How inevitable is a third consecutive nomination of Donald Trump? Partisan commentators, when it suits their purposes, tend to assume it is so.
Republicans who remain supporters of the 45th president point to data showing he remains popular among his party’s voters. They also recall how loudly heralded attempts to deprive him of his first nomination, in 2016, foundered.
Democrats certainly don’t want to depend on the popularity of Joe Biden or his policies. And who else do they have to run?
But is Trump’s lock on a third presidential nomination all that secure? Recent polling suggests the answer is no.
Most noteworthy has been the New York Times-Siena College poll conducted July 5-7. Of its sample of Republican voters, 49% favored Trump and 25% favored Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the 2024 nomination. That sounds like a big Trump edge, but, as reporter Michael Bender pointed out, his margin there is smaller than Hillary Clinton’s was over Bernie Sanders in early 2016.
Trump appeared recently to keep open the possibility of Ron DeSantis being his running mate for 2024 amid speculation the Florida governor has his own ambitions to be president—but electoral college rules make it inadvisable for the pair to join forces.
In a June 30 interview on Newsmax, the former president was asked if he could “envision a world” where there would be a Trump-DeSantis ticket in the next election cycle.
In response, Trump did not dismiss the idea and instead played down any suggestions that there’s a rift in the pair’s relationship following continuing speculation DeSantis wants to challenge for the presidency, setting up a potential fight against his longtime ally for the GOP nomination.
However, even if Trump is attempting to use the possibility of having DeSantis as a running mate to stop him vying for the GOP nomination in 2024 himself, there may be issues in having presidential and vice presidential candidates from the same state running on the same ticket.
As noted by Kevin Wagner, a constitutional scholar and political science professor at Florida Atlantic University, there is nothing in the Constitution that specifically stops two candidates from the same state running together on a presidential ticket.
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Writing for The Palm Beach Post in January 2021, Wagner said the existence of such a law is something that “many people get wrong” and is based on a section of the 12th Amendment of the Constitution which states that electors meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for president and vice president, “one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.”
The amendment was introduced in 1804. From 1789 to 1804, electoral college voters chose from two candidates, with whoever came in second becoming vice president.
These days candidates run together as a unified ticket, but the requirement that electors could not cast both ballots for a person from their own state was not removed.
The potential of a Trump/DeSantis ticket given both are residents of Florida, with Trump now back living in Palm Beach where the Mar-a-Lago resort is located, is actually more risky than illegal, especially given Florida’s importance as a key swing state in any presidential election, with 29 electoral votes up for grabs.
The amendment was also noted by longtime Trump ally Roger Stone in a post on the controversial “free speech” social network Gab.
“The rules of the Electoral College prohibit a Presidential Candidate and a Vice Presidential candidate being from the same state—in this case Florida—lest they forfeit that state’s electoral vote. I’m quite certain President Trump knows that,” Stone wrote.
While Trump and DeSantis are considered the two main frontrunners for the GOP nomination in 2024, the former president is by far the favourite to clinch it should they both run.
Mark Van der Veen offers some of the most analytical and insightful writings on politics. He regularly opines on the motives and political calculations of politicians and candidates, and whether or not their strategy will work. Van der Veen offers a contrast to many on this list by sticking mainly to a fact-based style of writing that is generally combative with opposing ideologies.