Vice President Manchin?
There was a lot of buzz last night that Trump is getting serious about jumping into the presidential race sooner than later... maybe imminently. That would end the 2024 presidential aspirations of all the potential candidates, from DeSantis, Noem and Abbott to Cruz, Cotton and Rick Scott... And it would probably keep Nikki Haley, Rand Paul and Chris Christie out as well. Left? Larry Hogan? Liz Cheney? Paul Ryan? Good luck with that. If Trump wants the nomination, it's his. And how could he not run? Trump vs Kamala Harris... what more could he possibly ask for?
As Jonathan Bernstein noted for Bloomberg News, though "early candidacy announcements are usually a sign of weakness... Trump’s situation is different. It’s at least possible that by jumping in definitively at this early stage, he could convince everyone else to stay out. The longer uncertainty persists, the more other politicians will be doing candidate-like things, which in turn could make one or more of them more likely to stay in and run a serious campaign. Even if Trump would be the likely winner, he’d rather have the nomination given to him than to have to fight for it, and an early announcement might do the trick."
Trump feels strong right now. His completely unqualified Supreme Court justices-- Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett-- just effectively ended Roe v Wade for red states... a promise made, a promise kept, as they say. And no Republican voters care that Pat Toomey (who?), a retiring backbench Senator from Pennsylvania, told a forum in Italy today that nominating Señor Trumpanzee would be "completely unacceptable... I think after what happened post-2020 election, I think the president’s behavior was completely unacceptable, so I don’t think he should be the nominee to lead the party in 2024... It is President Trump who departed from Republican orthodoxy and conservative orthodoxy in a variety of ways. I stuck to the conservative views that I’ve had for a long time, he had a different point of view on matters such as trade and sometimes immigration and other things." He voted to impeach Trump. He's like the right-wing mob hasn't hunted him down and lynched him yet.
With Manchin destroying both the Democratic Party and Biden's presidency, maybe Trump could run a bipartisan ticket with Manchin as VP (or just promise him some top Cabinet post he might be craving). If his OpEd, Why I Won’t Support Spending Another $3.5 Trillion in the Wall Street Journal late yesterday wasn't just a negotiating ploy, the Republicans are going to win back Congress in 2022 and set the stage for a Trump comeback two years later.
Jonathan Chait: "The danger is that this pause sets off a cycle of failure. Wealthy interests are only belatedly mobilizing against the bill now. As Republican lobbyist Liam Donovan notes, the Democrats’ best chance is to move as fast as possible. Delay creates the impression of dysfunction, making Biden and Congress less popular, in turn reducing the popularity of any bill they pass, in turn making Congress more reluctant to support it. Even if Manchin doesn’t want to destroy Biden’s presidency, he may do so by setting off a vortex of failure he loses the ability to escape. It is obviously important to take heed of public opinion. But the Biden program does this, combining highly popular tax hikes on the wealthy with highly popular tax credits and broad-based expansions of Medicare and Medicaid. The biggest risk to the bill’s public standing is Manchin and his allies, whose complaints are creating a narrative that the bill is unaffordable Big Government. Manchin himself is generating the public backlash he is warning against."
Best summary of what Manchin is really up to?