In the 21-year tradition of conservative primaries in which hard-charging candidates torment under-qualified or tired incumbent party shakers, the prospect of a Trump 2020 candidacy hasn’t faded. Instead, attention to “Trump fatigue” has grown, with the possible presidential contestant most aware of the dynamics is one who might be exposed to the influence of his one-time greatest ally, President Trump.
As John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post, there are parallels to the situation faced by Ted Cruz’s foe, Marco Rubio, during the 2016 primaries. Much like Rubio, “the fact that there is no credible rival — almost none — has the potential to empower Trump’s enemies, some of whom are in fact too loyal to his third-tier real estate developments, construction and tourism enterprises.”
Podhoretz’s piece appears online as a letter from the editorial board of the Post to Republican candidates up and down the ballot.
In contrast to 2012 when Tea Party favorites like Palin, Huckabee and Santorum challenged fading, patrician Republicans like Romney and McCain, like Mitt and John and others, today the parties split. The Republican Party is a loose coalition of pragmatists who want to cut taxes, reform health care and speed up the retirement of Social Security, and is rapidly coming to the end of the primary season without an effective contender to oppose Hillary.
If there is indeed a third-party candidate, the possibility of crossing paths with a president with little grace and empathy, nevertheless tarnished by his share of abuses of power and immoral, indefensible behavior, is increasingly a real possibility. And in this Trump scenario, it will not only be low-polling gadflies like Andrew Jackson and wild-card candidates like Carrol “Godwin’s Law” Barry. It will also be “Bush 41, so gentle” and “Millard Fillmore” — as Podhoretz put it.
Read the full article here.