It’s been five months since the 2020 presidential election, and already we have our sights set on the next rounds. After all, politicians have begun jockeying for position, prepping for the 2022 midterms coming up next year and the 2024 general election cycle.
Oddsmakers for the top political betting sites are right behind them, tracking all the movement and posting amazingly early futures markets.
We even hear rumblings about some presidential hopefuls forming preliminary exploratory committees and meeting with powerful donor bundlers to gauge support and analyze the playing field. It’s evident that some prospective candidates are setting messaging agendas and testing responses to issues that may evolve into campaign promises.
Seeing as all this activity is already unfolding, and since the maneuvers being made now will have ramifications for the 2024 general election cycle, it’s only right that we start previewing the possible field of candidates.
We’ll also be searching for value in the first sets of futures odds that have been released for 2024. The beauty of futures is that accurate foresight is rewarded with exceptional payouts. This early on, even some of the heavy favorites are paying out at over two-to-one!
Make sure to keep check back for more political betting coverage; we’ll continually post updates on the 2024 (potential) candidates covered in this series as the race takes shape.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has become a household name over the last few years, primarily due to her warm relationship with former President Donald Trump.
Last summer, there were even rumors that the Republican incumbent was considering replacing Mike Pence with Noem as his Vice President on the 2020 GOP ticket.
As her name recognition has grown and Republicans celebrated her defiance of lockdown recommendations and mask mandates, Gov. Noem’s has been appearing more frequently in lists of possible contenders for the Republican nomination in 2024.
She’s denied having any attention of seeking the presidency – but they all do this early in the process.
Noem has been one of Donald Trump’s closest allies since becoming Governor in 2018. She defended him on TV after the Capitol riots, has sought council at Mar-a-Lago on multiple occasions, and once gifted the former President a four-foot replica of Mount Rushmore with his likeness included next to the other four.
You’ll find the best political markets and election odds at these online betting sites!
However, riding that MAGA wave isn’t always fun and flattery. Kristi Noem is learning that straddling the line to appease moderate Republicans and Trump supporters simultaneously is a delicate – if not impossible – balance.
Recently, the Governor has been forced to weigh in on issues for which she’s had to pick sides. As expected, Noem’s decisions infuriated a significant percentage of conservatives. Political pundits wonder if the Governor has already tanked any aspirations she may have had for 2024.
More on those presidential plans shortly…First, here are Kristi Noem’s 2024 betting lines from Bovada:
2024 Republican Primary Odds:
2024 Presidential Election Odds:
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem
Part of Noem’s working-class appeal comes from the fact that she didn’t enter politics by coming up through the elite institution pipeline that creates most US leaders.
The mother of three attended Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota but was forced to leave school and return home to help run her family farm after her father was killed in a tragic farming accident.
Her first voyage into politics came in 2006 when the future Governor was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives.
In 2010, she received 42% plurality and won South Dakota’s at-large seat in the US House of Representatives. Noem took online courses while serving in Congress, graduating with a BA in political science in December 2011.
After four terms, Gov. Noem chose not to seek reelection to Congress, bidding instead to become South Dakota Governor. Her seats up again in 2022, which will factor into any potential 2024 plans.
We can’t discuss Kristi Noem’s viability as a Republican presidential candidate without acknowledging where so much of the 2024 hype originated from in the first place. The close relationship with Donald Trump always made the Governor an attractive possibility, but her support among conservatives skyrocketed during the COVID pandemic.
Much like Ron DeSantis, Noem became a kind of cult hero, hailed for “standing for freedom” and “personal responsibility” by refusing to shut down the state’s schools and businesses. She garnered support from Republicans by doing things like commenting that “we won’t be social distancing [at Mt. Rushmore]” before a July 3 celebration at the monument, attended by Donald Trump.
Kristi Noem is one of the only Governors in the United States who never issued a statewide stay-at-home order or a mask mandate.
Gov. Noem was rewarded for her pandemic response with an invitation to speak at the 2020 Republican National Convention. The address railed against “Democrats and their radical supporters” as well as the “violent mobs” protesting racial injustice.
The five-minute speech launched the Governor’s national profile even higher. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported that it was a “defining moment of her political career.”
