Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) appeared on CNN This Morning yesterday and shared some news: He is exploring a possible presidential bid in 2024.
It's still 2 years to the election, Hutchinson hasn't even decided yet, and even if he does toss his hat into the ring, he doesn't have much of a national profile. So why are we writing about this? Is it because semi-low-profile Arkansas governors have sometimes, in the past, surprised everyone and won the White House?
No, no it's not. It's been 30 years since Bill Clinton shocked the world, and the Arkansas governors who have launched presidential bids since then have been disasters. That list is led by Mike Huckabee, who has about as much chance of getting elected as we do. We're definitely not going to give serious attention to every Tom, Dick and Asa who says they might maybe just possibly be running for president, Arkansans or not. Trial balloons are not really newsworthy.
The reason we mention this is that Hutchinson has held Trump at arm's length through the entire MAGA era (MAGAllennium? MAGAeon? MAGAge? MAGAmare?). Although he responded with gobbeldygook when asked if he's aiming for the Never Trump lane, that is exactly what he's pondering. There are only a few credible candidates who might run in that lane, meaning that all of those who might pull it off have to think long and hard about the possibility.
And that leads us to the main point here. Recall that most Republican primaries are, in contrast to Democratic primaries, winner-take-all. If Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) jumps in, he's not likely to bow out until he's the nominee or he's mathematically eliminated. Donald Trump has already jumped in, and if he's not nominated, he might stay in even after he's mathematically eliminated. So, imagine a world in which the Trumpy majority of the Republican Party, which appears to be about 60% the Party's voters, splits fairly evenly for Trump and DeSantis. That's about 30% each, with 40% of the vote remaining. If that remaining 40% can coalesce around one candidate, whether that be Hutchinson, or Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), or Gov. Charlie Baker (R-MA) or someone else, then they might be able to wrest the Republican nomination away from the Trump faction.
It's a long time until the primaries, and a lot of things have to break in the right way for this to happen, but this is the likeliest way for the non-Trumpy Republicans to regain control of the Party in relatively short order. So, it's worth keeping in mind. (Z)