Current incumbent President Donald J. Trump holds approximately 85% of Republican support for the 2020 Presidential Election. The remaining 15% is divided semi-equally among Trump’s three opposers - Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford, and Bill Weld. The Primaries look to be that of a shoo-in for Trump, so much so that several states have even gone as far as to not hold a Republican Primary ballot, much to the chagrin of the three underdogs. The question is - was the Republican Primary in Trump’s hand from the get-go, or was there a time in which the victor was still up in the air, and is it possible for the tables to turn in another candidate’s favor?
Generally, an incumbent of any public office has the upper-hand whenever running for re-election, they are a familiar eye to the public, have access to specific voter data, and already have an organized campaign staff and an established budget. Although Primaries are usually not as skewed towards one candidate as it looks to be for Trump, it is no surprise that he automatically holds the upper hand. The sheer unlikeliness of any of Trump’s opposition has led to them being ridiculed by the president himself, and by steadfast supporters of his campaign.
Although Walsh, Sanford, and Weld all have different specific reasons for being discontented with Trump’s leadership - a general consensus that they have all come to is that they believe many of Trump’s voters are reluctant to support his campaign, and they wish to provide an alternative option so that while they are able to continue supporting their party, they are not locked on one official, who may come across as unsavory to some.
The Republicans who’ve chosen to support a Republican candidate other than Trump have somewhat formed an allegiance to one another, as “Republicans Against Trump” this division between the Republican party may seem insignificant to some, as Trump still holds the vast majority of Republican votes, may be damaging in the long run to Trump’s campaign as the Primaries conclude and votes are cast for the two Nominees.
It is not uncommon for members of the same party to endorse campaigns after dropping out, in order to give their supporters a new public figure to campaign for and to ensure that their interests are met in the best alternative method to their assuming the office themselves. This generally happens when a candidate has received such little support, that it as seen as a waste of both time and money to continue funding a lost cause. While none of the Republicans have dropped out just yet, the chances of it happening are increased by the day, as we get closer and closer to the Primaries, and Trump continues to gain support. Interestingly enough, all three of these candidates have made it their mission to prevent Trump from claiming the Oval Office once again, and have heavily implied that they’d rather have any other candidate win the election.
In conclusion; the three Republicans running against Trump have virtually no chance of winning the Primaries. However, damage could be done to Trump’s campaign in the general election if they were to encourage their voters to lend their support to a Democratic candidate. Doing so would give the Republicans who have a distaste for Trump another official to believe in, while still, in their eyes, serving the best interests of their party. This is the most likely turn for the Republican candidates to take, as the odds continue to stack in Trump’s favor with each passing day. If the ultimate goal is to deal with the most devastating possible blow to Trump’s campaign, they certainly have the ability to do so with the support of anti-Trump Republicans and independents.