Talk about an insurance policy. Republicans may have finally found an ingenious way to ensure that everyone in America rallies around Donald Trump’s second term, should he win in 2024: Vice President Marjorie Taylor Greene.
“The amazing thing about the concept of Marjorie Taylor Greene being Donald Trump’s vice president is that you would actually have someone who would make you worried that Donald Trump might have a heart attack,” quipped conservative Jonah Goldberg on a recent episode of The Dispatch podcast. “I mean, all of a sudden, you’re telling Trump, ‘Be careful going down those stairs!’”
All joking aside, this is a serious topic. According to NBC News, Greene “is angling to be Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024.” One of the sources was former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who confirmed: “She sees herself on the short list for Trump’s VP.”
If you think the idea that America might vote for a presidential ticket that includes Greene is absurd, remind yourself that Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. This is to say, stranger things have happened.
I have no doubt that Greene sees herself as worthy and is angling for the job. Her recent embrace of Kevin McCarthy, an establishment Republican, to become Speaker of the House suggests a rebranding effort is at work. And now, winning seats on such committees as the House Homeland Security Committee and House Oversight and Accountability Committee would presumably bolster her bona fides.
You would have to go back a long way to find someone who went directly from the House to the vice presidency. Lookin’ at you, John Nance Garner.
But such historical trivia is now meaningless. The rules have changed. Greene is arguably the most famous Republican in the House, and fame and money (she’s also one of the top fundraisers in the House) matter more than old-fashioned credentials such as experience and committee assignments.
The obvious things that should disqualify Greene have nothing to do with her political resume. I mean, if the Jewish space lasers aren’t enough to shoot down her candidacy, you’d think the 9/11 trutherism would.
Again, though, we must remember that the old rules don’t apply. The only relevant question is whether Donald Trump might actually select MTG to be his running mate. If we are being honest, it’s plausible.
Put yourself in his twisted frame of mind. Trump’s selfish criteria will dictate doing a) what makes him look good, b) what makes him happy, and c) what will help him win.
In terms of winning, normal politicians usually seek to balance their ticket. Trump’s selection of Mike Pence in 2016 was meant to reassure conservatives and normies.
It worked. But Trump now believes that Mike Pence betrayed him by refusing to overturn the 2020 election. He won’t make that mistake again, and he likely believes a course correction would entail doing the exact opposite. In so many ways, picking MTG as his running mate would be the perfect overreaction.
There is precedent for eschewing the conventional wisdom that says veeps should be selected to “balance the ticket.” In 1992, Bill Clinton selected another young southern moderate Democrat, Al Gore, to be his running mate. This choice strengthened their brand (“Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”).
If Trump wants to double down on his crazy MAGA brand, he could run (in the words of Newt Gingrich) a “two-pirate” ticket. Sure, in terms of age and gender, the ticket would be balanced. But temperamentally and philosophically, Trump and Greene are like peas and carrots.
Still, I wouldn’t bet on Greene for a few reasons.
First, I believe that deep down, Trump sees her as being too “low rent,” as Jonah Goldberg put it. Behind the populous facade, one gets the sense that Trump is secretly something of a snob. He would date someone like Greene, to be sure—but would he bring her home to meet his mother?
Second, does Trump want Greene to inherit the family silver? Whoever he selects as his running mate would, to some extent, inherit his mantle. This is true because of Trump’s age and because, even if he wins, he could only (legally) serve one term. He doesn’t want a successor.
Third, does he want to pick someone who might outshine him with his base? Trump is an attention whore. Deep down, Trump would prefer a straight man (or woman) he could outshine and later throw under the bus.
Trump can’t trust moderate normies to enact his evil agenda—but he also can’t trust charismatic extremists capable of stealing his spotlight. What’s a thin-skinned, narcissistic candidate to do?
The fact that Greene is now a serious contender for veep is, in and of itself, a sign that the cancer within the Republican Party is spreading and that its members have become radicalized.
What I’m saying is that it doesn’t really matter who Trump picks in 2024. When it comes to hijacking the GOP, the Donald Trump-Marjorie Taylor Greene “ticket” has already won the future.