Jeff Flake may challenge Trump in 2020
Senator Jeff Flake was in New Hampshire to speak at the famous "politics and eggs" event at St. Anselm College where many a presidential hopeful has auditioned for the role.
So, naturally, one of the most prominent NeverTrumpers in politics would fuel speculation that he will challenge Donald Trump in the Republican primaries of 2020.
“It has not been in my plans to run for president, but I have not ruled it out,” the 55-year-old Republican said Friday in his first solo political appearance in New Hampshire. The state is expected to host the nation’s first presidential primary election in less than two years.
He continued: I hope that that someone does run in the Republican primary, somebody to challenge the president. I think that the Republicans want to be reminded what it means to be a traditional, decent Republican.”
After attacking Trump in a speech that spanned nearly 20 minutes, Flake earned a standing ovation from the packed room that gathered for the esteemed “Politics and Eggs” speaker series at Saint Anselm College.
Flake is among a very small group of Republican elected officials speaking out against the Trump presidency with increasing alarm.
He has already written a book that slams Trump, condemned Trump on the Senate floor and charged in a speech on Thursday at the National Press Club that his party “might not deserve to lead” because of its blind loyalty to Trump. By visiting New Hampshire, Flake is now declaring the possibility of another tactic: a 2020 primary challenge.
On the ground in the Granite State, a full year before presidential candidates typically begin courting local voters, there is already an expectation among top Republicans that Trump will face a challenge from within his own party in the next presidential contest. Yet few think Trump could be defeated, even under the worst circumstances.
Steve Duprey, who represents New Hampshire at the Republican National Committee, said: “It’s virtually impossible to beat an incumbent for the nomination. But that doesn’t prevent people from trying with various degrees of seriousness.”
“I think there will be some primary,” he added. “Whether it’s a serious contender or a protest candidate that the president’s team would have to take seriously, it’s too early to tell.”
The only way that Trump gets a serious competitor for the primaries is if he is impeached. The GOP looks like it's in real trouble at this point given that they have failed to show so far that they can get their voters to the polls while Democrats are rabidly enthusiastic. So if Democrats take over the House we all know what their first order of business is going to be.
That still may not be enough to dethrone Trump. The incumbent has packed state party organizations with his loyalists which means that the game is rigged against any challenger already. Flake is not presidential material and even big money donors who hate Trump might hesitate to help him.
But if the GOP is blown out in the mid terms, Republicans may panic and several challengers may emerge. That plays right into Trump's hands as he could easily defeat a field of 3 or 4 candidates.
Trump is in no danger as long as nothing catastrophic happens that makes it appear his defeat in the general election is probable.