What is the Republican B-Team Thinking?

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ON THE TARMAC—The 2024 presidential race is a little like this flight: it’s unclear when it’s going to start; it’s likely to go on forever; it’s all I can think about; it’s going to happen somehow, in some mysterious fashion.

Politically, whether it is a crimson autumn or a sapphire season will soon be the stuff of knowledge, and quickly of memory. It is important, but whatever goes down is near certain to be swiftly upstaged as America barrels towards a cinematic zenith. Both sides bill the coming storm as essentially the most significant presidential election since our bloody brother war, as Johnny Cash termed the 1860’s.

What, then, do such seemingly plain-Jane, long-shot figures—all perhaps better suited to running in 1995—such as former vice president Mike Pence, former secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley,…

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