There is no such thing as a perfect politician, but as we ponder the possibility of rerunning the 2020 election between two decidedly flawed candidates, it’s worth considering what an ideal Republican candidate might look like for 2024.
Let’s start with the obvious: someone who is a reliable and unflinching conservative, unafraid to aggressively take on the left. You would also want a candidate with governing experience—such as, say, a hugely successful two-term governor. While we’re at it, how about someone who spent significant time in the executive branch—like overseeing the Drug Enforcement Administration and serving as an undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security? And then throw in stints as a U.S. attorney and U.S. congressman, along with practical experience like chairing the National Governors Association, a powerful nonpartisan organization that helps our federalist style of government work smoothly.
Last—but definitely not least—you would want a candidate who has forcefully opposed the worst aspects of Donald Trump’s leadership of the Republican Party throughout the last eight years.
Luckily, such a candidate need not be built from scratch but already exists in Asa Hutchinson, whose vast—and vigorously conservative—legislative, administrative, and governing experience, combined with his steadfast refusal to go along with the GOP’s troubling descent into Trumpian sycophancy, sets him apart in a field replete with candidates who may have one or the other of these attributes, but not both. Think of someone who possesses the virtues of Mike Pence and Chris Sununu without the vices, such as Pence’s decision to enable the Trumpian hijacking of the Republican Party and Sununu’s lack of conservative bona fides.