The buzz around Kristi Noem continued to grow louder. Like Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida, the South Dakota native realized she held a potent political winner in “anti-lockdown” messaging. I suspect it was after August’s GOP virtual convention that Noem’s curiosity about running for President in 2024 was piqued.
When she spoke at CPAC 2021 in February, her focal point was the pandemic – more specifically, the damage caused by shutdowns and the government bailout/stimulus bills needed as their result.
“What followed was record unemployment, businesses closed, most schools were shuttered and communities suffered, and the US economy came to an immediate halt.
“Now let me be clear, Covid didn’t crush the economy, government crushed the economy. And then just as quickly, government turned around and held itself out as the savior, and frankly, the Treasury Department can’t print money fast enough to keep up with Congress’s wish list. But not everyone has followed this path.
“For those of you who don’t know, South Dakota is the only state in America that never ordered a single business or church to close. We never instituted a shelter in place order. We never mandated that people wear masks. We never even defined what an essential business is, because I don’t believe that governors have the authority to tell you that your business isn’t essential.”
Last year, the Associated Press reported on the Governor’s steep rise in the GOP following her hands-off attitude towards COVID:
“The approach has given her significant influence within the Republican Party. She spoke to incoming GOP members of Congress this weekend in Washington, DC, and posted photos of Monday meetings with members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. She was not wearing a mask in any of the photos.”
Yet, while Gov. DeSantis looks poised to ride his anti-lockdown love to a Republican nomination if he wants it, Kristi Noem’s time as a promising 2024 presidential contender might be coming to an end.
Controversial Choices May Hurt Noem’s 2024 Prospects
Gov. Noem is the latest Republican “victim” of a much larger conflict on the right concerning both sides of the party’s “moderates vs. Trumpism” divide and corporate America. Chamber of Commerce Republicans have been governing exclusively on behalf of big business and the free market for decades.
Now, corporations are increasingly embracing social liberalism and are getting more involved in politics — frequently to support the Democratic Party’s side of a given conflict or censor right-wing voices. Republican leaders feel betrayed by the corporatocracy they helped build.
One of the hot-button issues at the center of the moderate GOP/big business/Trumpism triple-threat match is trans rights, which conflict with socially conservative Republicans’ (usually religious) beliefs.
I believe that boys should play boys’ sports, and girls should play girls’ sports. I'm returning House Bill 1217 with the following recommendations as to STYLE and FORM. (1/)
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 19, 2021
Corporations threaten to relocate events or divest from a state like South Dakota, and Republican officials like Kristi Noem find themselves in a squeeze.
- Side with the socially conservative, usually working-class, congregation and risk losing your money and employment opportunities for your state, but raise your status with MAGA and religious conservatives, OR
- Succumb to the threats from capital/big business (in Noem’s case, the Chamber of Commerce, NCAA, Amazon, and others) and save your MLB All-Star Game, fulfillment center, and every college in your state’s ability to play in the NCAA, etc., but become a pariah to a sizable voting bloc for “selling out.”
- An option that doesn’t exist but is attempted by every Republican ensnared in this trap: Reaffirm your support for the cause – in this case, banning trans athletes from women’s sports – with empty performative gestures, and admit that the stakes were too high to risk calling big business’s bluff.
“What we saw play out in South Dakota is the divide within the Republican party, and the divide is between the elites … and the voters,” Terry Schilling, the executive director of the American Principles Project, told CNN. “Noem ultimately capitulated to the chambers of commerce, the NCAA, and gave them what they’re wanting.”
Gov. Noem rejected the legislation passed by South Dakota’s GOP-controlled House and Senate, citing a problem with some of the bill’s language. She expressed concern over:
- the lawsuits it would invite,
- how any punishment levied by the NCAA would affect SD’s eight universities, and
- that Amazon would cancel its new Sioux Falls fulfillment center, costing the state 1,000 jobs.
Opinions are mixed regarding how this will impact her prospects of running for President, but everyone agrees that whether it’s during her 2022 reelection bid or the 2024 Republican primaries, opponents will use this against the South Dakota Governor.
“No matter what she does, or when, this is going to come up,” says Matt Butler, a co-founder of the consulting firm EZPolitix. “If she’s looking at a Republican primary of some kind, whether it’s for Senate or President, then she’s going to have to deal with this.
