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Courtesy | Wiki­media Commons

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.