- Trump's grip on the party has loosened a little, and that's given hope to other 2024 hopefuls.
- Insider organized the possible 2024 presidential contenders by lane.
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to generate the most buzz.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
The dark winter of 2021 cast a Trump freeze over the Republican field of 2024 presidential hopefuls. Now the hot vax summer has thawed it in ways that almost seemed impossible a few months ago.
There have been many indicators that Trump's grip on the GOP — sans Twitter, Facebook, and cable-news saturation — has been slipping ever so slightly. But it was an obscure straw poll that snapped Republicans to attention: Someone not named Trump topped the list.
That someone is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who's been wowing activists and Washington consultants almost since Trump lost the 2020 election. To mix metaphors, he's got the lightning in the bottle, but his team seems wary of him getting too hot too fast and flaming out.
For the fifth update of Insider's 2024 presidential power rankings, we introduce lanes. Yes, we hear your groans. How can there be lanes without a single Republican yet running for president? The answer: They're all running until they're not. And the hopefuls are attempting to differentiate themselves from each other — even from Trump.
Trump: He gets his own lane because if he runs he wipes out pretty much all competition save for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Trump 2.0: It can best be described as putting a better face on Trump's brand of populist nationalism.
Principled conservatives: The same coalition that almost carried Ted Cruz to the Republican nomination in 2016, the mix of tea party, libertarian, and Christian right conservatives who coalesced against Barack Obama a decade ago.
Grand OLD Party: The relative moderates and former officials who represent the traditional establishment and are probably most likely to win a general election (by playing to the moderate suburbs alienated by Trump's extremism) but highly unlikely to win a primary in the modern Republican Party.
Barstool Jockeys (wild cards): The bros of the right, focused on the culture wars and national populism — and insistent they don't want to run for office. (Almost too insistent.)
June 2020: Pence sat atop the field as the heir apparent to the GOP throne. The mighty conventional wisdom, built on tradition and precedent, held that Trump would either win a second term and serve out eight years or lose and relinquish control of the party as previous losers have. Neither happened.
August 2020: With months left until the election, and rough polling foreshadowing a Trump loss, would-be 2024 candidates continued positioning themselves for a post-Trump Republican Party. Pence, Haley, Cruz, and a few others drew the most plaudits from strategists.
December 2020: The first postelection rating found Trump firmly ensconced as the front-runner for the 2024 nomination, even as he continued fighting to overturn the 2020 election results.
February 2021: The first ranking since Trump left office found a different Floridian ascendent among Republicans: Gov. Ron DeSantis. With Trump out of the White House, the winter of 2021 also foreshadowed the weakening grip of Trump on the party.
Insider polled more than a dozen political operatives and experts for this latest update of our 2024 power rankings, adding to dozens more polled for previous updates stretching back a year.
A tsunami of would-be Republican nominees are jockeying for attention. Here they are.
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