Donald Trump (76) – 54.3 percent in polls
At the moment, the former president has by far the best cards to face Joe Biden in 2024. More than half of Republicans want to nominate Trump again, according to the American site FiveThirtyEight based on multiple national polls. Ron DeSantis follows at a great distance, with about 20 percent. The rest does not exceed a few percent. Support for Trump has also shown an upward trend over the past few months.
The main uncertainty is the course of the many lawsuits against him, including the preservation of confidential government documents in his mansion and his role in the storming of the Capitol. When he was arrested and charged in early April on the porn star Stormy Daniels hush money case, Republicans only seemed more united behind their former president.
About the author
Niels Waarlo is general reporter of de Volkskrant. He previously worked in the science editorial office and wrote about tech.
Ron DeSantis (44) – 20.6 percent in the polls
The star of the current governor of Florida began to rise when he began to imitate Trump, both in facial expressions and positions. For a while, it even looked like he could surpass his role model when he was overwhelmingly re-elected as governor in last year’s midterm elections, while most Trump-backed candidates fell. He was unable to maintain this momentum.
DeSantis presents himself as a less impulsive, more intelligent version of Trump. One of his spearheads is a crusade against everything that he considers ‘woke’: a collective name for progressive ideals that often relate to LGBT rights and tackling racism. “Florida is where woke will die,” he said in a speech early this year.
He put his money where his mouth was by implementing some controversial laws and measures. After Disney spoke out against a ban on orientation and gender classes in primary schools, DeSantis increased the company’s taxes, among other things. The question is whether this quarrel, which DeSantis is running high, will turn out positively for him. America’s far right applauds the governor, but big donors are publicly scratching their heads: many Republicans are looking for a candidate who stands up for big companies.
Mike Pence (63) – 5.3 percent in the polls
The vice president under Trump has not yet officially declared his candidacy, but the American media expects that to be a matter of time. “We get a huge amount of encouragement,” he said about it himself last month NBC News.
The arch-conservative Pence is especially fond of the Christian-conservative part of his party – the reason Trump once designated him as his running mate. Prior to that, he was governor of Indiana. He is in favor of strict migration policies and sex education aimed at discouraging premarital sex, and against abortion and the expansion of LGBTI rights.
Relations with Trump have been troubled by the Capitol storming of January 6, 2021. Pence was present in the Capitol that day, where as vice president he had a ceremonial task in ratifying the election results. The Trump supporters who stormed the building in an attempt to block this ratification took, among other things, a rope and called for Pence to be hanged. The Vice President had to be rushed to safety.
Afterwards, Pence devoted few words to the event. He also refused to cooperate with a House of Representatives inquiry. Last March, however, he lashed out at his former companion. “His reckless words endangered my family, and everyone who was in the Capitol that day. I know history will hold Donald Trump responsible,” he said.
Nikki Haley (51) – 4.2 percent in the polls
The former UN ambassador came forward as Trump’s first opponent in February. She would be the first female presidential nominee in the history of the Republican party if she managed to cash in on the nomination.
Haley holds culturally conservative views – she opposes abortion and the expansion of LGBTI rights – but does not belong to the radical wing of the party. This became apparent, for example, in 2015, when she, as governor of South Carolina, decided to remove the “Confederate flag” from the state’s parliament building. This flag, used by the southern states during the American Civil War, is associated with racism and slavery, but is loved by many Republicans.
Her relationship with Trump, who appointed her as ambassador to the UN, is diffuse. For example, after the Capitol storming, she said that Trump had “lost any kind of political viability,” but when the party continued to support him, she expressed her support for him a few months later. She also said she would not challenge Trump as a candidate, a promise she did not keep.
Vivek Ramaswamy (37) – 3.5 percent in the polls
“I’m in the race to push the America First agenda further than Trump ever has.” Ambition and confidence cannot be denied to the eloquent Vivek Ramaswamy, who said this in a speech. The immensely wealthy founder of a pharmaceutical company is a political newcomer and is seen as an outsider.
One of his most notable statements is that a president could push his will much harder than Trump has tried. Ramaswamy, on his first day as president, claims to abolish the Ministry of Education as part of his desire to drastically downsize the government. He also expects that investing in more fossil fuels will lead to so much economic growth that the consequences of climate change will be easy to absorb.
Tim Scott (57) – 1.6 percent in the polls
The only black Republican in the Senate says he has dreamed of becoming president since childhood. He mainly distinguishes himself from Trump and DeSantis by his cheerful tone: according to Scott, Americans are not waiting for rancor, but they are looking for a positive story.
His version of that story is rooted in typical Republican conservatism: the religious Scott is anti-abortion, pro-tax cut and anti-gun control. In his own words, he went to a local South Carolina branch of the Democrats in the 1990s, where he was told to “get in line.” He then decided to join the Republicans.
He prefers to avoid discussions about racism within his party. He says he has encountered “the pain of discrimination” but does not see tackling racism in the US as a top priority, pointing to his own success.
He did, however, publicly distance himself from Trump in 2017 when he spoke of violence “on both sides” after a far-right, racist nationalist in Virginia drove into a crowd of progressive protesters, killing one and injuring dozens. According to Scott, the president had lost “his moral authority.”
Tags: Ron DeSantis competitor Trump Republican presidential candidates-