Disgraced former governor Mark Sanford has announced that he will challenge President Trump in the Republican presidential primaries next year. Trump tweeted these responses this morning:
…but then he ran for Congress and won, only to lose his re-elect after I Tweeted my endorsement, on Election Day, for his opponent. But now take heart, he is back, and running for President of the United States. The Three Stooges, all badly failed candidates, will give it a go!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2019
I like the Flaming Dancer reference. The other two “stooges” are former Massachusetts Governor William Weld and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh. What I wonder is, why are they doing it? Trump is immensely popular among Republicans, consistently polling over 90%. He has been a successful president, and none of these challengers can possibly believe that, even if could get the nomination, he would be a stronger general election candidate than the president.
So what’s the point? Maybe it’s a desire to push a specific issue; Sanford apparently intends to run as the anti-debt candidate, inaugurating, evidently, a new image as a principled politician. Maybe it’s a desire to stay relevant, or possibly to sell books. In any event, these challenges are destined to be even more futile than the usual tilting against an incumbent president.
Of course, Trump’s enemies tend not to be deterred by futility. I am not sure whether Max Boot is kidding here or not; his obsessive attacks on the president make me suspect he is serious:
No matter how many columns or sound bites I produce, Trump remains in office, acting (as Sharpiegate shows) more erratically than ever. I am left to ask if all my work has made any difference. Chores produce more measurable results. My column: https://t.co/gBumLjXT6V
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) September 7, 2019
I can sympathize. I wrote post after post criticizing President Obama, and nevertheless–would you believe it?–eight years later he was still in office. I don’t expect the Stooges to have any greater impact than Mr. Boot has had.