After the January 6th debacle there is no love lost between Donald Trump and Mike Pence. So Pence will not be Trump’s veep choice if the former president gets 2024 Republican nomination.

Well, as we’ve outlined in a recent piece, the chances right now of Trump winning the 2024 race are good because he has no viable opposition on either side of the aisle if we assume the Dems would nominate Biden or Harris.

Whoever Trump chooses could not only become veep, but would be Trump’s choice to lead the party into the next presidential election. Who’s the smart money?

Ron DeSantis- Many Republicans consider this the dream team and they would indeed be hard to beat. Right now. But things change. If the Trump appeal considerably drops by 2024 DeSantis may not want to be saddled with a national loss around his neck, as Trump would blame him for the defeat. If DeSantis waits for 2028 or beyond, he’s young enough to do so, the GOP nomination could just fall into his lap, such is his appeal to the entire Republican base.

Nikki Haley- If Trump wants a woman on the ticket or feels like throwing a bone to those not thrilled by every syllable he utters, then Haley could be a logical choice. Or she could challenge him in the primaries and he could choose her at the convention to unite the party, as Reagan did with Bush in 1980. That could be a smart move.

It obviously cuts down on the inevitable Dem accusations of sexism and the approximately 20-30 percent of Republicans who may not vote for Trump under any circumstances could be somewhat placated with Haley on the ticket. DeSantis would also placate of them, but Haley is seen as more independent of Trump than DeSantis, ergo…

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Tom Cotton- The young senator from Arkansas brings a lot to the table. Combat vet, conservative, friendly to Trump, and a spotless personal life. He’s a rising star now and Trump would raise him close to the pinnacle. But in these PC days, would suburban moderate voters, even in the GOP, want two guys from Republican central casting on the ticket? Sure, you could say the same thing about DeSantis. But DeSantis brings his own star power with him, thus mitigating the the West of the Urals look. Cotton, as impressive as he is, does not yet possess the gravitas or the appeal of a DeSantis.

And finally, a dark horse, Elise Stefanik- Moderate, yet close to Trump. Comes from a blue state. In GOP House leadership. Good on the stump and the young congresswoman doesn’t alienate many of the GOP base. Takes care of the female on the ticket issue. However, would the populist right warm to her, even if she was Trump’s pick? Hard to say. But whoever it is, Trump will have a decision. Go for a puppet or someone who could bring moderates and lost suburban voters back under his banner? Knowing Trump, we can bet which way he’ll go.