Monday, July 22, 2019

Mark Sanford's Proposed Primary Challenge Against Trump

Mark Sanford has had an interesting career.

The former Governor of South Carolina penned a beautiful editorial about what it meant for Barack Obama to compete in his state's primary in 2008. Of course, his tenure as Governor is most renowned when he went missing -- "hiking the Appalachian Trail", his staff claimed -- in order to visit a mistress in Buenos Aires.

An improbable comeback saw him elected to the House, only to lose a primary challenge from far-right Republican Katie Arrington, who in turn improbably lost the general election in a deep red seat to Democrat Joe Cunningham.

And now Sanford is mulling challenging Donald Trump in the Republican primary.

What's interesting is that while Sanford is at least decently positioned to tackle Trump on his racism and bigotry (Sanford was one of the more vocal Republicans calling him out on that while in Congress), that doesn't sound like it will be the focus of his proposed primary:
But notably, Sanford, who has been a vocal critic of Trump in the past, isn’t here to reclaim morality, or stand against Trump’s racist rhetoric. Trump’s racism is all distraction, Sanford says, from what he sees as the true problem facing America: bloated Social Security and Medicare programs raising the national debt.
“It’s this sort of nuclear swirl with Trump in the center of it in Republican circles, and in the process, we’re not talking about issues like the debt and the deficit that I think really are going to impact people’s lives in profound ways,” he said. “I would rather you get a little more excited about debt, deficit, and government spending than the tone I hear in your voice. I want passion. I want passion on this subject.”
Now, to be sure -- a GOP primary against Trump for his racism would be doomed to fail for the simple reason that Trump's racism is overwhelmingly popular among Republicans. But at least it'd provide a stark moral narrative. A campaign centered around the scintillating subject of the national debt is both doomed to fail and pointless.

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