The field of 2023 Republican presidential contenders may soon get larger: commentator Larry Elder said he may jump into the race as soon as March.
Cockburn is skeptical that this will make much of a difference in a race that is already largely defined by the two biggest fish in the pond: Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. Elder made the surprise comments on SiriusXM’s The Megyn Kelly Show on Monday January 30.
Elder said that he is not considering a run “because I want to derail Trump or DeSantis or anybody who decides to run.” He also mentioned the two main concerns that he wants to focus on, should he opt to run: “the centrality of having fathers in the home”, and “debunk[ing] this lie about systemic racism.”
Elder says he hopes that he, as a black man whose father grew up in Jim Crow Georgia, “can debunk [systemic racism] in a more passionate and I think credible way than maybe anybody else can.”
Cockburn thinks Elder has worthy goals, but wonders about the viability of his campaign. It’s going to be difficult for any of the potential GOP candidates — from Mike Pompeo to Nikki Haley to Elder — to compete with Trump and DeSantis, who have the large leads in the polls.
Elder ran in the 2021 California gubernatorial recall election, where he received about 3.5 million votes. He has name recognition from his time in conservative media, so his chances are greater than, say, Rand Paul in 2016.
But the GOP is divided. Republicans are going to have to choose their presidential candidate by broad consensus this time around — not mere plurality like in 2016, where Trump won the field with under 50 percent support in most states — if they are going to win in 2024. That will require a smaller field — and Cockburn questions how helpful it is to have an ever-increasing slate of candidates jumping in who have little chance of garnering nomination-level support.
Besides, with Boris Johnson refusing to rule out jumping in (though the Constitution may have residency questions), how many larger-than-life personalities can the GOP handle?