Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running for governor of Arkansas. She’s the daughter of a former governor with a ton of political campaign experience dating back to the 1990s. But her decision to run—and likely success—hinges on one thing: her connection to Donald Trump.
Trump may be gone, but he’s left a bunch of power-hungry sycophants and family members in his wake. Some, like Sanders, appear eager to capitalize on the president’s popularity and parlay it into a run for office. Others have merely hinted at it, but when it comes to electoral politics, sometimes hints are enough. Trump’s ideology and cult of personality are still beloved among Republican voters, and until he forms his own political party—a rumor that seems to be dying out—those closest to him will be able to use their Trump connections to their advantage.
Pompeo has actually served in Congress before—from 2011 to 2017 he served as representative of Kansas’ 4th district. He also flirted with a 2020 Senate run to give Republicans a dominant candidate in the state, but it turned out they didn’t need him. Still, that previous experience combined with his evangelical windbaggery and Trump admin bonafides would make him an interesting possibility among disaffected Trump-loving Republicans in years to come.
Donald Trump Jr.
There’s no ostensible reason for Don Jr. to run for office. His father’s presidency gave him newfound purpose and made him a celebrity among MAGA heads. Trump could easily continue his dad’s grift by soliciting donations and loudly yelling into Instagram live videos until the end of time. But we all know Don Jr.’s real, relatable motivation—he just wants his dad to be proud of him. So even though he’ll probably lose badly while exposing his own genuine idiocy and lack of charisma, at least when he announces a Senate run in 2022 we’ll know why. Trump’s girlfriend and former Fox Newser Kimberly Guilfoyle gets honorable mention here.
Trump’s daughter-in-law has apparently been considering a run for Senate in her home state of North Carolina for months. She’s a former personal trainer and television producer who apparently “has a natural instinct for politics” according to Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp. In a way, she’s a perfect Trump—she bears the name and connection without any of the front-facing baggage of Ivanka or downright stupidity of Don Jr.
Haley is a given on this list. Not only has she held elected office before as South Carolina’s governor from 2011-2017, but she’s also held up as one of the more rational members of the Trump administration. That characterization doesn’t make much sense, and she’s apologized for Trump countless times, including just yesterday on Laura Ingraham’s show. Still, she seems to straddle the line of Trump loyalty and reasonable Republican acceptability, at least among besotted corporate media types who will no doubt boost her inevitable run for president in 2024.
Mike Lindell, aka the MyPillow Guy
Lindell’s had a hell of a month. His signature MyPillow was pulled from several big box stores including Bed Bath & Beyond because of Lindell’s repeated claims that Trump didn’t lose the 2020 election. Just days before Trump left office, Lindell was photographed at the White House holding notes about martial law. Today, he was booted from Twitter. It’s been quite a ride for Lindell, but all the while he’s been hinting at a run for office—specifically in Minnesota’s 2022 gubernatorial race. He’s exactly the kind of Trump-adjacent microcelebrity that would excel in a local or state election and will probably be in our lives forever, or at least as long as the Trump wave continues rippling through the American electorate. Which feels like it’ll be forever.