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Kudos to Larry Hogan, who was smart enough to know that 2024 is not the most ideal cycle for a guy like him to run for president (The fine folks at The Bulwark hardest hit, I’m sure).
The former Maryland governor announced on Sunday’s Face The Nation on CBS that he had seriously considered it, but ultimately, he just would not be able to make any headway in a field that included both Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump.
To be fair to Hogan, he’s right on the former part – DeSantis and Trump will absolutely be sucking up all the oxygen in the room, and it will make it difficult for other voices to rise up.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for some of those other voices. Indeed, with Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley (as well as some of the others planning to jump in), there are some voices, ideas, and perspectives to listen to. And while they may very well stay in the single digits, they won’t go unheard. Whether it’s their biography or political record, many candidates have something Americans want to hear as the Republican Party, in particular, charts a path forward.
Hogan, however, isn’t being entirely truthful in that regard, though: His voice – the voice of a middle-aged white man from the northeast who is not and has never really been relevant on the national stage – is not one anyone cares to hear from.
I mentioned this back in February when Hogan more or less admitted he already knew there wasn’t much he could do in this election cycle. When asked by Chuck Todd if Hogan would run if it ultimately helped Trump, Hogan said “That’d be a pretty good reason to consider not running,” and added “I don’t care that much about my future in the Republican Party. I care about making sure we have a future for the Republican Party.”
Which is all fine and dandy, but the truth is that Hogan doesn’t really have much of a base in the party outside of, say, the aforementioned fine folks of The Bulwark, who have been shouting his praises for weeks as he teased them along with a possible run. But it doesn’t take a lot of private polling to know that Hogan won’t get the 2-3 percent some of the other also-rans will end up with. His repeated appearances on the Sunday shows were about the media wanting to show division in the Republican Party, not actually caring about what effect he could have on the primary.
Hogan is one of those Republicans who admires Ronald Reagan because he sat down and negotiated with Democrats. He even posted about it recently on Twitter.
And growing the tent is fine! I am for it. I think the Republican Party has several avenues to achieve that. But what Hogan and others fail to remember is that Reagan came to the table with (for the time) far-right positions and forced the Democrats to meet him in the middle. The “compromise” was true compromise, not the modern moderate Republican strategy of starting where they want to end up (the middle) and working their way to the left. If Hogan were in a position of power, his sort of compromise is not the type of compromise Reagan would have pushed.
I fully support a bigger field (maybe not 2016 big, but still sizable) because I think the Republican Party is in the middle of an identity crisis and needs to choose which path to take forward. But I don’t think that field includes a moderate (at best) white Republican who was a governor a while back with no amazing track record. He’s just a guy who was in office at one point.