February 24, 2020

The GOP's Point of No Return

“I don’t know about you, but for me “Having more people run for president and effectively doubling the number of primary contests” is not up there with “Michigan beating Notre Dame in the playoffs” and “A new deluxe edition of Barbara Bush’s letters” on the list of things I want to see next year. But this is what we are going to get if all of the roughly six living #NeverTrump Republicans get their way.

Already four of the six are looking seriously at the possibility of challenging President Trump for the GOP presidential nomination in 2020. According to the Washington Post, Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina congressman and governor of “Appalachian Trail” fame, is reaching out to party activists in New Hampshire about running as a deficit hawk. Jeff Flake, the aptly named retired senator from Arizona who distinguished himself at the end of his political career by whining as loudly as possible about Trump while inventing principled-sounding reasons for supporting pretty much everything his administration did, claims that donors are reaching out to him preemptively. John Kasich, who completed his second term as the governor of Ohio last year, is also headed up to the Granite State, where he finished a very distant second to Trump in 2016. Meanwhile Bill Weld, who was the Republican governor of Masschusetts around the time AOL was America’s largest provider of internet service before becoming a Libertarian and then changing his mind again, still insists that he is in it to win it. “Is Bill Weld the Hero Never Trumpers Have Been Waiting For?” the Post asks. Think how sad it would be if the answer to that question is yes.

What is the point of all of this? I mean besides massing the egos of the individuals involved and giving Rick Wilson something to whine about on MSNBC. Does anybody really think that the same Republican primary electorate who chose Trump in 41 primaries in 2016 are going to change their minds and select the guy who was so liberal that the Republican-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee wouldn’t even hold a hearing on his nomination to be ambassador to Mexico in 1997? Assuming that they did pick him — or the guy who used public funds to visit his mistress in Argentina after turning down $700 million in stimulus money for residents of his home stage, or the former senator who thinks the cost of having military jets at NASCAR races is one of the most pressing crises faced by the republic, or the guy whose own sitting lieutenant governor said that she disagreed with everything he’d ever done in her campaign to replace him — then what? Is one of these men actually expected to win the White House?”

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