As a general rule, I try to avoid making political predictions. I can't always resist the urge to do so, and my track record along those lines is about average, especially now that we've slipped into an alternate universe in which a tabloid clown, complete with garish clown hair and makeup, is president.
Anyway, I'm definitely not predicting that Donald Trump will face one or more primary challengers in 2019-2020. But it's an increasingly likely prospect, knowing there are quite a few NeverTrumpers who also enjoy national recognition as presidential contenders. On Monday, Trump telegraphed the name of one potential primary opponent, former Ohio governor John Kasich, when Trump attacked his old 2016 election opponent in yet another childish tweet.
Before we talk about Kasich and the primaries, a quick note about the Ohio 12th district's special election results. Republican Troy Balderson hasn't been declared the winner, nor has the Democrat, Danny O'Connor, conceded. It's still an open race with a winner set to be declared sometime early next week. Simply put: no "BIG WIN," as Trump wrote. Even if Balderson wins, referring to this nail-biter as "big" would be a massive exaggeration, but one that's typical of Trump's lust for insane hyperbole.
Regarding Kasich, there's more bad news for Trump whose approval rating in Ohio is a dangerously anemic 43 percent. Kasich's Ohio approval rating is 52 percent. If you're a Trump voter reading this, Kasich's approval number is higher. [Cue Price Is Right fail horn.] And that's not all. Kasich jumped onto Twitter to offer up a reply to the president in GIF form.
I'm not a Republican. Obviously. And it'd take an absolute disaster on the Democratic side for me to vote for a Republican presidential candidate in the general, but I'd absolutely donate money to any Republican who chooses to primary-challenge Trump beginning next year. Think about this one. A year from right now, we will have already had a few presidential debates among the Democratic field, leading up to the Iowa caucus in 16 months. But, in addition to the Dem primaries, there might be a small slate of Republicans who decide to run in the primaries against Trump. Among them, John Kasich. Perhaps we'll also see Jeff Flake and/or Bob Corker jumping in. Hell, it wouldn't shock me to see Mitt Romney trying again, maybe late in the game.
Trump, naturally, would go the counter-intuitive route and actually savor being challenged like that. Trump always needs "villains" to attack and primary challengers would provide plenty of fuel for his social media whining. That said, Trump always makes things worse for Trump, and primary challengers never help sitting presidents seeking re-election, no matter how much Trump enjoys a repeat of his 2016 primary debates and so forth.
It's also possible, therefore, that Trump won't win enough delegates to capture the re-nomination of the Republican Party in what should otherwise be a cakewalk. This potential series of events might be the absolute best way to rid ourselves of the Trump crisis -- to make it impossible to be re-elected by blocking his campaign before it even gets to the general election against Democratic Nominee X. Adding insult to injury, Trump might decide to run for re-election as an independent candidate, splitting the Republican electorate and adding more fuel to a Democratic presidential victory in 2020.
This is the sort of humiliation that's required to destroy Trumpism with fire. All told, I'm much more interested in the possibility (still not predicting...yet) of one or more Republican primary challengers than the Democratic side. We already more or less know how the Dem process will turn out and it'll surely be ugly, with the far-left continuing to act as purist spoilers against the mainstream party. The Republicans are always more fun to watch because, well, in-fighting on the other side is always more fun to observe, and especially knowing Trump will be accosted publicly by his own party.
If you happen to read about Kasich and other Republicans popping up in Iowa and New Hampshire in the next four months, stand by for action.