The 2024 election in America is shaping up to be a nail biter, for more than one reason. The House of Representatives is in disarray, the Senate is at a standoff, and as the days go on, it’s becoming increasingly clear that America is looking at a second showdown between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

A Crowded Republican Primary

The Republican primary season has been crowded since the get-go, though things have mellowed out a little since the beginning. The field was full of candidates, from Ron Desantis of Florida to Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Tom Williams

Every candidate knew going in that they would have a steep hill to climb. The Republican favorite for president was, and still is, Donald Trump, after the former president announced a third run for the White House.

Donald Trump: Missing in Action

Donald Trump hasn’t participated in many of the events of the Republican primary season, including any of the debates. Instead, he’s held town halls and rallies during the debates that his fellow primary candidates have participated in, and his absence has been noticed.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Official White House Photo

Fellow Republicans running for the primary nomination, including former president Mike Pence, have all called out Trump for various reasons. His lack of participation in the primaries, his alleged role in January 6, his court cases, none of it has been off the table for the former – and possibly future – president.

Mike Pence as a Candidate

During his short-lived campaign, Mike Pence in particular tried to separate himself from his former employer. He was, unfortunately, unsuccessful due to a sincere lack of popularity with the Republican base.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

This unpopularity is, primarily, due to Mike Pence falling afoul of Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 election. By refusing to support Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud and then refusing to delay the certification of the election, Pence found himself on the wrong end of Donald Trump, and the Republican voters.

Pence Drops Out

Pence eventually dropped out of the race, and after significant losses in the first two primary races of the season, so did almost all of the other candidates. This includes Ron Desantis and Vivek Ramaswami, both of whom were favorites early in the primary race.

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The race for the Republican nomination for president has since come down to Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, a former United States ambassador and former governor of South Carolina. She has promised not to drop from the race no matter how many primaries she loses to the former president, in an apparent effort to provide a viable third candidate option for moderate Republican and independent voters.

A New Message From the Pence Camp

In spite of his failed presidential campaign and his deep unpopularity in most political spheres, Mike Pence has still been making the rounds at conferences and talk shows to try and spread his political message to voters. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, his message not been the most positive.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Since dropping out of the primary race, Mike Pence has been going around with one primary message: that it might be time to move on from Donald Trump. Primarily, Pence has said that “good Republican voters” should seek fresh candidates.

Another Candidate is Unlikely

Unfortunately for Pence, it’s not appearing likely that he and never-Trump Republicans are going to get their wish for a non-Trump candidate this election cycle. Trump has been dominating the early primary races by significant margins, and is polling far ahead of his fellow candidates.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

This is in spite of Trump’s ongoing political troubles. Political observers and polls reveal that the more trouble Trump legally finds himself in, the more popular he becomes with many Republican voters.

Successful Trump Messaging

The paradox is due to Trump’s wildly successful messaging. Trump has managed to portray all of his legal troubles as direct attacks from Democrats on all sides, and it’s a message that has resonated with many Republican voters.

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This popularity has compounded since Trump won the first two primaries. In national polling, he currently is pulling around 80% support among Registered Republican voters, compared to Nikki Haley’s 16%. These are not insignificant numbers for a man who has been charged with more than 90 felonies in multiple jurisdictions.

Potential Financial Ruin

Additionally, Trump is facing potential financial ruin after a series of devastating losses in civil cases. In New York alone, Trump owes more than half a billion dollars in civil reparations and interest across several cases, which many financial analysts are unsure whether the former president will be unable to pay.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Additionally, the result of one of these civil judgments means that Trump is unable to practice business in the state of New York for three years. This judgment is particularly devastating for Trump, who has painted himself as not only a very wealthy man, but also a successful businessman. Being successfully charged with business fraud is almost sure to challenge that perception with voters.

A Likely Biden/Trump Showdown

Pence’s desire for another candidate in the 2024 race is understandable, especially considering his fraught relationship with the former president. However, it’s appearing less and less likely that he’ll get his wish, no matter how often he encourages voters to give Trump a miss.

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Nikki Haley’s candidacy might be just enough to make many Republicans reconsider Trump, but it’s entirely likely that her resolve to stay in the race will waver the more primaries she loses. A Biden and Trump showdown is appearing more and more likely, and voters will have to make a decision between two elderly candidates at the polls yet again.