When Joe Walsh announced that he’d be running to be the Republicans’ nominee for 46th president of the United States, the phrase ‘long shot’ came to the minds of more than a few gamblers and political strategists. Regardless of the bookmakers and power brokers, it’s more than possible for Walsh to shake up a political landscape dominated by Donald Trump. With the right political strategy, NeverTrumpers, with a Joe Walsh campaign as their representative, could beat Trump in 2020.
In the era of Trump, ‘long shots’ are more than possible. Lest we forget, Trump was once a long shot. The polls said that he could never hit the bullseye. But today, he’s the leader of the free world.
Fervent EverTrumpers such as Fox News’ Laura Ingraham may see NeverTrumpers as ‘clinging to a Republican party that no longer exists’. However, fantasy or not, Joe Walsh’s candidacy is necessary, if for no other reason than healing divisions between NeverTrump conservatives and conservative Trump supporters. The question is, does Walsh believe that this necessary task is essential to the success of his campaign and the mending of a fractured party?
Even if Walsh loses, which is a strong possibility, the restoration and invigoration of the Republican party would undoubtedly be an achievement. It may be excessive to entirely attribute the party’s current problems to Trump and his political dogmas, if they can be called that. But the rise to power of a Republican president who isn’t an avowed conservative or a Reagan Republican definitely shook things up.
Walsh’s candidacy shows that conservatives are not just interested in group-think, the accursed trait that runs through the DNA of much leftist ideology. Walsh shows the nation, and the world, that not all Republicans are Bannonite nationalists. Of course, Walsh has his work cut out for him if he is to reach the Trump supporters who don’t trust him. He will even have to find some brilliant way to persuade people that he will work to maintain the economic boom that we have seen under Trump. Most logical people, Bill Maher aside, want to see the economy continue its historic rise.
Walsh will have to work even harder to walk back from a long list of inflammatory remarks. As much as he has blasted Trump for controversial utterances, Walsh has a history of his own from his time as a radio disc jockey, and through social media. His history of racist tweets, especially toward Obama, might mean that he will have to do everything just short of promising reparations to win many Obama-supporting Americans back.
Well, let us be honest. In order to win over even some Democrats, Walsh would have to become a Democrat. Then he would have to add reparations on his to-do list, in order to get higher numbers than Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Since this seems a bit outlandish, even in the age of Donald Trump and Tulsi Gabbard, Walsh will have to do everything else, like meeting with high-ranking black leaders to win them over. At the very least, he’ll have to proclaim that he is willing to meet with black organizations such as the NAACP, to genuinely show that he is something of a changed man. Of course, it would be anyone’s guess at whether this little tactic would work — or whether he’s a changed man, or just a shock jock who wants a change of station.
If Walsh’s political team are to be worth anything, his image consultants and political strategists will have to make him appear more genuine. If he fails to represent himself as genuinely caring about Trump supporters and minorities, then he can kiss his chances goodbye.
Is it possible for us to see a president-elect Joe Walsh in November 2020? Indeed it is. We should have learned by now. If Trump could do it, then anyone can. And that’s not taking anything away from 45. Walsh will just have to be extraordinary too.
Jerome Danner is a contributing writer at the Western Free Press.