With Donald Trump being “individual No. 1”, clearly the center of probes by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel, and also by the Southern District of New York, the likelihood grows of Republicans, who have just come off a 40 seat loss in the House and control of the lower chamber, being alarmed enough that serious challengers to Donald Trump’s nomination for a second term seem likely.
One can expect the following Republicans to consider challenges to Trump.
Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse.
Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 Presidential nominee.
Outgoing Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.
Former South Carolina Governor and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
There could be others as well, but this list seems quite realistic, although the more that challenge Trump, the less likely there would be success.
It would be much easier if only one challenger took the bait, and went after Trump.
One can think back to 1979-1980, when President Jimmy Carter was challenged by both Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and California Governor Jerry Brown.
The one thing about even one challenger to a sitting President is that the result has been that while the President won the nomination, he ended up losing the election, with three of the four times losing massively.
William Howard Taft won only 23 percent in 1912 after being challenged by former President Theodore Roosevelt, and having to deal with TR as the Progressive Party nominee, as well as Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson.
Jimmy Carter won only 41 percent in 1980 after being challenged by Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown, and having to deal with an independent nominee, John Anderson, as well as Republican nominee Ronald Reagan.
George H. W. Bush won only 37 percent in 1992 after being challenged by Pat Buchanan, and having to deal with independent nominee Ross Perot and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton.
At this point, before we begin the new year, it would seem as if John Kasich would have the upper hand on a challenge over others, and that Ben Sasse, representing a new generation of conservative leadership, would be an additional major challenge to Trump, were Sasse willing to mount a campaign.
Of course, any challenge to Trump would also be indirectly a challenge to Vice President Mike Pence as the “heir apparent”.