According to conservative columnist Matt Lewis, conservatives are setting the stage to primary Donald Trump and take back the Republican Party.
In a piece for the Daily Beast entitled, “Here’s How the GOP Resistance Takes Down Trump in 2020,” Lewis notes that longtime conservative activists are already working behind the scenes to push at least one challenger into a race against Trump in the hopes that others will join in and bring some Republican voters back.
“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 writes. “If you read conservative sites as I do, you’ll know that a loosely formed Greek chorus of conservative Trump critics has been predicting this for some time now.”
According to the conservative columnist, quoting Jerry Taylor, head of the Niskanen Center which hosted a conservative anti-Trump get-together, activists are not looking for “a candidate representing ‘Reaganite conservatism in the Bill Buckley tradition’ who wouldn’t have a shot against Trump, since—as Taylor notes—Fox News now defines what constitutes ‘conservative.’
Instead, they will first look at Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who was described as “a more experienced, competent, ethical populist than Trump,” with Taylor saying, “…a weakened Trump ends up fighting a weird two-front primary war with Hogan on his populist left and Ann Coulter for president on his populist right.”
“Indeed, Hogan, a cancer survivor who has been elected twice in the blue state of Maryland, but is largely unknown outside his state, would pose a very different challenge from the kind of adversaries (think Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz) that Trump dispatched in 2016,” Lewis writes. “
“Back to the plan,” Lewis continues. “It goes like this. Hogan starts softening up Trump. And then, step two is this: Something magical happens. Maybe it comes from Robert Mueller, maybe it’s an economic downturn, maybe it’s Trump using emergency powers, or maybe it’s some external event nobody sees coming. But something big happens.”
“Maybe even—and this is arguably the best scenario for the anti-Trump forces—a weakened Trump ends up fighting a weird two-front primary war with Hogan on his populist left and Ann Coulter for president on his populist right,” he added. “Now comes the coup de grace: In an effort to save the party from imploding, Nikki Haley is reluctantly drafted into the race. She rides in on a white horse and instantly becomes consensus choice of what is left of the Republican Party.”
Admitting that it is a fantasy plan, Lewis suggested sometimes you have to “shoot for the moon.”
“Just as Ronald Reagan staked out the future by running (and losing) in 1976, presenting an alternate vision to Trump for young Republicans is a worthwhile endeavor,” he concluded.