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  • Eliot Fuller

Ranking Trump's Potential VP Picks

According to most polls, Donald Trump enters the 2024 election cycle with a slight lead over Joe Biden. Nonetheless, the former president still struggles with independents and the moderate wing of his party, meaning his pick for Vice President could be pivotal in November. This is expected to be a close election, and minor things could swing the pendulum in favor of one candidate or the other. Let’s quickly rank some of Trump’s VP candidates from worst to best in a purely strategic sense. 


5) Vivek Ramaswamy has become a rising star on the right, but he appeals to the same type of voters that Trump’s already secured, meaning he couldn’t bring anything special to the Republican ticket. As stated earlier, Trump needs to win over the moderate wing of his party, and he won’t do so by choosing a VP who pedals conspiracy theories and focuses more on the “deep state” than conservative values or policy proposals.   


4) Kristi Noem is a better option than Ramaswamy, but her name recognition could be a liability. Despite getting some attention from right-wing media, Noem isn’t very well-known outside of that bubble. She’s the governor of South Dakota and is quite popular there, but Trump already has South Dakota locked up– she wouldn't bring anything special to his ticket. 


3) Elise Stefanik is a solid option for Trump because she’s young and relatively popular amongst different factions of the GOP. She started her career as a moderate who wasn’t afraid of bipartisanship, and while she’s moved substantially to the right in recent years, some still remember her as someone who hadn’t totally bent the knee to Trump. She can try to balance different parts of the Republican electorate to bring in more support– something Trump alone can’t do now.   


2) Tim Scott is relatively well-liked amongst the GOP, and he’s one of the few in his party who can get along with MAGA and non-MAGA folks. He has a more optimistic demeanor than Trump, which could balance out the optics of their ticket. Additionally, as a black man, Trump can point to his support when critics accuse him of racism, which doesn't exempt him from it whatsoever, but it is a Trump move to use the identity of his peers in his favor.


1) Nikki Haley isn’t very well-liked by Trump’s base, and her growing feud with the former president– whom she’s currently competing against for the GOP nomination– indicates she wouldn’t be welcomed on a Trump ticket. Nonetheless, it makes perfect sense to choose her because she’d bring in moderate voters and reassure Trump skeptics within the party that it’s ok to vote for him in November. Haley is an electable candidate, and poll after poll shows her beating President Biden in a hypothetical general election matchup. Electability is precisely what Trump needs to balance out his ticket.    

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