Friday, June 23, 2023

Youngkin Should Run For President in 2024

I know you may think I am a homer for suggesting that Governor Glenn Youngkin should run for President.  True I am a native Virginian, so you may think I am overdoing state pride a tad by pushing Youngkin for President, but I do objectively believe that he is the strongest general election candidate we Republicans have.  I think it is also true that 2024 will be Youngkin's best shot at the White House.  He might never get such a great opportunity again. 

Campaigns are driven by the candidates themselves and a large part of the outcome depends on how they match up.  That is how people compare the two candidates against each other.  Not against ideal candidates but against the nominated candidates.

I have been involved in politics long enough to know that Youngkin possess the qualities that people are looking for in a President, and Youngkin has all the necessary qualities and attributes that none of the another announce candidates can match.  And as luck would have it these are qualities that Biden lacks.

Youngkin has youth, Biden is old, Youngkin has energy, Biden needs a nap, Youngkin is articulate, Biden produces meandering word salads, Youngkin is affable, Biden can be mean, Youngkin is intelligent, Biden is senile. Youngkin is an optimist, he sees a bright future ahead, Biden says MAGA Republicans want to reimpose Jim Crow.  Could you imagine Youngkin calling a reporter a "dumb son of a bitch" as Biden did?  Of course not.

Now you may say some of our other candidates would match up well against Biden and I'd agree, but no other announced Republican candidate highlights these differences better than Youngkin. The differences are more vivid with Youngkin at the other end of the debate stage, at a townhall or at a rally.

 In addition, Youngkin does not have the baggage that some of the other candidates do, for example he didn't recommend that Trump appoint Christopher Wray as FBI director- thanks Chris Christie.  Youngkin has no connection to Washington, no responsibly for the dumpster fire that is our Federal government. has become.

Actually, I think there is one key quality that Youngkin possess, that makes him our strongest candidate, indeed head and shoulders above the rest.  You see this quality comes out when he does interviews, town halls and speeches, and rallies.  It is not something you can learn or can easily acquire. It's a quality you can't fake. Youngkin like Ronald Reagan is a genuine optimist, and in this era of division and doubt about our country Youngkin like optimism is desired by the electorate. Of all our announced candidates I can't think of any that have that same Youngkin/Reagan like optimism. 

FDR, Ronald Reagan and now Glenn Youngkin.  Optimists are hard to beat.

So imagine an hour and a half debate between Youngkin and Biden.  It would be all but over after that.  Biden would lose the election in a landslide; a Dukakis Mondale like landslide, Biden would lose every state but Hawaii, Maryland, New York and a couple other states. 

Oh, by the way, now that I am looking at the electoral map, I would point out that without Virginia Biden can't get elected in 2024. Youngkin is popular in Virginia, with a 56 percent approval rating and Biden's approval rating in the state is at 42 percent.

Of the announced candidates in the race, I am backing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, I think he will make a great President, and can win, but I think Youngkin would be a stronger candidate in a general election.  DeSantis doesn't have the skills at retail politics that Youngkin has, he doesn't have the same ease with voters and social graces that Youngkin has.  He doesn't have Youngkin's ability to master interviews, he doesn't have Youngkin's optimism.

Also, the media would find it easier to demonize DeSantis.  It will be harder to turn the affable. optimistic and smiling Youngkin into the devil.  But I am sure the media will try. 

I believe Youngkin is a sold conservative, perhaps there are others to his right, but Youngkin is no RINO.  However, nominating Youngkin would represent a break with both the Washington GOP establishment and the Trump GOP. In a sense nominating him would be fairly revolutionary.  Similar to a restaurant that advertises that they are under new management.  

For moderate, independents and suburban voters his nomination would be significant, and I have no doubt that Youngkin would run well in the suburbs.

There are people who talk about the importance of Washington experience or foreign policy experience, but as I look back on past Presidential campaigns, I can't think of anyone winning on their resume, or on their years of experience.  For example, Barack Obama had no executive experience and was only a senator for 2 years.  I have always thought that if Washington experience gets you to the White House Howard Baker would have become President in 1980.

If Youngkin wants to be President, and I have no idea of his level of ambition, 2024 will probably be his best, maybe only realistic chance.  If he sits this one out, his next opportunity will come in 2028 He may or may not be in public office then but safe to say he won't have anywhere near the buzz and speculation that surrounds him now.  He will be a former Governor.  Or maybe Senator, but those platforms are not as good as an incumbent Governor.  As Shakespeare said, "we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures."  That is a more highbrow way of saying, "Strike while the iron is hot."

There are those who say that Youngkin should stay and finish his good work in Virginia.  I say Virginia, needs a good President in the White House and Winsome Sears can do a fine job as Governor.

I love the job that Youngkin is doing for Virginia as Governor, but I might love him even more as President.

Youngkin for President?  Why not, it seems to me the only thing we have to lose is Joe Biden.

David Shephard is the author of 'Elections Have Consequences; A Cautionary Tale."


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