TURES COLUMN: Where the GOP should look for new leadership

Published 10:30 am Saturday, October 23, 2021

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The best thing that could happen to Republicans would be the presence of a new nominee at the top of the ticket in 2024, as the GOP moves on from the past. Republicans are likely to find new competent leadership from their strong pool of GOP Governors, just not the ones that typically make the headlines.

We’ve been treated to a steady drumbeat of liberal and conservative pundits insisting that Trump will be the nominee, or should be the nominee. But when you ask the voters, or even Republican officials themselves, they’re already casting their nets around for new leaders.

Perhaps that’s why media personalities and bloggers were stunned to see that a GOP poll of Republican voters found “Republican support for former President Donald Trump has quickly declined, leaving him in a virtual tie with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, according to a new polls of 2024 GOP presidential candidates.” 

Once the choice of 46% of GOP voters, Trump’s fallen to barely one in four backing him.  Moreover, the same Republican poll finds that nearly 60% of the GOP agree with the statement “to move forward, we need new leaders and fresh faces,” according to Newsweek.

Florida Governor DeSantis may be new to presidential races, but he’s been in the national spotlight since his surprise primary win in 2018. But he may not be the best choice.

Research by the Los Angeles Times shows that just this summer alone, Florida had 70 deaths per 100,000 residents this summer, while California only had 12 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Moreover, Florida had 10,000 more deaths than California, despite being about half the population size. 

And California’s economy outperformed Florida’s, according to a study by UCLA economists using Oxford University data on NPIs.

Mike Pence, Chris Christie and Nikki Haley were also in the surveys, but those were the choices given which prompted the majority to look for someone else. I’ve interviewed Haley and she made a great speaker, but can’t seem to decide if she’s independent of Trump, or an ally of his, something plaguing Pence and Christie as well.

Republicans should take advantage of their deep bench in governor’s mansions when looking for a candidate competent enough with executive experience and understands politics well enough to do the job, finding those who can balance public health with economic growth.

Among the examples the GOP should consider include Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, as well as New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and Vermont Governor Phil Scott. Each has shown the ability to balance COVID-19 restrictions and keep economic growth. By winning in blue states, each has shown an ability to expand the Republican Party base, while other members seem intent on shrinking the Republican Party base with insults and wild claims.

And if a red state GOP Governor is needed, then Republicans should consider at Wyoming’s Mark Gordon, North Dakota’s Doug Burgum, Ohio’s Mike DeWine, and Indiana’s Eric Holcomb. 

With Trump’s legal woes and declining public support, even among Republicans, it’s time for the party to think of its future. And there’s evidence that party leadership should not be at the whim of one man, one who finished second in the popular vote in 2016 and 2020, and cost the party the House of Representatives in 2018 and the Senate in 2020.