Kentucky has a dark horse candidate for the 2024 presidential election: Gov. Andy Beshear.
After countless policy disasters, President Joe Biden, a 78-year-old Democrat, may not run for re-election. His retirement could create an opening for the Kentucky thoroughbred.
As Biden’s approval ratings plummet due to vaccine mandates and foreign-policy blunders, scant rumors of an inter-party challenger have turned to steady rumblings. The Democratic Party has fragmented, with old-guard neoliberals defending the well-oiled political machine and green radicals seeking to seize power.
The DNC’s power-grabbing and institutional manipulation of the political machine makes Vice President Kamala Harris a false favorite, allowing for an up and coming candidate: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. Like most great racehorses, the Bluegrass State’s governor has an advantageous pedigree — his father was governor of Kentucky for two terms. With a Vanderbilt University and University of Virginia education, Beshear embodies the timeless patrician liberal, akin to that of the Kennedys and Clintons.
Such blue-blooded beginnings supply ample connections for major donors and endorsers that get campaigns running. Beshear’s abilities as a statesman and lawmaker, honed during his college and law school years, exceeded all expectations, as he achieved significant legal and executive victories in a deep red state. By prioritizing economic development in attracting billions of dollars in private investment, Medicaid expansion in reestablishing access to Kentucky’s state health exchange in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, and increases in public education funding by raising salaries for teachers in the state budget, Beshear can amplify winning issues for primaries and generals and garner the decisive demographic — white suburban moderates.
Despite winning both his races for attorney general and governor by less than a point in each cycle, Beshear won in a heavily Republican state. Being accustomed to campaigning in hotly contested blue-collar races gives him the expertise that would pay dividends in a primary that begins with Iowa and New Hampshire. If he jockeys for publicity going into Super Tuesday, Beshear could claim not only the narrative of the race, but numerous influential southern states and the nomination as well.
If Beshear runs and reaches the homestretch of the general, his appeal to white suburban voters will not only hold the Rust Belt states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, but also solidify the Democratic gains in the environs of Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, sealing the fates of Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona, and cutting off any path to 270 electoral votes for a Republican nominee.
Beshear must make the executive decision, to ride off into his political sunset, relegated to irrelevancy, or to be in the running for the presidency, going for the triple crown.