by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If you’re a conservative who subscribes to the old Reaganite mix of free-market economics, a strong national defense, and traditional values, it’s understandable that you might be less than fully satisfied with a Republican presidency that features $555 billion in new tariffs, $8.4 billion in new taxpayer-funded assistance to farmers to offset the effect of those tariffs, talk of a full withdrawal from Afghanistan, persistent presidential desire to withdraw from NATO, increasingly warm public praise of Kim Jong-un, a perpetually furious presidential Twitter feed full of personal insults, and six-figure payoffs to porn stars.
Unfortunately, the alternatives for traditional conservatives are not great, and the odds of another Republican winning the GOP nomination in 2020 are infinitesimal.
The Washington Post has an update this morning on the challenge to Trump from former Libertarian vice-presidential nominee and Massachusetts governor William Weld, and potential bids from former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh and former South Carolina congressman and governor Mark Sanford. Former Arizona senator Jeff Flake, too, says that he’s being encouraged to run by donors, though he “has told them he is unlikely to reconsider his decision but would keep the door slightly ajar.” GOP political consultant John Weaver says his former client John Kasich is “continually looking at this race,” which has apparently been Kasich’s position since he withdrew from the 2016 primaries.
“Anybody who says, ‘I think I can beat Donald Trump,’ I think is stretching it. It’s a daunting task and it is indeed preposterous at many different levels,” Sanford admits to the Post.