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NYT wonders if Republicans challenging Trump are the ‘Three Musketeers’ or the ‘Three Stooges’

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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.'”

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“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.”

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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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2020 Election

Trump’s 2020 campaign distances itself from absurdly violent pro-Trump video

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A brutal video clip depicting Donald Trump shooting and stabbing media characters and political opponents was shown at a conference for his supporters, the New York Times reported Sunday.

In the internet meme -- taken from a scene in the movie "Kingsman: The Secret Service" -- the US president's head is superimposed on a man opening fire at people whose faces have been replaced with the logos of outlets including CNN, the Washington Post and NBC TV.

As the rampage continues inside the "Church of Fake News", the Trump character strikes late senator John McCain on the back of the neck and torches the head of Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential rival.

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2020 Election

Furious ex-White House official rains hell on Trump video of church slaughter: ’Mass shootings are not jokes!’

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A CNN panel was equally appalled and furious about a video that was shown at the conservative conference held at a hotel owned by Donald Trump that showed the president slaughtering church worshipers who represented  CNN, NPR, MSNBC and Black Lives Matter in the "Church of Fake News."

Speaking with hosts John Avlon and Alisyn Camerota, former President Bill Clinton communications director Joe Lockhart seemed visibly angry that it was shown at a conservative sanctioned event that featured Sarah Sanders and Don Trump Jr. as speakers.

Asked by Avlon, "Has there been anything remotely like this in American political history or something truly new and dangerous?"

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2020 Election

Voters often parrot the party line, even when polls suggest otherwise

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As the 2020 election approaches, voters will see a variety of polls. Many of them will be misleading.

Over time, political science has learned which types of questions are informative and which are not, based on models of public opinion. But many of the questions that polling organizations ask simply do not inform the public.

I am a political scientist who studies polarization and the gaps between the public and their representatives on political matters.

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