In an already-crowded Republican primary field, conservative talk show host and presidential candidate Larry Elder believes he can distinguish himself as the relatable, likable alternative to former President Donald Trump in his bid to win the 2024 GOP nomination, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.
Elder, who hosts “The Larry Elder Show” and announced his candidacy on Tucker Carlson Tonight earlier this month, said he believes GOP primary voters are of two camps: those who love former President Donald Trump, and those who love what he did in office but fear he won’t win in 2024. The radio personality believes that, by courting the latter group and distinguishing himself as the “likable” alternative to the former president, he can find a path to victory.
“You want someone who has the same kinds of policies — America First policies — that, in my opinion, Donald Trump pushed effectively in his first term, that is likable, who’s relatable and who the independents, who will decide this election, will feel comfortable with. And I’m that guy,” Elder told the DCNF.
Jumping into a crowded primary already chock full of Republican heavyweights with national profiles, not to mention the former president and his dominance in the polls, Elder’s chances appear slim. Still, the radio personality sees a path to success by focusing on the Democratic opposition rather than taking on his Republican challengers directly, and selling himself as the personable, electable alternative to Trump and DeSantis.
Along with Trump, Elder joins former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, as well as expected contenders Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
“I’m running against Biden-Harris,” said Elder. “The issue is not Trump or DeSantis or anybody else.”
Elder elevated his profile as a potential politician in 2021, when he led Republican candidates in the recall effort to remove California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.
Though Newsom won the election, Elder told the DCNF that the lessons he learned in distinguishing himself from a crowded Republican field have equipped him to shoot for a more ambitious goal in The White House. Moreover, the fact that Elder was able to become the clear favorite among challengers to Newsom — earning 46% of the vote among all candidates to replace the California governor — was evidence that his message could resonate with millions of voters.
When running for governor, Elder solely focused on taking down Newsom instead of focusing on his Republican opponents, he told the DCNF. Elder believes he can replicate this strategy to greater effect, making more persuasive arguments against President Joe Biden than his Republican foes.
The conservative radio host said he thinks of running in the primary as an “audition” for the job to take on Biden.
Elder slammed the Biden administration for the enormous influx of illegal immigrants into the U.S. since 2021, sky-high inflation and increases government spending, shutting kids out of schools during the pandemic, and the president’s much-maligned withdrawal from Afghanistan, and said he is only focused on addressing Biden’s faults in 2024 rather than focusing on other Republican contenders.
Elder, who has never held public office, also argued his lack of Washington experience would be a strength rather than a weakness, citing the success of Trump in the Republican primaries.
“Donald Trump had never run for anything before, and he got elected,” Elder said.
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) April 22, 2023
While Elder faces stiff opposition, he sees an opportunity to distinguish himself in areas overlooked in recent times by his Republican challengers, such as welfare reform and various social issues, focusing especially on policies that have led to a rise in single motherhood and family dysfunction.
“We’ve incentivized women to marry the government, and incentivized men into abandoning their financial and moral responsibility, and now we have a crisis,” said Elder. “I think a lot of people are sitting around because they’re being paid to sit around and are getting perverse incentives. When you subsidize bad behavior, you’re going to get more of it.”
Elder called for increased mentors and sponsors for children born into households without a married mother and father, as well as reallocating welfare funds to nonprofits in communities hit hardest with this issue, he told the DCNF. Welfare funds could be distributed much more “efficiently,” rather than incentivizing single motherhood.
He argued that children need fathers to provide guidance, to be rooted in religion and to be able to “handle disputes civilly.”
“You still are responsible for the choices that you make,” said Elder. “Everybody who brings a child into the world and are not willing to feed, clothe, house and educate that child, has committed, in my opinion, the moral equivalent of a drive-by shooting.”
While Elder is pro-life, he is against a national abortion ban and believes it is up to the states to decide, citing his staunch federalist position. The conservative host said it was always a states rights issue, and now that Roe vs. Wade is overturned, the power is rightfully back to where it belongs.
“I am a pro-life Christian, and I think abortion is murder,” said Elder. “My intention is to persuade people to my point of view, and that’s what I hope to do as president, but again, it’s up to the individual state to make the decision.”
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