Donald Trump is now facing the very real possibility that another Republican may challenge him for his party’s nomination when the 2020 primaries roll around, opines Fox News writer Paul Steinhauser.
Despite strong support from within his own party, as well as its base, recent events have occurred that cast into doubt whether or not Trump’s nomination for the Republican Party’s 2020 ticket is a sure thing.
Blame The Shutdown
Trump famously shut down the government for 35 days between December 2018 and January 2019 — the largest government shutdown in history — over funding for a border wall that he initially promised Mexico would pay for. Trump ended the shutdown by signing a temporary spending bill, which included no funding for the proposed wall. Meanwhile, as the government temporarily remains open and Congress debates the next spending bill they’ll send to Trump, the possibility of money for a border wall is even smaller than it was before the shutdown.
That’s going to hurt Trump in 2020, says conservative pundit Bill Kristol.
“I think the shutdown in general hurt Trump pretty badly. It makes the uphill climb [of a primary challenge] less steep.”
It’s not just the shutdown, says Kristol. Losing Defense Secretary James Mattis, largely over an unfounded and widely-discredited claim from Trump that ISIS is no longer a threat, has hurt the POTUS. Adding to the complications are fluctuations in the stock market, all on top of the government shutdown.
Not So Fast, Says Another Conservative Pundit
Cassie Smedile, RNC national press secretary, recently voted with her colleagues on a resolution to give the president their “undivided support” in the 2020 election cycle. The vote passed overwhelmingly, and Smedile says that the vote “underscores, underlines, and highlights” the fact that the Party is committed to re-electing Trump as well as other Republicans “up and down the ballot.”
Have Any Names Come Up?
At least one anti-Trump Republican, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, has said decisively that he will not run in 2020 against Trump.
So who will?
Possibly former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who ran as Gary Johnson’s running mate on the Libertarian ticket in 2016. The fact that he’s switched parties more than once, and is planning on switching again works against him, says Massachusetts GOP state party Chairman Steve Stepanek.
“He ran as a Libertarian vice presidential candidate in 2016. As far as we’re concerned he’s a Libertarian and he can’t flip-flop back and forth for political expediency.”
Then there’s Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, whose name has come up in conversation about 2020 Republicans. When asked about it, Hogan has responded vaguely.
“Who knows what’s going to happen two years from now. You never know.”
Looking To New Hampshire
The conventional wisdom around Washington is that all this talk of Republican challengers to Trump in 2020 is just that: talk. And it will remain just that until voters in New Hampshire cast their first ballots in 2020. Once the counts are made, then, and only then, will the Republican Party have a clear picture of whether or not Trump will run unopposed or not.