Most sitting presidents would likely cringe at the thought of someone in their own party running against them during a re-election bid. But, Donald J. Trump isn’t an ordinary president. During an exclusive interview with President Trump, Fox News’ Harris Faulkner said, “So you mentioned Ohio, so I’m going to bring up John Kasich and I’m going to bring up Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. Because they say they may run against you in 2020.” Showing his trademark confidence, Trump responded, “I hope so.”
Referencing his approval ratings, the 45th President of the United States remarked, “I think I have the greatest base in the history of politics. I have people who love me, frankly. That includes a lot of women. I got a tremendous percentage of women last time.” According to Newsmax, a recent poll had President Trump at a 46 percent approval rating. The President chalked the poll up to all of the bad news coverage he gets. He stated, “When you tell me I’m at 48, last time it was at 50 percent at Rasmussen. When I am a 50 percent, and when I open up China like I’m doing right now, nobody reports it.”
During the sit-down with Faulkner, Trump voiced his particular pleasure with his support among women. He revealed that he didn’t think he would even get one woman’s vote in the 2016 election while running against female Hillary Clinton. The President stated, “Hillary wished she had my numbers. She got trounced with women.”
According to Fox News, an advisor for Governor John Kasich, Republican – Ohio, cautioned Trump the day after the President commented he’d welcome a 2020 challenge from his former rival. Chief political strategist John Weaver told CNBC “Be careful what you wish for.” Weaver revealed that Kasich is “open-minded” regarding possibly campaigning in 2020 as an Independent instead of running within the Republican Party.
However, Kasich’s advisor noted that his boss “is a Republican.” Earlier this month, Kasich talked about his political aspirations on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Concerning a 2020 presidential bid, the Governor of Ohio said, “We’re seriously talking about it with family and friends and political allies who have come to me about this.”
Last month while talking with Politico, outgoing Senator Jeff Flake, who is supposedly a Republican (AZ), didn’t shut the door either on a potential White House run against the incumbent Trump in 2020. He said he had neither “ruled it out” nor “ruled it in.” He emphatically stated, “I hope somebody does [run], just to remind Republicans what it means to be conservative and what it means to be decent. We’ve got to bring that back. You can whip up the base for a cycle or two but it wears thin. Anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.”
Apparently besides himself, Flake shared that he believed Kasich and Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, would be good candidates to give Trump a challenge in 2020.
History hasn’t shined favorably on sitting presidents who endured primary challengers in their re-election bids according to CNBC. Gerald Ford barely bested Republican Primary candidate Ronald Reagan in 1976. In 1980, Jimmy Carter was forced to square off against Ted Kennedy in the Democratic Primary. Both presidents ultimately lost their general elections in November.
One could easily make the case that Kasich and Flake would be inferior primary candidates to Ronald Reagan and Ted Kennedy. After all, Kasich faced Trump in 2016 and lost abysmally. Most people felt Flake declined to compete for his senate seat in 2018 because he knew he couldn’t retain it.
Easily defeating one of these weak candidates in a Republican Primary might make President Trump look even better in a general election. But, the President might be in serious trouble if Kasich, Flake, or some other politician associated with the Never Trump movement decides to run as an Independent in the general election. Anyone remember Ross Perot in 1992?
The third-party industrialist from Texas garnered nearly 19 percent of the popular vote as reported by Wikipedia. After the election, many Republicans blamed George H.W. Bush’s defeat on Perot (including H.W. himself). Of course, Trump is probably betting Kasich and Flake are merely bloviating and won’t have the guts to actually put their money where their mouth is when 2020 rolls around.