That reality means that there will be a fight within the Republican Party to be the “next” Trump or, since the 45th president views himself as one-of-a-kind, the heir to the Trumpian political legacy.
And make no mistake: That fight has already begun. Here’s a look at the contenders to be the Trump heir (listed alphabetically by last name):
* Mike Pence: When the former Indiana governor decided to accept the VP nomination from Trump, he resolved then and there that if the billionaire businessman won, his political fate would be forever tied to Trump. And in office, Pence has made that connection very, very clear. He has spent the first three-plus years of Trump’s term not allowing enough space for an envelope to pass between them. Bill signing? Pence is over Trump’s shoulder, looking at the President approvingly. Speech? Pence is over Trump’s shoulder, looking at the President approvingly. Coronavirus task force briefing? Pence is over Trump’s shoulder, looking at the President approvingly.
The Point: While the Trump heir won’t be the only lane in either the 2024 Republican primary fight, it will be a lane. And it could well be the dominant one. Which is why politicians (and not politicians) are scrambling so early to be the chosen one.