President Donald Trump’s three Republican challengers for the GOP’s 2020 nomination were featured in a new 1,500-word profile by The New York Times that was published online on Saturday.
Former Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC), former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and former Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA) are all challenging the incumbent.
“Supporters of Mr. Trump’s Republican challengers refer to them as the ‘Three Musketeers,’ and argue that having a trio of challengers — however long their long-shot bids are — could add up to enough of a nuisance to whittle away support for a vulnerable incumbent,” the newspaper reported. “The president, on Twitter, has given them a more demeaning nickname: ‘the Three Stooges.'”
“The reality of their shared project of depriving Mr. Trump of his party’s nomination may fall somewhere between fearless and farcical. His challengers were all defeated in their last races and have little to lose in taking on what appears to be a fool’s errand: challenging a president whose approval rating in his own party ranks consistently in the high 80s,” the paper explained. “But with three Republicans running — each representing a different constituency in the party — coupled with a softening economy and Mr. Trump’s own falling poll numbers against almost any Democrat, the theory of the case is that reluctant Trump voters may start to see a way out.”
One major talked-about candidate, RNC 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, told The Times he was “100 percent not running” and “probably will not endorse any candidate for president.”
But the three candidates who are running may actually be helping each other.
“The Weld campaign has seen an uptick in interest and engagement since Congressmen Walsh and Sanford got into the race,” according to R. J. Lyman, the chairman of Weld’s campaign. “Online fund-raising yields more on a daily basis than it did before.” Mr. Weld’s average donation has jumped to $50 from $25 since Mr. Walsh and Mr. Sanford entered the race.”
Even if the three are unsuccessful at beating Trump in the primaries, they may still help knock him out of office in the general election.
“In the past, when sitting presidents face heated primaries, they often failed to survive the general election. President Lyndon B. Johnson was effectively driven from seeking re-election after Eugene McCarthy showed surprising strength in New Hampshire in 1968. President Jimmy Carter had to contend with a serious challenge from Edward M. Kennedy for much of 1980, and lost re-election, as did President George Bush in 1992 after he was forced to contend with Patrick J. Buchanan,” The Times reminded.
Read the full story.
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