CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's less than two years out from the 2024 presidential election. There have been reports swirling around about some public figures like Nikki Haley to Ron DeSantis to Liz Cheney who may throw their hats into the ring, but not many considering how close it is to Election Day.
Why is that? Let's connect the dots.
On Saturday, former President Donald Trump will make his way to South Carolina. He's kicking off his 2024 campaign to take back the White House, but at this point, the field of candidates remains thin, and it's for a good reason.
It takes time to make the decision. It often involves a conversation with those closest to the candidate as it is often a huge undertaking for the whole family. There are legal reasons to slow down the decision process, too. Once a candidate declares, they are required to fill out paperwork outlining the key details about their team and fundraising.
There's also the epic coordination that has to happen with outside groups, and delaying an announcement allows candidates to coordinate with outside groups, including super PACs.
These organizations aren't allowed to coordinate with any particular candidate, but in the months before a campaign launch, potential contenders could guide a team who sets them up for success once they announce.
Delaying the announcement can also avoid a vicious fight for one of the most powerful positions in the world.
WCNC Charlotte Anchor Carolyn Bruck spoke with NBC's Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd about Trump's first public campaign event for his 2024 White House bid.
"When you look at Republican politics in the path to a presidential nomination, it has always gone through South Carolina," Todd told Bruck. "We talk about Iowa. We talk about New Hampshire. Plenty of Republicans have won Iowa and haven't been the nominee. Plenty of Republicans have won New Hampshire and haven't been the nominee. I'm trying to think of a Republican who somehow lost South Carolina and ended up the nominee. It just doesn't happen."
Todd said South Carolina could be considered the best representative of the Republican Party base due to its rural areas, its evangelical constituency and its veteran population.
"I've always looked at the Republican electorate in South Carolina as the best representation of the larger group of what I'd call rank-and-file Republicans, and I think that's why South Carolina matters so much,"
Todd mentioned another important factor as to why Trump chose to start in South Carolina is he already has widespread support from the leadership in the state.
"The current governor is a devotee of Donald Trump," Todd mentioned. "Governor McMaster isn't governor without Donald Trump appointing Nikki Haley out of the way which, if you recall back in the day, that was as much about helping McMaster as it was about giving Haley a job. I think he feels that between Lindsey Graham and McMaster, he starts off stronger in South Carolina than he does in Iowa or that he does in New Hampshire."
Being as South Carolina is such an important part of the path to the presidential nomination, Todd referenced a phrase: If he can make it there, he can make it anywhere.
"That's how important South Carolina is to Republican primary politics," Todd said.
Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
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