As much as people worry about being attacked by a shark, hit by lightning or trapped in a cab with Pauly Shore, such events are thankfully rare. If you are the president of the United States, here is something else you can add to the “long odds” list: Getting challenged for your own party’s nomination when re-election time rolls around. But Donald Trump may be tinkering with that likelihood.
His combative, nontraditional and, so far, not entirely effective way of running the White House has sent seismic tremors rumbling beneath Congressional Republicans. Some are already shrugging when asked if this is the man they want in 2020. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake insists President Trump is “inviting” a primary challenge. Granted, Flake is no Trump fan, but hearing anyone from a sitting president’s party publicly voice such heresy is startling.
President Trump clearly wants to be re-elected. He is already holding campaign events as if the vote is coming up this November, not three and a half years from now. He is flinging around the crackling language of the campaign trail, rallying donors, slamming the media and lashing out at anyone who even hints he might not be the right person for the job.
So why are members of his party pushing back? Because he is waging war on them almost as much as on the Democrats. His Twitter feed routinely savages GOP leaders and elected members. He blames them seemingly every time one of his legislative initiatives falls flat. In short, he often acts as if the interests of Donald Trump have nothing to do with the interests of the party … and many in that party are now returning the favor.
Granted, the election is far off, they could all patch things up, and incumbents usually get the party’s nod in re-election bids even if there are hard feelings. But the fact that these questions are being raised this early in the process ought to be a warning to the president’s team – he’s making Congressional Republicans uneasy, he’s not delivering the kind of leadership many of them can follow, and the long odds against a Republican revolt may be getting shorter.