Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Washington Examiner correspondent Drucker debuts with an extensively reported yet uneven look at seven politicians, including Donald Trump, who may seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024. In addition to Trump, Drucker focuses on senators Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio; former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley; former vice president Mike Pence; and former CIA director and secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Interviews with the primary subjects and Republican Party insiders shed light on how potential candidates struggle with staying on Trump's good side while creating some distance from him in areas deemed potentially toxic, and document the steady softening of Republican outrage over the January 6 Capitol riot. (Haley, who initially denounced Trump for inciting the riot, later said that she wouldn't run against him if he decided to enter the 2024 race.) Though Drucker's selection seems on-target, it's almost sure to be superseded by future developments (governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, who have recently emerged as likely candidates, barely get mentioned), and snarky turns-of-phrase distract (Ted Cruz's "white, Irish Catholic mother from Wilmington, Delaware" is "part of the Joe Biden diaspora," Drucker suggests). This first draft of history disappoints. (Oct.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
The GOP is Trump's plaything. But is he the only presence on the playground? Washington Examiner senior correspondent Drucker doesn't mean to read the tea leaves--so he suggests, anyway--as much as he wants to lay out possible scenarios to game the next electoral cycle and beyond. Trump has been making dark noises about running again, seeking revenge for his humiliating defeat. (The author allows that there are far too many people who don't acknowledge that defeat, though, reading between the lines of a Mar-a-Lago conversation with him, Trump himself seems to have accepted the fact.) But then, Drucker writes, every other person positioning for a race "will be running as the next Trump," so much so that his presence is hardly required. One of them is the Arkansas junior senator, Tom Cotton, groomed by Mitch McConnell to take a leading role in the Republican Congress and a person who amounts to what "a sophisticated version of Donald Trump [might] have looked like." Cotton is definitively on track for a presidential run--if not in 2024, then in the years beyond. Never mind that he has absolutely no charisma. As Drucker writes, "he just doesn't give a shit," a quality that too many voters admire. The author also looks at Nikki Haley, the South Carolina governor who dared resist Trump even while working for him; Chris Christie, the sometime Trump confidant; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who "is already running for president, if you ask most Republicans," waging a ceaseless culture war on the non--QAnon contingent; and of course Ted Cruz, who just won't go away. Drucker even includes the Trump family among the contenders, though he reckons that it's Don Jr., who has been busily building networks among the Republican establishment that his father scorned, who is most likely to enter the field. For those laying odds on 2024, Drucker delivers an opinionated, well-reasoned, and often depressing score card. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.