Donald Trump may be losing his tight grip on the Republican Party, and it could cost him big in 2020.
Though the president still enjoys high approval ratings from members of his own party, a new poll showed that a growing number of Republicans would be open to the idea of someone else on the ticket in 2020. A new Washington Post–ABC News poll found that one-in-three Republicans and Republican-leaning voters are looking for the GOP to nominate “someone other” than Trump for the upcoming election.
As CNN noted, the number may seem small compared to the party as a whole, but it is well out of line historically with where a president stands in the way of support going into a re-election campaign.
“That’s a BIG number — and speaks to the fact that there remains, at least in the broader Republican Party, a significant pocket of people who have simply never come around on Trump,” the report noted. “People who don’t believe that he represents the present or future of the GOP and are in search of some sort of alternative to him in 2020.”
It’s not clear if the one-third of Republicans looking for another candidate will get their wish. A number of Republicans have floated the idea of running a primary against Trump for the Republican nomination, but so far none have stepped forward to formally attempt a bid. The Republican National Committee has also taken pre-emptive steps to thwart any possible attempts to steal the bid from Trump, the Hill noted. The committee voted to give its “undivided support” to Trump in 2020 ahead of any potential primary bids.
As the report noted, the move was very unusual as the RNC has historically stayed neutral and not expressed support for a candidate before they officially became the nominee. It also appears to undercut an argument Donald Trump makes occasionally that the DNC rigged the 2016 primary to support Hillary Clinton, as the DNC never formally took a position of support until Hillary won the primary, unlike what the RNC has done for Trump.
If Donald Trump does face a primary challenger in 2020, the opposing candidate would start in quite a hole. Trump has already been amassing a war chest of donations for his re-election and has made campaign stops since just after taking the oath of office in January, 2017. He also remains very popular in some of the most important primary states, leaving a difficult path to victory for any potential challenger.