With Trump’s approval rating sitting at a historically awful 37 percent, rumors are beginning to swirl about a 2020 challenge to the Donald.
He’s already gotten a few takers rhetorically. John Kasich, a 2016 primary opponent and frequent policy foe, would be well positioned to take on Trump. Popular governor, didn’t rubber stamp unpopular Trump initiatives with a vote inside the beltway, he would have a lot of credibility to challenge him for the nomination.
Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake would have the same sort of (rhetorical) grounds to stand on. Flake is currently in the middle of a re-election positioning/Republican apology tour and Sasse was one of the original “never Trump-ers” who failed to stop him in 2016 and have consistently caved and supported his awful Cabinet nominees and agenda.
Finally, there is the curious case of Mike Pence, who has been hosting big Republican donors and doing events exclusive of Trump left and right. Pence bet his political future on the Trump train and (sadly) it paid off. Now he’s arguably the most powerful Republican figure in DC. Perhaps that’s because he’s viewed by many Republicans (but certainly not me) as the only rational voice in the Trump administration. Perhaps it’s because he’s the Vice President with deep Congressional connections.
But regardless, the base of the party still belongs firmly to Trump. This was most recently demonstrated in the 2017 Virginia Republican Primary. Although Ed Gillespie, the “establishment” candidate won, it was Corey Stewart, who, like Trump ran an explicitly racist campaign and shocked everyone by nearly winning.
I’m not shocked. The base of the Republican Party nominated Trump. People who vote for one racist, will generally vote for another, no matter how big of a confederate monument brown-nosing joke their campaign is. The strength of this base could very well propel Trump to victory again in a 2020 primary.