CPAC Ranks Kristi Noem and Vivek Ramaswamy as Top VP Choices

By Jerry McConway, updated on February 26, 2024

For months now, we have all been waiting to see who Donald Trump will pick to be his vice president.

During CPAC this weekend, two candidates were clearly desired above the rest, and we have to think that will influence Trump's final decision.

Talking Points…
- Trump at CPAC
- Straw poll reveals MAGA VP choices
- Analysis

Trump Headlines CPAC

On Saturday, Donald Trump appeared at CPAC, and, of course, the crowd ate up every word that he said. Unfortunately, the media was not quite as kind or receptive as the crowd at CPAC. For instance. Salon ran an article that was headlined, "Trump's CPAC speech showed clear signs of major cognitive decline — yet MAGA cheered."

The article details Trump's recollection of his term, his claims against Biden, and some unrealistic promises made during the speech, such as solving the crime problem in Chicago "in one day." The entire piece was a hit job against Trump.

CNN also pounced and released a report on his speech titled, "Fact check: Trump delivers another lie-filled CPAC speech." The article shredded Trump on subjects such as the border wall, the election, Iraq, and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as well as his claims against destroying ISIS and his indictments. In many of the cases, the report debunked Trump's speech with claims he made himself in his books as well as the actual timeline of events.

Straw Poll Shows Favorites for VP

The straw poll vote for a potential VP for Trump came out pretty much as we would have expected it to be. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy were atop the preferred choices for the CPAC crowd, which was about 95% hardline MAGA supporters. Also, as expected, Trump won the straw poll for the nomination, crushing Haley 94% to 5%.

In the VP poll, Noem and Ramaswamy each snagged 15%, while the new name in the game, Tulsi Gabbard, took third with 9%, followed by Rep. Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) at 8%. Noem arguably gave the most powerful speech in terms of hitting the sweet spot with MAGA, having called the border a "warzone" as well as previously highlighting that she is one of the few VP candidates being considered who refused to run against Trump. One attendee, on Noem, stated:

"She has had real authority as governor and she's used it. That's important experience to be vice president and, maybe, someday, president."

Ramaswamy definitely attracted the younger voters in the audience, with one attendee stating:

"America First is about America's future, not just Trump, and Vivek can carry on that legacy."

Analysis

Those of you who regularly read these reports know that I believe the VP choice should be Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.). And while I still consider him to be the frontrunner, we know Trump likes to keep his base happy, so we cannot discount the results of the CPAC polling, so, let's talk about those two candidates.

Of the two at the top of the poll, Noem is probably the safer bet in terms of being able to attract more voters. She would bring in more women and give the party what it needs in a potential female candidate who could serve as president if need be. Ramaswamy is someone that Trump should probably avoid. If he is Trump's VP, the quote that Trump made about him before the Iowa primary race, calling him a "fraud" and "not MAGA" will be in every Democrat ad that runs.

But do any of them bring as much to the table as Senator Tim Scott? Scott can draw in minority voters, moderates, and possibly even some Democrats who do not want to vote for Joe Biden. No other VP candidate offers that to Trump. So, while MAGA made it very clear they want Noem or Ramaswamy, the smart choice, the only real choice for Trump, is Senator Tim Scott.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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