Saturday, November 17, 2018

Republican Primary

We have to think of these things first up here.  There are some people, even some Republicans, who think someone should challenge Trump in the primaries.  There is a claim that it's never good for politicians to think such things are their automatically - okay, I see that; and there is also the claim that if no one discusses the major issues from a Republican perspective, then the Democrats will control the narrative.  I see that as well, especially with a media who would love to spend months saying "Last night, candidate Hillary Clinton/Beto O'Rourke/Joe Biden/Elizabeth Warren hammered the Trump administration hard on the issue of______"

Still, I suspect most people making that suggestion mostly want to sow discord. Yet there is another point I think could be added:  What if Trump decides halfway through he doesn't want to run again?  What if he has a stroke, or dies? Do the votes revert to the second-place finisher? Or does that just guarantee a second-ballot convention?

I think Mike Pence should run against him. He could offer to make Trump his Vice President if he wins.


Christopher B said...

Whether it should happen or not, I don't think it will in a serious sense ala Ted Kennedy vs Carter. The media will likely hype whatever 2020 version of Evan McMuffin makes a show of running because Trump being primaried is the Dem/NeverTrump wet dream. It's not going to happen to a guy with 90% aporoval in his party, and that approval isn't going away without the assistance of a disaster of Biblical proportions.

GraniteDad said...

The only sort of people who can seriously challenge him, are exactly the sort of people you don’t want wasting their time and political capital at this point. Save it for 2024. I still think Trump is a terrible person, but I don’t think a primary challenge helps that at all.

Boxty said...

Take Ann Coulter's advice and run on Trump's failure to fulfill his promises and you'll have a chance to defeat Trump.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ Boxty - something to that. I predicted right from the start that despite all the hyperventilating, Trump was not going to be as radical as hoped/feared. He annoys the hell out of people with his tweets - which, BTW, frequently turn out to have been spot on but poorly timed, as with the California fires - but he has not been that radical in behavior. Just tone, which as he himself said last week, maybe was too much.

So someone who goes Uber-Trump, who says "hey, I loved the guy and I'm grateful, but he hasn't really delivered" would be an interesting challenge. Oddly, it would provide cover for Trump in his next term, as he can legitimately say "How can you say I'm such a radical? Look at the criticisms from the other side and evaluate the substance. They're sorta right. You are just responding to my tone - and that's just because YOU are thin-skinned."

Sam L. said...

AVI,I LIKE your comment.

Texan99 said...

A contested primary would be interesting in that Trump's presence would obligate his challengers to address completely different subjects from what they're used to. They could try the orange-man-bad line, or the soft-focus thousands-points-of-light stuff, but that wouldn't garner them much support from the GOP primary voters, however thrilled the press would be. It would be fascinating to see a GOP candidate try to persuade people that he's likely to deliver on more promises than Trump has done. Trump's not at 100%, but even at 5% he's ahead of the usual GOP performance. At 1% he would be ahead of the field in the parallel Democrat primary process. He's blown completely out of the water the usual GOP line that they'll fight for a lot of stuff but we can't expect any actual results, because the government is too complicated and we wouldn't understand. At the same time he's blown out of the water the usual Democrat line that progressivism is inevitable and we troglodytes should lie back and think of England.

GraniteDad said...

Yeah, I think I agree/disagree with you, Texan99. Agree 100% that you can't get much traction from a softer approach or a more moderate approach in the primary. So you have to run a more rough/hard-right approach. But Trump confounds that by not actually being very conservative. So he'd just swap and punch you for wanting to get rid of Medicare or something, then hop back to claiming that if your parents were Mexican you couldn't be impartial as a judge or something. He's not bound by ideology, and that makes him both terrific in a primary and terrifying as a conservative hoping for limited government.

I think where I disagree is whether he's accomplishing more than we'd expect of any other Republican president. Maybe that's not what you were saying, but it's what I heard, so I'm going to bounce off of that. Trump's not the driving force behind judges or the executive overreach that was over-turned early in his administration. It's people like Cocaine Mitch driving that, and he'd be doing that regardless of the president. And there's places where Trump does own the push (eg. nominees to executive positions) where his lack of emphasis is hurting the conservative cause. National Review had a great article recently by Jonathan Adler about how Trump's EPA keeps losing in court. Main reasons- they don't know how to get the changes made in a way that won't be overruled, and the key person to oversee that hasn't been approved. That's on Trump to push for.

So there's definitely good coming out of Washington in some key areas, but I don't think I'd give the majority of the praise to Trump.

Texan99 said...

I would say that there may be a lot of hot-button primary issues that Trump has questionable views on, but he'll actually express views on them. The traditional GOP primary candidate, who would rather die than admit what he thinks about an issue that might be controversial in the general election, is vulnerable to a candidate who says something definite that has considerable support among the primary voters, whether or not you and I (or D voters) might deplore it. If Trump wants to duck a dangerous primary issue, he'll start a fire in a trashcan, a strategy that actually works. His Romneyesque competitors will say something wishy-washy, which won't.

I'm not sure I agree about the judicial candidates. I credit Trump with a hard push there, though McConnell has been doing a fine job, too. Another GOP president probably would have caved on Kavanaugh, which might have led to a very different midterm result. If I believed Trump would do absolutely nothing else between 2020 and 2024, I'd still vote for him on his S. Ct. record, because the alternative is anathema on every level, not just the S. Ct. Sure, he farmed out the selection process to the Federalist Society, but that was a good call, transparent, and communicated to voters effectively and steadfastly before and after the 2016 election. I can't think of a president who's done as good a job selling his S. Ct. priorities to voters. Almost the entire GOP establishment quakes in terror over any discussion of Roe v. Wade.

I'm not up on the details of his administrative battles. I see some ineptitude there, but Trump strikes me as someone who can learn from tactical losses. Unless many politicians, he seems to judge his tactics in terms of whether they accomplished the concrete results he was pursuing. If they didn't, he won't stick to a playbook. He'll try something else.

GraniteDad said...

Fair points, all. I'm thinking the Trump presidency will be similar to Bill Clinton's- we'll need to evaluate at some distance to see what worked and what didn't, what was unique, what was a cultural shift, etc. It was easy in the Bill Clinton years to think he'd done something unique to the economy. With the remove of years, we can see the trends of technology fueling the economy, the rise of the internet, the post-Cold War spending freed up (and immediately plowed into debt), etc.

Of course, maybe all presidencies should be evaluated this way.