That Donald Trump will win the GOP nomination again isn’t really in doubt. The Republican party is simply too craven for any consideration of an alternative outcome. But that doesn’t mean the idea of Trump facing a serious (if not exactly viable) challenger wouldn’t be fun. And we seem to be in for some fun.
Sure, former Massachusetts governor William Weld has already announced his bid to defeat Trump, but the quiet, considered candidate doesn’t exactly have Trump shaking in his shoes. But conservative radio host and former Illinois GOP Congressman Joe Walsh has more of the fiery disposition we’re looking for.
“On November 9th, if Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket,” Walsh wrote in 2016. “You in?” Three years later, The New York Times reports that Walsh is expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination as early as this weekend.
“He lost me for good in Helsinki,” Walsh told the Times of Trump’s disastrous appearance last year standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin. “When he stood in front of the world and said, ‘I believe Putin and I don’t believe my fellow Americans.'” Satisfying to see someone on the right actually took note of that debacle, even if it is a rabidly anti-Obama, anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist. But as “Never Trumper” Bill Kristol points out, Walsh can make an appeal to GOP primary voters precisely because has Tea Party cred and fervently supported Trump in 2016.
And then there’s former Rhode Island governor and senator Lincoln Chafee, the not-so-exciting perennial party switcher and eyer of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. His 2016 bid for the Democratic nomination was a flop, but that hasn’t stopped him from switching parties again and mulling a run for the Libertarian nomination.
“I’m very motivated as an anti-war American, and also by the deficit,” Chafee told the Daily Beast. “Those are two big issues that, if the Libertarian convention next summer thinks that someone with a long record on those issues … if I fit that, then yes, I’d be open to that.” The Libertarian wing of the GOP is a natural outpost for the “Never Trump” movement, and lots of self-identified Libertarians would likely be happy to find a reasonable enough resting place for their protest vote.
Then there’s former South Carolina governor, congressman, and Appalachian Trail enthusiast Mark Sanford. Sanford has bit the political dust before and made a comeback, so why not try again after losing his congressional seat in 2018? As he told the Washington Post, he could “win without winning” by simply generating “a national conversation on what it means to be a Republican these days.” Oh goody!
The Post also reports a “flurry of recruitment calls” for former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. The tepid Flake hasn’t proven to excite really anyone other than Trump himself, but that’s good enough reason for us to welcome him into 2020. Add in former Ohio governor and handsy gesticulator John Kasich and, man, it’s starting to feel crowded over there on the right.
But hurry, they must—state deadlines for making the ticket are fast approaching this fall. Don’t let another second pass you by, anti-Trumpers. Fist in the air… or something like that.