A day after his adopted state violated its own rules by canceling the 2020 “First in the South” presidential primary, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford announced he would challenge U.S. president Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination.
The move – which Sanford has been mulling for several months – comes at a time when concerns over the health of the American economy are intensifying. Sanford is not making his case against Trump on the basis of the economy, though (at least not yet).
“I am compelled to enter the presidential primary as a Republican for several reasons – the most important of which is to further and foster a national debate on our nation’s debt, deficits and spending,” Sanford tweeted. “We have a storm coming that we are neither talking about nor preparing for given that we, as a country, are more financially vulnerable than we have ever been since our nation’s start and the Civil War. We are on a collision course with financial reality. We need to act now.”
Will Sanford receive a warm welcome from GOP voters? Doubtful …
Is he a perfect messenger when it comes to fiscal issues? Hell no …
In fact, in our very first assessment of Sanford’s presidential ambitions several months ago we referred to him as the “worst” of all potential presidential messengers against Trump.
“The message Sanford intends to articulate against Trump needs to be heard. Desperately.,” we wrote back in June. “Unfortunately, the former ‘Luv Gov’ is the absolute worst person imaginable to deliver that message.”
(Click to view)
(Via: The White House)
We also suspect Trump (above) will have a field day poking away at Sanford’s lack of credibility.
As we have noted for several years now, after an encouraging beginning to his political career Sanford has emerged as a definitional hypocrite on the tax-and-spending issues he claims to be championing. This hypocrisy was particularly pronounced during his second stint in the U.S. congress from 2013-2019 – which led to his defeat in the 2018 GOP primary at the hands of then-state representative Katie Arrington.
In 2002, Sanford campaigned successfully for governor of South Carolina as a “leader, not a politician.” Instead he turned out to be a politician, not a leader.
Still, we maintain his candidacy should be taken seriously – if for no other reason than he is the only one talking about America’s rapidly deteriorating fiscal situation.
Also, Sanford’s candidacy will receive plenty of attention from the national media, which Trump has blasted as “enemies of the state.” If that attention ultimately translates into a meaningful discussion of our nation’s unsustainable fiscal trajectory, we are all for it.
(Click to view)
(Via: Sanford for Congress)
“With the national mainstream media eager (desperate?) to provide a steady supply of oxygen to a credible Trump challenger within the GOP … Trump’s lack of fiscal discipline offers an obvious foothold,” we noted back in July.
We also noted that if the modest economic growth American has experienced over the last two-and-a-half years (a.k.a.. Trump’s saving grace with voters) should begin to reverse itself, “Sanford could wind up being a far more credible contender than anyone possibly imagined.”
A two-term South Carolina governor (from 2003-2011) and two-time U.S. congressman (from 1995-2001 and again from 2013-2019), Sanford is best known nationally for the memorable fall from grace he experienced in aftermath of an extramarital affair with his Latin lover and “soulmate,” María Belén Chapur.
Trump has already seized on Sanford’s fall, referring to him as “Mr. Appalachian Trail” in connection with the famous lie Sanford told his staff regarding his whereabouts during a secret 2009 trip to Argentina to visit Chapur.
What do you think? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our always lively comments section below …
Will Mark Sanford emerge as a credible challenger to Donald Trump?
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