On The Impact of the Noem Endorsement
As if things weren’t already falling apart for the beleaguered DeSantis campaign, which has gotten creaky enough that Vanity Fair published an early obituary today, a firebrand GOP governor appears ready to add insult to injury this evening in Rapid City. Reports are circling that Governor Kristi Noem is prepared to endorse President Trump, which will trigger alarms in anti-Trump circles and further impact a 2024 race that sees Trump playing rope-a-dope with his foes rather than expending all his energy and money to clear a field he has sufficiently outclassed.
Noem’s pending endorsement isn’t going to change the presidential disposition of South Dakota, which will be won by Trump in the Republican primary, and by landslide proportions in the General Election; after all, Trump won the Mount Rushmore State by a certified margin of 26.2% in 2020, which seems low to me based on antics primarily in Minnehaha and Pennington Counties.
Still, in exploring the area of influence, Noem’s endorsement is meaningful in the wider political spectrum for the following three reasons:
I. The Writing is on the Wall
Chris Christie made this play as a sitting governor in 2016, although he was running against Trump up until the time he dropped out and made the endorsement. Why? Because it was clear from the early primary returns that Trump was unstoppable, especially with so many candidates splitting votes. We all get things wrong from time to time (I had initially predicted DeSantis would not runagainst Trump), but once everything is clearly laid out, only stubborn fools charge ahead putting all their money on the lame horse.
Noem, as one of the more reputable of the sitting Republican governors, has a chance to play the role of party unifier and be remembered for something positive when so many of her contemporaries are trying to steal the spotlight from the candidate 80% of Republican voters believe was cheated out of his re-election thanks to election manipulation. This endorsement is a layup and offers nothing but political upside once made.
II. Maneuvering for Vice Presidential Assignment
Kari Lake is my favorite choice for Trump’s running mate, but rumor has it that she is prepping a run for United States Senate, possibly at the behest of President Trump himself. In my opinion, Lake is a home run for Vice President, a female populist laser-focused on election corruption, countering the cartels, and securing the porous southern border. Additionally, she hails from a critical state and offers an outstanding contrast to President Trump, while complementing his platform brilliantly.
Noem offers the electorate a strong female from the heartland who will tout the fact that South Dakota never locked down in 2020 (I vacationed there in that God-forsaken year), and run as a liberty-minded candidate; ironically, most of the grassroots patriots I know from South Dakota have a meh or worse opinion of their governor, and believe she is taking the credit owed to South Dakota’s legislature for keeping the state open.
Noem also has ties to many Republican special interests, which raise concern among the America First base. While she has some characteristics that complement Trump, she doesn’t hail from a strategically important state that is even adjacent to any state that will be instrumental in determining the Electoral College outcome. Nevertheless, if Lake runs for Senate, I give Noem a great chance of winding up as Trump’s eventual running mate.
III. Positioning for 2028
Trump is limited to just a single term should he overcome the cheat machine in 2024. If Lake runs for Senate and wins, and Noem has served four years as a Vice President who didn’t stab Trump in the back, she will be the heiress apparent for the White House, especially now that Ron DeSantis has smashed his once promising ship against the rocks of hubris.
The political world moves at light speed, and every decision, no matter how mundane it seems, has implications in this battle to restore freedom and liberty in America. Noem’s endorsement won’t move the needle in her state, but it shuffles the chess pieces around the board, especially once we figure out where Trump’s few true allies are going to land on that board in the next 14 months.