Friday morning, former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois announced that he would drop out of the Republican primary for President saying President Donald Trump can’t be stopped from within the party.
“I am ending my candidacy for President of the United States. I got into this because I thought it was really important that a Republican, a Republican out there, every day calling out this president for how unfit he is. I want to stop Trump, I believe he is a threat to this country. He can’t be stopped within the Republican Party. Nobody can beat him, it’s Trump’s party John, it’s not a party, it’s a cult. He can’t be beat within the Republican Party, so there’s no reason for me or any candidate to be in there,” Walsh told CNN’s John Berman.
Walsh only picked up 1.1 percent of the vote during Monday’s Iowa Republican Caucus with Trump winning 97.1 percent of the vote. Any primary challenge to any incumbent president is a tall order.
The last time an incumbent president was defeated in a primary was Franklin Pierce in 1856. The last serious primary challenge within the Republican Party was then a former two-term Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, who challenged President Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination in 1976. Ford won 27 states and 1,121 delegates and Reagan won 23 states and 1,078 delegates. The nomination had to be decided at convention.
Ford was particularly weak since he was never elected President or Vice President. He was a U.S. Senator from Michigan who was appointed by President Richard Nixon in 1973 to replace Spiro Agnew who resigned over the Watergate scandal. Nixon resigned just nine months later.
The next serious challenge was from Ted Kennedy who challenged President Jimmy Carter in 1980 for the Democratic nomination. Kennedy was a third term U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and the brother of the late President John F. Kennedy and the late former Attorney General and 1968 presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. Carter wrapped up the nomination before the 1980 Democratic National Convention by winning 36 state contests to Kennedy’s 12. He won over 64 percent of the delegates on the first ballot at the convention.
Reagan was a well known and popular within the Republican Party. Kennedy also was a strong contender because of his position from within the party. They both had the resume to mount a serious challenge to an incumbent president. They both lost. Walsh, however, was defeated after one-term in Congress and then became a conservative talk show host, and he thought he could beat an incumbent president who has a high approval rating among Republicans?
Then to say they are like a cult because he can’t?
Yes, there are some Trump supporters who act like cult members (the same could be said for some of the supporters of the Democratic candidates for president). For the most part, most do not.
The simple fact is this: political parties never want to knock out their incumbent president in a primary. They just don’t. I think contested primaries are healthy for elected officials, and I do not support state parties canceling their primaries.
That said, I fully expected Trump to be nominated because history shows incumbents are rarely defeated in a primary contest.
Then Walsh went on to say he’ll support whoever the Democratic nominee is for President.
“I can’t stop him in a Republican primary, but I sure can do my level best to try to stop him outside of a primary by bringing people together,” he said.
Berman asked him if he was going to support the Democratic nominee.
“Any Democrat, John, Donald Trump is a dictator, he is a king. He literally is the greatest threat to this country right now. Any Democrat would be better than Trump in the White House. That is not an easy thing for me to say, but that tells you how serious the moment is,” Walsh said.
Berman asked him if he would support Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as a former Tea Party Republican.
“I would rather have, John Berman, a socialist in the White House than a dictator, than a king,” Walsh answered.
President Donald Trump is many things, but he is not a dictator. He is not a king. There are many, many things that I do not like about him and will never support. There are also a number of policies that he has implemented that I do support.
It is mind-boggling to me, a person who did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016, when conservatives who oppose Trump make statements like these.
The fact we have a free election means Trump is not a dictator. The fact Walsh can go on CNN and say these things about Trump without fear of repercussions means we do not have a dictator in the White House.
It’s a ridiculous statement. That’s not a defense of Trump, it’s just a statement of fact.
Those who call him a dictator should live under one for a taste of what that’s really like. Those who say they would prefer a socialist should go experience socialism for a reality check.
Walsh demonstrated that he’s not a serious candidate and that’s why he was trounced in Iowa.
Watch the entire segment below: