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Primary Challengers Doom Incumbent: NPR

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks on April 23 at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. The centrist Republican has criticized President Trump, leaving open the possibility to challenge him to nominate the GOP in 2020.

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks on April 23 at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. The centrist Republican has criticized President Trump and holds open the opportunity to challenge him for the 2020 GOP nomination.

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An incumbent president with a mediocre approval rating and increasing controversy is usually an easy task for primary challengers.

Look at Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Rifle. All three presidents survived in-party struggles, but these primary struggles hobbled their re-election campaigns, leaving everyone another four years in the White House, even if it was a viable GOP. The challenger of President Trump has surfaced. It is unlikely that he or she will make much progress or have a lasting impact on the president's chances in November. That's because Trump's determined look at the Republican Party could help him become not only victorious but relatively unscathed from a primary challenge.

According to Julian Zelizer, Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University, political polarization is higher than ever. And the electorate Trump likes does not move, no matter what the president says or does. In the meantime, those who dislike him are determined to despise and leave behind a smaller block of compelling voters than in previous elections.

"Trump has essentially redone the Republican Party after his image," said Zelizer. "So many people will not believe what the miller report says, and they take what Trump says is a gospel, which is just another stumbling block for me that you probably did not have in an era after Watergate." 19659013] In 2020, the Trump campaign was of great importance to large donors who rejected it in 2016. “/>

In 1976, President Gerald Ford was already in a weakened position. The Republican was an incumbent who had never been elected president (or even vice-president), and was challenged in a unique way after the Watergate scandal, the resignation of President Richard Nixon, and his later controversial pardon from Nixon. So it is not surprising that former California Governor Ronald Reagan was almost angry with him.

During the primaries, the momentum oscillated between the two GOP candidates. The first ballot at the 1976 Republican National Congress was razor-thin: 1,187 delegates for Ford and 1,070 for Reagan, only 117 votes difference. However, Ford barely cleared the 1,130 delegates needed for the nomination. Such a fragmentary ending would turn out to be preliminary months later, when he lost to former Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, and cast 240 electoral votes on the Democrats' 297 Madison Square Garden, Aug. 14, 1980. Kennedy's strong main challenge was contributing to Carter's eventual loss against Ronald Reagan in the fall.

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Four years later, amid a shrinking economy and the hostage crisis in Iran, Carter himself would come under pressure as he sought a second term. The Massachusetts senator, Edward Kennedy, whose brothers had both applied for the presidency, saw an opening. But despite the strong numbers at the beginning of elementary school, Kennedy would falter as his personal scandals cropped up and Carter simply out-organized him. Their fight would continue until the Democratic Congress in 1980, when Kennedy, who finished with just over a third of the primary votes, admitted he could not win.

The famous speech that Kennedy did not really consider as concession he held in New York The York Congress set out its own idealistic vision rather than trying to strengthen Carter.

"A few hours ago this campaign was over for me," said the political scion of the crowd. "For all those who took care of us, the work goes on, the thing is going on, the hope is still alive and the dream will never die."

As a result, it was Kennedy who received the fierce acclaim and seemed like the hero of the DNC in 1980, not the acting president, who had actually won the nomination. Carter faced another Reagan in the general election and won only 49 electoral votes for the Republicans (489).

Having received more than a third of the votes in New Hampshire's GOP primary area in 1992, candidate Pat Buchanan holds copies of a local newspaper headline reminiscent of a broken election pledge by incumbent Republican President George HW.

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With more than one-third of the vote in the New Hampshire GOP area code in 1992, candidate Pat Buchanan holds copies of a local newspaper headlined by a broken election pledge by incumbent Republican President George H.W. Bush.

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Maybe it's President George H.W. Bush's re-election campaign, which best anticipated the Trump era. The former vice president and CIA director saw high approval numbers after the Gulf War. But the economy would slow down and give the conservative commentator Pat Buchanan a rift he could exploit by offering to fight "cultural wars."

Buchanan would stall and Bush would ultimately lose less than a quarter of the primary vote, and billionaire Ross Perot, an independent candidate in parliamentary elections, deeply undermined the incumbent's chances. But there was an anti-establishment streak within the GOP that might have awakened Buchanan. It may have taken decades for Trump to fully manifest, but many saw Trump as the ultimate embodiment of what Buchanan helped to shape.

History does not always recur

Trump seems to have a stronghold to have his party, which can not shake any candidate. Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, repeatedly proves that "all previous rules do not apply."

"If we look back at the lessons of history, they may repeat themselves, but they have not got that far," Perry said. "He may be challenged by a strong poultry fly, a strong personality, or a strong presence in the party," as Ronald Reagan was at Ford in 1976 and Ted Kennedy in 1980 at Carter. "But I do not see that person on the horizon."

There are some potential challengers for Trump, but Perry is right that less than nine months before the nomination process begins, no Republican has emerged as a formidable alternative.

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is the only known candidate to have run the 2016 Libertarian Party ticket, along with former New Mexico Governor Johnson. But Weld does not seem to have the weight of past White House challengers who could irrevocably cause damage to an incumbent president.

Among the potential heavyweights still pondering deals is Ohio's former Governor John Kasich, who also sought the GOP The final nomination and the popular centrist Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan, who has already taken some early state action Has.

Frequent Trump agitators, such as former Arizona senator Jeff Flake, and former Senator of Tennessee, Bob Corker, were also deployed early. Since then, Flake has ruled out a 2020 run, but the recently retired Corker still sounds open and recently says Trump is "deliberately trying" to split the American people and someone should challenge him.

"Philosophically, one could look at it and say that it should be a good thing for our country if that happens," Corker said during the TIME 100 summit last month. "If you had a real elementary school where you had someone who really is being listened to, and substantive things we talked about – and I could go over a list of them – they would actually be discussed in a genuine way

There could have been other names on this list – prominent doubters of 2016 like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham or former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Despite their fierce criticism of the presenter and businessman of the polarizing reality television program nearly four years ago, they too have been Trump's loyal allies in the case of Graham or an earlier part of his administration until Haley acted as UN ambassador last year.

The president's poll numbers reflect the dwindling influence of the party's former vocal critics – they won the converts, even if they polarized more independent voters.

The Latest NBC News / Wall A Street Journal poll shows that as many as 90 percent of Republicans approve of Trump's work and leave little room for a challenger to gain a foothold. And right now, there is no GOP option that could really compete with Trump, given the unprecedented way he has tried to centralize the Republican National Committee for his re-election offer and ward off a primary challenge.

Tribalism is a force that Corker also lamented and said at the TIME event that Trump "has unusually visceral contact with the republican base that exists today … In a sense, the electorate today is where she has become very tribal by nature. "

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