by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Traditional Republicans fancying the cracks in their party as an opening to primary President Trump in 2020 need to deal with one inconvenient fact: Republican voters aren’t interested.
The brawl for dominance in the Republican Party is certainly remarkable. Former President George W. Bush; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; the chairmen of two top Senate committees; and now Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; all have sharply rebuked Trump, questioning his fitness, integrity, and moral authority.
But their resistance, though hardly isolated, is missing one crucial element: a significant measure of enthusiasm from Republican voters. That’s a weak foundation from which to pursue a challenge to the renomination of a sitting president.
“You’ve got to understand the turf you’re fighting on,” said Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP campaign arm.
“Some of the members [of Congress] who’ve been picking petty battles with the president have done it on issues that aren’t really things that our voters are with them on,” Stivers added. “That matters.”