In his column for the Daily Beast, longtime political commentator Michael Tomasky admitted that former GOP lawmaker Joe Walsh stands no chance of unseating Donald Trump as the Republican party’s 2020 presidential candidate — but that his upstart campaign may drive a wedge between the president and wavering GOP voters.
As Tomasky explains it, “On the one hand, Walsh is obviously not going to win the Republican nomination for president. He served a mere one term in Congress. He may not raise much money and thus may not be able to run anything like a conventional campaign.”
However there is an upside, he suggests.
“More recently, he [Walsh] has been a Rottweiler biting Trump’s corpulent ass,” he wrote. “I’m sure you’ve seen some of his tweets over the years. They’re vicious. So the guy ain’t afraid. And though he’s a pretty rabid right-winger, most of his tweets about Trump read as if they could have been written by anybody with politics more like mine—they’re almost entirely about what a lying, unprincipled hulk of condemned meat Trump is.”
Noting Walsh “has a large Twitter following (207,000) and a nationally syndicated radio show,” Tomasky said he could make a difference by inflicting additional damage on Trump from the right as Democrats slam the president from the left.
Quoting Walsh saying of Trump, “I’m running because he’s unfit; somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative. The country is sick of this guy’s tantrum—he’s a child,” the liberal columnist speculated some conservative voters likely agree.
“Ah, but you say, Republicans don’t want to hear that. To which I say, well, most of them don’t, true,” he wrote. “But I’ve noticed something interesting happening lately. Trump’s numbers among even Republicans are starting to drop, a little. That is something to watch—and it, combined with feral attacks from a primary opponent who, every time Trump lies, will stand up and say ‘that’s a lie,’ and who will be speaking directly to Republican voters about why it’s a disgrace to have Donald Trump in the White House, could actually add up to something.”
Crunching the numbers, Tomasky suggested a possible outcome in the 202o election.
“So let’s say 28 percent of registered voters are Republican. Twenty-eight percent of 175 million is basically 50 million. Okay, now let’s say by election time, Trump is at 80 percent among Republicans. Well, 20 percent of 50 million is 10 million. That means that 10 million Republicans can maybe be persuaded to vote against the man. Or to withhold their support from him and stay home,” he wrote before adding, “Given how close the vote totals were in 2016 in a number of states, these 10 million could make an enormous difference.”
“So 80-percent support in a president’s own political party may sound high at first glance, but it’s not. It’s shaky territory. I’m not saying Trump is there quite yet. But there are encouraging signs that he’s headed in that direction. And Walsh obviously wants to take him there and doesn’t care if he costs Trump the White House and maybe even hopes he does,” he concluded.
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