Thursday, March 8, 2018

Primary Challenger

Steve M argues that Trump will not face a serious primary challenge in 2020.

Maybe Trump’s voters will be disillusioned with the direction of the country in a couple of years, especially if the economy cools off or collapses (though nothing Robert Mueller is investigating will bother them) — but it’s likely that even an economic downturn won’t faze them. George W. Bush retained considerable support within his party even in the waning days of his presidency, when nearly everyone else in America had abandoned him, because he wouldn’t give up on the war, a stance GOP voters cheered because it infuriated liberals. Trump will be in a similar position in two years: We’ll still hate him, so Republican voters will continue to embrace him.

That still won’t prevent some equally narcissistic Republican like Ted Cruz from at the least feinting a challenge to Trump; there’s plenty of hate to go around from the GOP and they roll around in it like a dog in deer scat.

But I also think a lot of people overestimate the power of the GOP base.  They get credit for putting Trump in the race and then winning it when there were a lot of other factors that came together, not the least of which was a really bad campaign by the Democrats built on the assumption that this country wasn’t that insane as to elect a hateful caricature as president.

By the time we get to the 2020 race, the whole “piss off the liberals” meme will be getting worn away by the realization of how much damage Trump has done to not just the liberals but to the GOP base itself.  The voters who opted for Trump in 2016 because they didn’t think he’d actually win and didn’t like Hillary Clinton, either, won’t necessarily try him again, assuming the Democrats nominate a strong candidate.  (That’s another subject altogether.)

The one side benefit of drawing a primary challenger against Trump is that he will have to turn his attention to the traitor in his party’s midst for a while and sow more divisiveness in the ranks.  That would be fun to watch.

5 barks and woofs on “Primary Challenger

  1. I doubt there will be a primary challenge to Trump because 1) it’s almost unheard of to primary a sitting president, and 2) the Republican leadership won’t have it: they have a willing idiot to provide a distraction while they dismantle the progress of the last hundred years.

    • The examples cited by Steve M for primary challenges in recent history are Gerald Ford in 1976 by Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter in 1980 by Teddy Kennedy. Coincidentally or not, both Ford and Carter went on to lose in the general election. Going further back, Theodore Roosevelt challenged his hand-picked successor, William Howard Taft in 1912. When he didn’t get the nomination he ran on the Bull Moose Party ticket which divided the GOP and Woodrow Wilson won. Taft never forgave TR, but was mollified by being named Chief Justice by Warren Harding, the job he wanted all along.

      The GOP leadership may not want it, but the election of Trump proves how much clout they have. Willing idiot or not, he’s sucking them into the black hole, and if the Democrats pick up even one house of Congress, they’ll be in deep shit.

    • Romney is done. He’s running for the Senate in Utah. Listening to him speak, he thinks the current Republican party has gone batshit crazy and isn’t anywhere near willing to listen to a “sane” pro-business Republican like him. He is 70 years old right now, and realistically if he wins the Senate election he isn’t going anywhere for 6 years (i.e., the remainder of Trump’s 1st term and whoever wins the 2nd term), and is unlikely to run for President at age 76. Cruz and Flake, however… yeah, Cruz is definitely strongly considering a run, and Flake appears to be already campaigning.