(CNN)Something very interesting happened in New Hampshire this week that you might have missed: The Georgia Republican lieutenant governor made a trip to the state touting his plan to re-birth a post-Trump GOP.
Dubbed “GOP 2.0,” the plan is focused on a handful of pillars including national security, public safety and limited government, according to Georgia’s Geoff Duncan.”We as Republicans have forgotten to remind people why we’re Republicans,” Duncan told WMUR on Tuesday.Duncan’s vision for “GOP 2.0” is also very much about moving the party beyond the current 2024 frontrunner for the party’s nod: former President Donald J. Trump.Duncan told CNN earlier this year that Trump’s insistence he won the election — in both Georgia and nationally — “disgusts” him, adding: “It’s not American. It’s not what democracy is all about. But it’s reality right now.”Read MoreIn an op-ed for CNN published last month, Duncan wrote:”Trump did not lose because of voter fraud or his conservative policies. Biden is sitting in the White House today because voters grew tired of Trump’s erratic behavior, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.”The upcoming elections cannot be a discussion about the past, unless we want to continue losing. Republican candidates cannot win general elections around the country if they exert all of their energy in the primary on a litmus test around unfounded election conspiracy theories.”All of this activity by Duncan — with the New Hampshire trip the most telling clue — suggests he wants to run for the Republican presidential nomination in his own right in 2024.Asked about that question directly by WMUR, Duncan answered this way:
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“I’m focused on healing and rebuilding the party right now. If you looked at my to-do list every day of what I have to do in all 50 states and the people I’ve got to talk to, I’m certainly consumed with trying to heal and rebuild the party, and we’re going to be in a process of trying to figure out who’s the best leader.”So, yes, he wants to run.The broader question Duncan’s positioning raises is this: Is there actually an appetite within the GOP base for someone who wants to move beyond Trump and who rejects the former president’s conspiracy theories about the 2020 election?I’ve seen very little evidence that such a section of the base exists.The Point: Duncan will be one of a handful of Republican candidates over the next few years trying to suggest that Trump needs to be put in the rear-view mirror ASAP. It’s a perilous path to take in the current version of the GOP.