The Trump campaign is working overtime to block even long-shot presidential candidates from challenging him for the 2020 nomination.
Trump's re-election campaign is working feverishly behind the scenes to short circuit any possible Republican challenger for the party nomination in 2020.
The Associated Press reports that the campaign has launched a "state-by-state effort to prevent an intraparty fight that could spill over into the general-election campaign."
For one, Team Trump is working to change state party rules to manipulate the outcome of 2020 nomination contests, all in favor of Trump. They also want to change party rules so that only the most loyal pro-Trump activists make it to the nominating convention.
"It is an acknowledgement that Trump ... hasn't completely cemented his grip on the GOP," AP wrote.
But a recent poll from Monmouth University found that 43 percent of Republicans want to see the primary contested, rather than blindly back Trump.
"They're doing too much. It looks weak," John Weaver, a senior adviser to former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said of the Trump campaign tactics. Kasich is supposedly considering a challenge to Trump. He is currently a talking head on CNN.
There have also been rumblings that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is considering a run against Trump. He would be an unlikely nominee from an extremely Democratic state, and one who is out of sync with the Republican base on many key issues.
Yet Trump is clearly concerned about threats from potential candidates like Kasich and Hogan. The fear could be connected to realizing that he is extremely unpopular.
The 2018 election was also unkind to Trump and Republicans in Congress backing his legislative agenda. Trump lost 40 seats as a blue wave washed over them.
Even going back to Trump's biggest political triumph — winning in the 2016 general election — more people voted for Secretary Hillary Clinton than voted for him. The margin of her popular vote victory was nearly 3 million.
Trump has never received the support of a majority of voters. He came in second place in the popular vote for the presidential election and lost his party 40 seats in 2018.
Trump should be riding high as the economic recovery that began under President Barack Obama continues. Instead, his campaign is looking over its shoulder at long-shots, seemingly afraid of voters turning on Trump, and trying to ensure that Trump is the only option for Republicans in 2020.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.