Douglas Schoen for the Messenger.

Since the debate, however, the DeSantis campaign has flagged further, beset by internal and external challenges.

DeSantis’ Campaign May Have Flunked Its Final Test After Newsom Debate,” was Jake Lahut’s take for the Daily Beast. “It was billed as the “Red State vs. Blue State Debate” by moderator Sean Hannity, but DeSantis was thoroughly trounced by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.”

Chair of DeSantis super PAC quits in latest blow to presidential campaign,” wrote Gram Slattery and Alexandra Ulmer for Reuters last week.

“The resignation of Adam Laxalt from the Never Back Down super PAC, first reported by The New York Times, comes just more than a week after the exit of the super PAC’s chief executive, Chris Jankowski, and as DeSantis struggles to hold onto his №2 standing in the Republican…