It was difficult to write that headline without smirking.
But apparently someone, somewhere believes that former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford actually has a chance of winning the 2020 Republican nomination, defeating not only political powerhouses like Bill Weld (who?) and Joe Walsh (that guy?) but also President Donald Trump. He made it official on Fox News Sunday, where he told Chris Wallace that he was looking to rescue the Republican Party from the wayward path it’s been on since Trump took over as its de facto leader.
“I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican. I think that as a Republican Party, we have lost our way,” Sanford said.
Making things slightly more difficult for Sanford: South Carolina Republicans voted this weekend to scrap the presidential primaries next year. Kansas and Nevada will also save themselves the money it would take to put on this dog-and-pony show.
Sanford seems clear that he is unlikely to wrest the nomination away from the wildly-popular president, but he told Wallace that he was an “ideas” guy, and that somehow makes it justifiable for him to waste donors’ money and chip away at Trump’s solidity moving into the general election next year.
“This is the beginning of a long walk,” he said, “but it begins with a first step.”
Sanford said he wants to use his campaign to draw attention to issues that the modern Republican Party has ignored, such as the national debt, the yearly deficit, and overblown government spending. We, of course, agree that these are issues that the GOP seems all too willing to ignore, but then again, that’s nothing new for Washington Republicans. Conservative politicians love to talk about fiscal restraint when a Democrat is in the White House, and they love to campaign on these issues. They just so happen to ignore them when it comes time to actually pass a budget. But this hypocrisy sure as hell didn’t begin under the presidency of Donald Trump, so you have to wonder how genuine Sanford’s concerns here really are.
Furthermore, if you really are worried about the rising debt, the last thing you should want is to see one of these socialist Democrats take the election next year. And let’s be clear – by challenging Trump in the primaries, that is the ONLY thing you’re setting the stage for. Every attack that convinces even a single voter to think twice about Trump as president makes it that much easier for a Biden, a Warren, or a Sanders to win next November. How much fiscal conservatism do you think you’ll get from those three, Mr. Sanford?
Last year, when Sanford was making an ill-fated bid for Congress, Trump said he was “better off in Argentina.”
As far as we can see, this remains true.