“And Republican voters are going to look at it one of two ways. One way is that she did the pragmatic thing — she was out to keep the convention business, the sports events [in South Dakota]. On the other hand, in a primary, other Republicans are going say, ‘She buckled. She has no spine. She didn’t stand up for princples. She caved when somebody looked at her funny.'”
Would Trump’s Endorsement be Enough?
Kristi Noem’s refusal to sign the bill banning trans athletes from women’s sports could sink her forever in the eyes of socially conservative Republicans. But Americans usually have short memories, so she’ll have opportunities to win them back.
It will probably require taking a stand on another controversial issue of importance to religious right-wingers that lands the Governor in a similar predicament with the business community.
But let’s say Donald Trump does choose Kristi Noem for his highly coveted 2024 endorsement…
Does she have what it takes to benefit from it?
The former President’s endorsement should be a deciding factor in the 2024 Republican primaries.
Still, I worry that political pundits – well, mainly myself — are overstating Trump’s authority over Republicans. Yes – he’s popular and would coast to the GOP’s nomination if he decided to run again, but we’ve seen no evidence that the passion of Trump’s MAGA horde is transferable.
And if it can be bequeathed to a successor – to what degree?
- What percentage of Donald Trump supporters will turn out for primaries they’d skip otherwise for a candidate like Kristi Noem on the strength of his endorsement?
- Are we underselling how much of President Trump’s popularity is unique to him and unobtainable for almost anyone else?
“I’m Trump, but Polite” Candidates
We see numerous prospective GOP candidates planning to offer Trump conservatism, only with less social media and better manners.
How many of his supporters couldn’t care less about policies or ideologies and only liked Trump because he was funny – or because he pissed people off? If it’s a high percentage, that’s a substantial bloc of voters without candidates offering the entertainment factor they want.
In fact, I bet the GOP would find more success transferring 45’s base to an inexperienced, “agent of chaos,” wildcard type of candidate than any one of the Republicans vying for the “Trump, minus the baggage” lane.
Americans are becoming increasingly desperate to shock the US system and force some genuine reform. They loved the thought of tossing Trump, the “human molotov cocktail” at Washington DC, and watching everyone lose their minds.
To recreate that sensation, they’ll need someone like Tucker Carlsson, Candace Owens, or Donald Trump Jr to enter contention for the 2024 Republican Party nomination.
Moderate in a MAGA Hat
Gov. Noem is the typical run-of-the-meal neoconservative politician. Like all moderate Republicans, her solution to all of the world’s problems is to cut taxes and deregulate. Anything more should be left to the free market.
When the former President complements the South Dakota Governor and claims to consider her a possible successor, you must realize no underlying code or prerequisites inform those feelings.
GOP officials learned a trick early in the Trump administration; they used it to manipulate the President into abandoning 2016’s populist, anti-establishment rhetoric in exchange for advancing Mitch McConnell’s agenda:
If Trump thinks you have his back, and you regularly say nice things about Trump in public, he’s instantly convinced that you’re a great person and will reciprocate the love. It doesn’t matter if you share a single political philosophy in common.
It’s why we’ve seen the maniac endorse such a random collection of candidates over the years! His judging criteria is one factor deep: does this person make me feel good?
Kristi Noem flatters Donald Trump and makes him feel respected. In return, she’s a fixture in all “top GOP candidates for 2024” articles. The Governor might even land the coveted MAGA endorsement.
Trump Not Enough
Either way, I don’t think it will provide the boost to Noem’s campaign that other candidates might receive from Trump’s backing. She’s boring.
You get all the usual GOP quotes about immigration, taxes, abortion, and liberals infringing on Americans’ rights with none of the pizzazz – none of the presentation, none of the danger.
Even the most loyal MAGA supporters have a limit to how far their allegiances can be stretched.
Learn how to send the liberal elite into an outraged conniption at will, use those powers to infuriate media pundits to the point of tears, and repeat until you dominate every news cycle.
Anything less, and you’re better off focusing on maintaining your gubernatorial seat Mrs. Noem.
If you jump into the 2024 race trying to straddle the line between what made Trump work and moderate sensibilities, you’re doomed for humiliating failure on the national stage.