The 2024 presidential campaign will kickoff the day after the midterms. Now, anyone who reads this column on a regular basis knows I hold no brief for the 45th president. But fair is fair and just because I don’t like something does not make it less of a reality. Thus right now, Trump is the smart money for 2024. Even Romney has said so as of late.

Yes, 2024 is a long way away in a game where a day can be an eternity. And Trump has legal hurdles to overcome and still has massive baggage. But to best him you need a viable opposing candidate and I don’t see one in the primaries or the general. Let’s look at the primary players.

Nikki Haley- Could be the amongst the strongest candidate who just might run if Trump stumbles. DeSantis would be the strongest, but Trump would have to completely screw the pooch to bring DeSantis in. Former governor and UN ambassador Haley may gamble and run anyway. Her gender and image would help, though some conservatives think she’s a squish. But given Trump primary voters were and will be fanatically loyal and Haley is not very scintillating, I just can’t see a big enough fire building for her in the primaries. 40 percent and several primary wins, tops. Enough to get her a prime time speaking slot at the convention.

Governor Larry Hogan- Here in Annapolis, Maryland, the state capital and home of Hogan, it’s an open secret he wants to run. He’s been publicly anti-Trump for a while and could count on about 30 percent of the party for support. Upsides for him? It would significantly raise his national profile. Also the press would love it and give him staggering amounts of free media. So for Hogan, who knows he has no shot at the nomination unless Trump takes a very serious political header, it’s a no-brainer. But win under likely circumstances? Not a chance. And who will the Dems offer?

Biden- Forget about it. Sure, he can count on the press, the culture, academia, and about 40 percent of general election voters. But that’s down from the razor thin just over 50 percent he beat Trump with in 2020. Any matchup today has Biden getting clobbered and it’s going to get worse. Yes, Clinton and Obama also had bad polls and got reelected. But they weren’t senile and could put together a coherent sentence. As of now, Trump beats Biden like a dirty rug.

Harris- No shot. Sure, it’s a Dem fantasy. She’s the ultimate token candidate whose sole credentials are gender and race, which is a calling card that only appeals to the Dem core of sexists and racists. However, Harris has proved to be such an airhead, such a laughingstock, that she’s lost credibility even with the many Bolsheviks. Almost anyone could trounce her in a presidential election.

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That leaves…who? The only way Trump doesn’t get the GOP nod would be that he doesn’t run or legally or physically can’t. The only way Dems beat him is by a coup that tosses both their president and veep off the ticket. Unlikely. Ergo, the smart money has to be on Trump.