The Trump presidency has gotten off to a rocky start, and it’s far from certain that Donald will finish his first term in office, let alone progress to a second term. He certainly seems to want to, seeing as he is continuing to hold campaign rallies, even while in the White House, but still, it’s far from certain whether or not he will be able to launch an even remotely successful bid for the White House by the time 2020 rolls around.
With this in sight, Democratic Party leaders aren’t the only ones trying to pull themselves together in time for the 2020 presidential election. Leading Republicans have also begun “to take political steps that are unheard-of so soon into a new administration.” The New York Times interviewed “more than 75 Republicans at every level of the party,” and most of them “expressed widespread uncertainty about whether Mr. Trump would be on the ballot in 2020 and little doubt that others in the party are engaged in barely veiled contingency planning.”
One of those who might rise up in 2020 to take Trump’s place is his current vice president, Mike Pence. The NYT reports that “multiple advisers to Mr. Pence have already intimated to party donors that he would plan to run if Mr. Trump did not.” The paper adds that the second-in-command’s “schedule is so full of political events that Republicans joke that he is acting more like a second-term vice president hoping to clear the field than a No. 2 sworn in a little over six months ago.”
Pence has created his own Political Action Committee, called the Great America Committee, with a former fundraiser for George W. Bush named Jack Oliver helping him get it off the ground. The Great America Committee has, remarkably, begun to raise even more in disclosed donations than Donald Trump’s own primary Political Action Committee.
As yet another seeming marker of Pence’s determination to set himself apart from run-of-the-mill submissive vice presidents, Pence appointed experienced political operative Nick Ayers to be his new chief of staff last month, departing with the “tradition” for vice presidents to appoint federal government veterans to that position.
There has been talk of Pence taking office well before 2020, should Trump be impeached, but that remains just that, talk, at present, with the fact that the GOP currently controls Congress, meaning that impeachment proceedings against Donald aren’t likely going to get off the ground anytime soon.
Other potential 2020 Republican candidates include the staunchly anti-Trump Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. Kasich was the last candidate to withdraw from the 2016 Republican presidential primary race before Trump claimed the nomination, and he’s never been on board with the belligerent businessman’s politics. Kasich “has declined to rule out a 2020 campaign in multiple television interviews, and has indicated to associates that he may run again, even if Mr. Trump seeks another term.”
As leading GOP donor Jay Bergman noted, the fate of the Republican Party in the 2018 midterm elections could be either a setback to potential Trump challengers or a boost. The GOP is monumentally unpopular at present, and preliminary polling looks like Democrats will win across the board come 2018, but it remains to be seen if the Democrats can actually pull it off and thus undercut the Trump-ian version of the Republican Party.
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