Futile Dreams of Primarying Trump out of Office

Monday, February 25, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Taylor Lewis
February 25, 2019

A recent column by Matt Lewis in the Daily Beast takes (almost) seriously the chances of a successful primary challenge to President Trump. Lewis, the author of a book on the dumbing down of the Republican Party during 2016, is no fan of the President. He’s an admitted Never Trumper, who, like his fellow partisans of the Never-Trump stripe, still envisions himself as part of Nock’s “remnant,” holding true to Republican Party platform of 1983.

“Once considered a preposterous idea (‘It’s Trump’s party!’ ‘The takeover is complete!!’), it looks like Donald Trump will face a primary challenge,” Lewis begins his exposition. Just as wishful thinking usually has some element of truth to it, the dreamy Lewis is right about one thing: Trump does have a primary challenge. Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld has launched a Republican challenge to the President. Political talk shows may be taking Weld’s bid semi-seriously, but let’s just put it to bed right now: a former blue-state governor who endorsed both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is campaigning for publicity, not caucus wins.

Weld is not the hero Lewis is looking for. And he knows that. He’s not looking for a “savior to rise from these streets” but rather a constellation of factors that would somehow tilt the field just enough to provide an opening for a Reaganite insurgent to seriously challenge Trump.

But first, what evidence does Lewis cite to back up his claim that an intraparty Trump challenge is no longer “preposterous”? In all-too-typical Washington fashion, Lewis calls on a potpourri of failed prognosticators. Alumni of the defunct Weekly Standard like Bill Kristol and Jonathan Last believe a GOP challenge is already baked into the primary crust. Jonah Goldberg thinks there’s “ample demand” for an upstart Republican to challenge the President for the Party’s mantle.

Oh, pray tell, Mr. Goldberg! Within which fish or flesh does this enjoining dwell? It’s hard to say, other than in the imaginations of Loudoun and Fairfax County denizens. Or, in the invidious pages The Bulwark.

Outside of those sparsely populated areas of right-wing dissent, the President is doing just fine. Trump commands a near 90% approval rating from Republicans writ large. Even his emergency declaration over the border wall — an unprecedented move according to anyone who skipped their middle-school lesson on the Louisiana Purchase — is backed by 85% of the GOP voters. The only conservatives wringing their hands over the decree are Evan McMullin supporters.

If Lewis thinks the laid-off high-school grad who finally got another manufacturing job gives a toss about the dubious constitutionality of the U.S. President using powers delegated to him by Congress securing the border, he may need to trade in his Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruise tickets for bus fare to Grand Rapids.

Despite the dearth of evidence that Trump faces any kind of resistance within his own party, Lewis sketches out his moonshot scenario where the President is knocked from his horse and a new conservative champion takes the reins. It may be best to wear a heaume and chainmail while envisioning this “larping” fantasy.

The Rest…HERE

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