South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford Announces He Will Challenge Trump in 2020


After months
of buildup
, former governor and representative of South Carolina Mark
Sanford made it official Sunday by announcing he will primary Donald Trump in
the Republican Party race for president in 2020.

Sanford had made it known at least since July that he was
considering challenging Trump, who helped knock Sanford out of his
congressional seat in 2018 because Sanford had been criticizing the president.

Sanford becomes the third
to take on Trump in 2020, after former Massachusetts Gov. Bill
Weld and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh announced
their campaigns

He made the announcement on Fox News Sunday, and followed it up with a series of tweets,
explaining in probably way too much detail why he thinks Trump—and Trumpism—are
bad for the economy.

“I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to
be a Republican,” Sanford told Fox News
’s Chris Wallace. “I think that as a Republican Party we have lost
our way.”

That’s probably an understatement. But here’s the funny
thing about Sanford’s run: With all of the grift
and corruption
and lunacy
that has come to define the current administration, the former South Carolina
governor’s biggest problem with Trump and the boot-licking Republican Party is
the national debt. Huh.

“I’d say the epicenter of where I’m coming from is we have
got to have a national conversation, and a Republican conversation, on where
are we going on debt and deficits,” Sanford said.

“You honestly think you have a serious chance of beating
[Trump]?” Wallace asked, which was pretty funny.

Sanford also criticized the field of Democratic presidential
candidates for failing to talk enough about the national debt and government
spending, at least in the debates.

“The thing that has been lacking in this debate has been an
earnest and real conversation on debt and deficits and government spending, and
I find it astounding to watch the number of Democratic debates that I’ve seen,
and no mention, no conversation on where we’re going with regard to debt and
its implications for every one of us,” he said.

In addition to Trump’s high approval rating within the
Republican Party, which Fox News has at about 85%, according to a recent poll,
Sanford also will have to confront the fact that the GOP in his own state of
South Carolina has joined three other states in scrapping
presidential primaries and caucuses
this time around. (The other states are
Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas.)

In response, Sanford said he plans to use television and
other national media formats to get his message across to potential Republican
voters (who haven’t already switched parties and registered as Democrats).

“Again, this is the beginning of a long walk, but it begins
with that first step, and that’s what I’m announcing here today,” Sanford told

And speaking of long walks, another issue Sanford might have
to contend with is the fact that economic discussions of substance typically aren’t
Trump’s style for interacting
with his base
. In other words, how is he going to debate the president
about these issues? Instead, Trump’s style is theatrics, and Sanford has plenty
of that
in his not-so-distant political past.

So, will any of this matter? Probably not. Will Sanford
change any Republican minds? Probably not. Will the national debt become a top
issue that voters care about next year? I guess we’ll find out, but my gut says

Watch the entire interview below or read Sanford’s insanely
long series of tweets about debt and the economy here.

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