Joe Walsh has joined William Weld and Mark Sanford as actual and potential challengers to Donald Trump in the president’s quest for nomination by the Republican Party for another term in office.
A friend of mine wonders where the GOP challengers with “heft” are hiding. He believes Trump will “swat” any of the three challengers being discussed “like flies.” I fear he is right.
Who, then, are the hefty GOP heavyweights who might stand a chance of giving the president the primary campaign scare he so richly deserves?
I am having difficulty coming with names.
Former Secretary of State/Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell more or less comes to mind. He won’t walk onto the field. He had his chance leading up to the 1996 election when Bill Clinton was running for re-election. Gen. Powell begged off, citing the lack of support from his wife, Alma. I doubt Mrs. Powell has changed her mind. Besides, Powell’s time has passed.
I think also — are you reading for this? — of Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. Naww. He won’t do it, either.
I fear the GOP is left with three men who don’t stand a serious chance of inflicting any meaningful damage on Trump, who is raising many millions of dollars toward his re-election effort.
Mark Sanford is grievously damaged already. He once was South Carolina’s governor who messed around with a woman other than his wife; he skulked off to South America for a fling, while telling his staff to lie to the media about his whereabouts, instructing them to say he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” No good, Mark.
William Weld ran for vice president in 2016 on the Libertarian ticket headed by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Weld does have political experience, having served two terms as Massachusetts governor. But he ain’t gonna make the grade, either.
Joe Walsh served for a term as a congressman from Illinois. He’s a firebrand, a TEA Party advocate. He is ultraconservative. He also cannot stand the idea of Trump serving as president. He says things about Trump that many of us have said to each other at dinner tables and living rooms around the country.
I fear the GOP pool of challengers is thin, given the state of politics in the country at this moment. History shows that intraparty challenges against presidential incumbents have proven politically fatal to the incumbent. Sure, Trump is likely to have someone run against him, but he has rewritten the playbook and installed strategies that few “traditional” politicians can recognize, let alone emulate.
The GOP primary campaign will contain plenty of fiery rhetoric. Of that I am sure. Will it matter? I am thinking it won’t.
We’ll have to await the main event to commence sometime in the late summer of 2020 when Democrats nominate their candidate and Republicans swallow hard and send Donald Trump back into battle.
Oh … boy!