The quest to find out who could be Donald Trump’s vice presidential candidate has been going on for a long time and paradoxically, at a moment when the list should be getting shorter, it’s actually getting longer. But then again, what can you expect? Nothing about Trump’s presidential saga has ever complied with the laws of political physics, why should now be any different? However, some of the names that are coming up, most notably Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, are simply stunning credulity, Haley in particular.

DeSantis was quick to fold and throw his support to Trump but Haley has been adamant about how he needs to earn her supporters’ votes. What better way than to put her on the ticket? And there’s another reason he might be contemplating doing so and this is compelling: Haley showed herself adept at raising money and Trump is broke and getting broker.

The mirage of wealth from Truth Social is now evaporating and don’t think that Trump isn’t painfully aware of that fact. He’s still hoping for some 11th hour salvation of the TMTG stock but nobody else thinks that’s going to happen. So forget about that extra four billion bucks that just showed up glaring in green neon lights on the stock exchange, flickered for a brief day, and then began its inexorable downhill slide. Truth Social may have been counted on to be the cavalry headed over the hill to Trump’s financial rescue but that’s not happening now.

So where does that leave him? Floundering for cash, is where. Does that mean that somebody who is a proven fundraiser might have a shot at being VP? It is sure beginning to look that way. If Truth Social hadn’t flopped, Trump probably would have gone with eye candy and show biz in a running mate, since that’s his natural predilection. But with the Truth Social billions gone up in smoke, he’s had to come down to earth. New York Times:

Mr. Trump has asked several people about the fund-raising prowess of possible running mates, according to three people with direct knowledge of the conversations, signaling a fresh angle in his search for a running mate.

The initial feedback has pointed him toward a handful of members of Congress with strong donor connections and at least one deep-pocketed governor. One long-shot possibility with a proven record of raising piles of cash — former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina — was only recently a bitter presidential rival, and her name can spark outrage from Mr. Trump.

“Trump is going to want a team player, and this is going to be about adding value to the ticket,” said former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who remains close with Mr. Trump and set records for Republican fund-raising. “It’s also going to be about someone who understands the job — who understands the Senate and the House — because he’s not going to want to waste one minute in office.”

Maybe Trump should pick Kevin. Wouldn’t that be a howler? Kevin can be the new Mike Pence, the politician whose career was rescued from the dumpster and repurposed as Trump’s vice president. If you think this is a strange idea, pause and think about this carefully. Kevin McCarthy has one proven talent and that is that he’s a fundraiser. That is not a skill that everybody has but he has it. Plus, Kevin knows how to kiss the ring and he has done that. And to use one of Trump’s favorite punch lines, “What the hell does he have to lose?”

If fund-raising concerns further influence his vice-presidential search, that path could lead toward a pair of former Republican presidential primary opponents, Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Ms. Haley, and a coterie of members of Congress, including Representative Elise Stefanik of New York and Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Tim Scott of South Carolina and J.D. Vance of Ohio.

Mr. Trump has signaled interest in all of them as potential running mates, except for Ms. Haley. To some people, he is said to have shown indifference when asked about Ms. Haley’s joining his ticket. To others, he has savaged her with brutal and personal criticisms.

Still, one of the truisms of Trump World is that no one is ever completely cast out unless they want to be left out. For her part, Ms. Haley said during the campaign that she would not serve as anybody’s No. 2.

But when it comes to supplementing Mr. Trump’s own fund-raising ability, Ms. Haley could prove a compelling choice. Ms. Haley’s presidential campaign and allied groups collected more than $146 million, according to Open Secrets, which tracks campaign fund-raising.

Haley could be a compelling choice for other reasons. Haley was basically offering an image of a post-Trump GOP when she was running. That appealed to a lot of people and as we saw in the primaries, Haley split off a significant percentage of votes from Trump, sometimes as high as 43% of the vote, as in the New Hampshire primary. If Trump could get Haley’s voters, that would put him in a lot more comfortable position than he’s in right now.

Would Trump consider asking Birdbrain to be his running mate? Maybe he would. Maybe he can find a way to spin a kiss and make up scenario that is acceptable to both Haley and her voters and doesn’t make him look like who and what he is, which is a mentally unstable joke of a candidate who says he doesn’t need Haley’s voters and they’re not welcome in MAGA.

A Trump/Haley ticket could be sold as a GOP unity ticket, unifying the old school conservative GOP and MAGA. Haley could claim to be there to guide Trump on the correct path and keep him from his worst impulses. She could sell herself as the moderating, tempering influence to Trump. Who knows if it would work? Who knows if she would even try it?

Another person with fundraising ability is Elise Stefanik and many people believe that she’s who Trump will pick as a VP.

A former aide in President George W. Bush’s White House, Ms. Stefanik has received support since her first House victory a decade ago from several wealthy establishment donors, including Cliff Asness, a billionaire founder of AQR Capital Management, who backed Ms. Haley’s presidential bid, and Mr. Singer. She met with recently with Mr. Singer and laid out why she thought Mr. Trump would win in November, and Mr. Asness hosted a small group meeting for her at his office where she did the same.

Since vigorously defending Mr. Trump against his first impeachment in 2019, Ms. Stefanik has also developed relationships with donors affiliated more closely with his conservative movement. Mr. Perlmutter has hosted fund-raisers for her along with Steve Wynn, the casino mogul, who has privately urged Mr. Trump to consider Ms. Stefanik.

Ms. Stefanik, who replaced former Representative Liz Cheney as the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, has also drawn interest more recently from donors compelled by her push to investigate antisemitism on college campuses. In the first three months of the year, she collected $7.1 million for her own re-election and other Republican causes, her campaign announced this month.

Stefanik is looking to be Dick Cheney Redux. That much has been obvious since the beginning. And since Stefanik can raise money and since she hasn’t been in opposition to Trump as Haley has, she may be the better choice. Stefanik also represents the old guard conservative GOP and she could plausibly stand for the mixture of the old guard and the new MAGA, although in fact what she would be doing is acting as Trump’s Minister Of Truth in the Orwellian dystopian nightmare that Trump’s second term is guaranteed to be.

And no, Elise is not the MAGA eye candy that Trump would prefer if he had his druthers, but right now he’d druther have money and somebody who can run the government in his guaranteed absence and inability to do so.

Poor Kristi Noem, the expensive makeover was for naught. If I had to guess today who Trump would pick it would be: 1. Elise Stefanik if he’s analyzing things the way this article says he is analyzing them; 2. Nikki Haley if he wants to do some serious damage control and see if he can pull off a united GOP; 3. Kristi Noem if he doesn’t give a damn about any of it and believes that eye candy is the way to do.

All of these are strong possibilities. Trump’s instincts will be to go for Noem and what she has to offer, but he might be persuaded to look at the monetary reality for pragmatic reasons. And if that’s the case, then he may choose Stefanik or he may decide to do something radical for him and consolidate with a former foe, and that could be Haley — if she can stomach it. And Haley might stomach it fine. She’s made her blandness and lack of a platform play out as moderation, so she’ll find a way to the round peg pounded into the square hole.

Whatever Trump’s choice, it’s going to be interesting when he finally makes it. And he should make it soon because with Truth Social going under and with no giant cash infusion he’s got to start thinking about the reality of the 2024 race.

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  1. I was thinking if haley wants to lose all her credibility, go be trump’s v.p. After thinking about that for a second or two I realize the last thing ‘pubes have or care about is credibility. And why should they really: it isn’t as if their base expects such a thing and trump’s base expects even less.


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