True-Republican candidate must emerge now to challenge President Trump

  • Ed Murnane.

    Ed Murnane.

Posted1/25/2019 1:00 AM

What the Republican Party needs -- in fact, what America needs -- right now or in the very near future is for some brave and credible and accomplished Republican leader -- an elected official, preferably -- to announce that he or she is planning to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for president next year.

The person doesn't need to promise to challenge Trump, but that individual (and I am sure there are many who qualify, and maybe some who are contemplating it) must state that our government -- our country -- is not running the way it should be running right now and that a change must be made in the next presidential election. And that individual must indicate he or she will make the commitment if policies and behavior in the White House don't change now.


It must be done soon, because organizing presidential campaigns does not happen quickly.

Our president -- and he was elected and is entitled to the respect that goes with the office and the history of the office -- is betraying that respect and he is tarnishing the office he holds.

A challenge to Donald Trump in 2020 could be a unique experience in American political history. Rarely, if ever, has an incumbent President been denied the nomination for re-election by his own party if he sought it. But rarely has a president performed so poorly and seemed to relish conflicts more than accomplishments. And the accomplishments that have been achieved are overshadowed by boorish behavior and un-presidential taunting.

The Republican candidate would have to be known to the public -- someone whose name might not be in the news every day, but whom voters would remember and respect.

There are members of the Senate and House of Representatives, or governors, or former ambassadors or cabinet members who have distinguished themselves enough to have earned that respect -- maybe not this year or last year but recently enough that a serious challenge could be mounted.

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Shutdown is the sign of an individual who has no understanding of what others who don't share his wealth might be suffering, or an individual who has no realization of what government services to impoverished or hospitalized people or those in need of federal police protection, or of what military families who are already suffering because loved ones are far away, serving their country, might be going through.

It is a sign that our president is not someone who understands who the American people are, and what their needs are. People in the "Trump World" don't have to worry about a missed paycheck. But the millions who don't have huge (or any) savings and investments -- and that includes Republicans and Democrats -- may be going through a tremendous post-Christmas struggle that is difficult to bear.

And Trump doesn't understand that.

As a former mid-level participant in Republican Party politics, I am very confident that there are many -- MANY -- capable workers and supporters AND CONTRIBUTORS who would support a credible effort.

Government shutdown does not mean a shutdown of government tax collections -- that means every non-government employee who has taxes withdrawn from his or her weekly or monthly paycheck is still paying the government, and part of that money is likely used to pay for government services, but because of our president's temper tantrum, it is not.


I think, because of his own actions and performance, Donald Trump is the most vulnerable incumbent candidate I have ever seen, and I think some Republican ought to challenge him for the Republican nomination for President.

There is no guarantee an "anyone but Trump" Republican candidate would win. Trump may have poisoned the water for Republicans for years to come -- but he is vulnerable now to a Republican challenge. But only for a recognized and respected Republican -- who will remind Americans that the Republican Party -- the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower and Reagan -- recognizes who it is intended to serve.

Republicans need a presidential candidate in 2020 who can restore credibility and respect to the Republican Party and reassure Americans that Donald Trump is not -- was not -- the typical Republican nor, in fact, the typical American.

All Americans, in fact, need candidates for president who do not terrify them with what appears to be thoughtless and reckless conduct.

Ed Murnane,, of Arlington Heights, is retired president of the Illinois Civil Justice League and a former staff member for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

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