It’s wide open now
In what has to be one of the most ridiculous, darkly funny, completely insane, and yet somehow not at all surprising moments of 2022, John Bolton – a man hated by pretty much everyone out there on all sides – now says he’s looking at running for President in 2024. While Bolton has zero chance of competing, and likely knows he has zero chance, the mere fact that he’s talking about running is actually an indicator of something important.
When there’s a clear frontrunner or two heading into a presidential primary race, there’s not much room for anyone else. Also-rans and unpopular figures can try running, but the media won’t take them seriously, because there’s a frontrunner or two to cover. With no media attention there are no donors. So the also-ran candidates don’t tend to last very long before they have to drop out.
But in a race with no viable frontrunners, also-ran candidates can get in the game and stay in it for a very long time. Even if they’re polling at one or two percent, they can still point to the lack of a frontrunner as a reason why donors should keep their campaign alive. And if they can limp along all the way to Iowa (or whatever state ends up being first on the Republican side) before having to drop out, they can parlay that media attention into a lucrative book deal.
This is almost surely why John Bolton is running. He once sold out the American people by refusing to testify at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial because he had a book deal on the line. So why wouldn’t he be dishonestly chasing yet another lucrative book deal? Bolton is who he is. But the point is this: Bolton thinks the 2024 Republican field will be wide open enough that even he, one of the nation’s most unanimously disliked men, can stay in the race long enough to make it profitable.
John Bolton isn’t the only one who sees it that way. There have been recent media rumblings about everyone from Marco Rubio to Nikki Haley running in 2024. These are people who have no better chance of winning than Bolton does. But they all see a wide open field that’ll allow them to limp along for as long as they like.
This means that none of them see Donald Trump as being a part of the 2024 election cycle. Given that he’s on the verge of being indicted for crimes along the lines of espionage, this isn’t surprising. And given that Ron DeSantis is a self defeating arrogant idiot, they clearly don’t see him as a frontrunner either.
Trump and DeSantis only stand out as supposed frontrunners because the media keeps hyping them as such. But no one in Republican circles seems to be falling for the media’s hype. If Trump and DeSantis were set to dominate the 2024 Republican field, these also-ran candidates wouldn’t be wasting their time.
Simply put, in spite of the ratings-driven media hype about how Trump and DeSantis somehow both have it locked up, the 2024 Republican presidential primary is a wide open field. Meanwhile, in spite of the media’s ongoing attempts at inventing various hypothetical Democratic 2024 presidential campaigns, President Joe Biden is the overwhelming frontrunner on the Democratic side.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report