AN OFF-THE-WALL ANALYSIS
GIVEN the crazy chaotic times we live in, the primary objective of the practical observer should be to help move into the office of President of the United States the safest candidate possible. Meaning, that person with the best chance of not screwing up what remains the richest, most dynamic and even possibly freest country on the planet.
HERE are my levels of safety-- personality barometers-- from worst to best.
A.) EGOMANIAC. The individual who sees all issues through how they affect his overlarge personality. Seen as a welcome change, by some, as a way to shake up a status quo machine, but the risks are great. Too great, to the thinking of this observer. This nation was built on the rule of law, with a system designed to discourage demagogues and dictatorships. We're not ready to abandon that thinking, yet.
B.) OPPORTUNISTS. Those so overfilled with ambition they're liable to say or do anything in pursuit of their ends. Of the present crop of candidates, Vivek Ramaswamy best fits this profile. A fast-talking salesman, making outlandish promises, with no scruples, much less beliefs, other than making deals.
C.) IDEOLOGUES. There are always plenty of those to go around, on the left or the right. They view the world as if through a tunnel, and force that world to conform-- in their minds if not in reality-- to their preformed beliefs. Included in this category are what might be called metaphorical bomb throwers, Hamas-like political extremists whose objective is to throw the present system into chaos. On the Republican side, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Any of them running for the office of President? Not yet.
D.) PRAGMATISTS. Not those who exactly blow with the wind, but are shrewd enough to see which way the wind is blowing-- who can look more than one chess move out and plan accordingly. They're also not locked rigidly into their political party, are able on occasion to compromise (creating venomous attacks from their own side in so doing). They're typically mildly corrupt in a standard-local-politician kind of way. The best example among those currently running is Chris Christie. Corrupt enough to sit on a closed beach with his family during COVID, yet at the same time pragmatic enough to hug Obama to gain hurricane funding for New Jersey. Not ruthlessly ambitious-- he's stated in the past he wouldn't run for President if that meant stopping his visits to Burger King! Christie, perhaps alone among Republicans, can see that Donald Trump is going down-- will end up cutting a deal or going to prison: there's too much evidence against the Donald, as a former prosecutor would well know. Christie has planned accordingly. Not that he has a chance to get the nomination, at least this time. Too many bomb throwers on that side of the aisle.
For the Republicans, best guess is ideologue Rob DeSantis, who'll move to the forefront when Trump is knocked out-- then go on to lose big in the general election.
The Democrats, meanwhile, have problems with their own ideologues. If Biden loses the left wing of his party over the Israel-Gaza War, he'll become vulnerable in the primaries. Then, a 1968 situation develops. In that tumultuous year, President Lyndon Johnson faced unexpected opposition from upstart anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy. McCarthy made a strong-enough showing in the New Hampshire primary that LBJ bowed-out of the running. Eugene McCarthy, however, was too unpredictable for party bigs. A similar candidate-- one with a bigger name and more charisma-- was encouraged to run for the nomination. Robert F. Kennedy. Which he did-- and would've won the nomination, if not for an assassin's bullet.
In 2024, IF upstart outsider Marianne Williamson makes a strong showing in New Hampshire, Joe Biden will face pressure to step down in favor of a candidate with Williamson's upsides but at the same time, with stronger ties to the party. This means either Kamala Harris or Gretchen Whitmer will enter the race-- or both. One of whom will become the next U.S. President.
An outlandish scenario? Perhaps. But worth a longshot bet.