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A bruised Trump Faces Uncertain 2020 outlook. His team fears a primary fight.



President Trump's defeat in his border wall stop with Congress has interpreted his already dangerous path to another term in 2020, undermining Mr. Trump's beloved image as a powerful leader and deft negotiator and emboldening both his democratic challengers and Republican dissenters hoping to block his re-election.

The longest government interruption in history led to serious political damage to the president, knocking down his ballot figures even among the Republicans and staring at party leader concerns about his ability to navigate the next two years of shared government. Mr. Trump, close relatives, acknowledges appearing without a plan to build a strong campaign in 2020 or to persuade most Americans who see him negatively to give him a chance.

Compares the damage to Mr. Trump on Friday was the accusation of Roger Stone, his political adviser for several decades, due to lying to investigators and preventing the investigation from special councilor Robert S. Mueller III for Russian interference in the 2016 election. The accusation was taken by some Republicans as the safest sign yet that Mr Mueller's investigation is likely to be more painful for Mr Trump and his contributors before it breaks up.

Herr. Trump still commands the loyalty of a passionate electoral base that has rallied to him in trials, and counselors believe he will have room to correct himself, while democratic presidential candidates are mired in a long nomination battle. Nevertheless, they are also concerned that he might face a separate drainage priority next year.

Several prominent Trump antagonists actively encourage other Republicans to take on the president, and a popular governor, Larry Hogan of Maryland, has stated he is newly open to their attractions.

In a sign of the White House's determination to project the party, a top Trump campaigner, Bill Stepien, traveled to the Republican National Committee meeting in New Mexico this week to orchestrate an ornamental dissolution of support for the president. It went unanimously on Friday afternoon and welcomed Mr Trump for his "effective presidency" even though his decommissioning strategy collapsed.

David Winston, a Republican poll, said the burden was now on Mr. Trump to restore his stature as a leader by throwing a form of cross-border agreement with the Democrats and delivering a stronger message on the economy.

"Leadership means results," Winston said. "When you have a shutdown, people look at it, basically like: the political system has failed."

Herr. Winston said the poll data suggested the border wall had been a problematic struggle to choose. "Immigration is an important issue," he said, "but people wake up every day and try to figure out how to pay a set of bills in front of them."

For now, Mr. Trump remains fully focused on appeasing his conservative base, perhaps one-third of the voters, despite private GOP voting suggesting that his immigration agenda has not moved the country to his advantage, Republicans working closely with the president.

But Mr Trump arose from the decommissioning with nothing to show for it, having angered the voters with his intransigence, while disappointing hard-time supporters by not securing any kind of funding for a frontier wall.

Read about President Trump's withdrawal at the decommissioning.]

Conservatives still believe that Mr. Trump can't afford to give up his crusade on a barrier. Not long before Trump agreed to re-open the government, representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a white house ally leading the hard freedom caucus, claimed that the wall fight was crucial to the presidential re-election process.

"It is not lost to any of us that a key part of what he said when he ran in 2016 must be treated meaningfully," he said in a recent interview.

Private, some of Mr. Trump's 2016 helpers have said they are pessimistic about his way to 270 electoral votes after the party's mid-term defeat in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. A vote in the Associated Press on Wednesday showed that Mr. Trump's overall approval rating had fallen to 34 percent, with his support among Republicans deeper than 80 percent – a spectacular turn to a president who strives for total control of the GOP, and has usually achieved it.

The Mueller study awakens as another destabilizing force for the president. David Kochel, a Republican strategist based in Iowa who opposes Mr. Trump said that the special council's report could determine if Mr. Trump is vulnerable in a primary.

"It will be a focussing mechanism for the party" Mr. Kochel said.

While core Republican voters remain loyal to him and he is not currently facing a nomination competition, Mr. Trump's low position with political moderate and especially women some GOP officeholders are voting worried about having him at the top of the ticket next year.

"I think it's healthy and appropriate for the party to consider in 2020, if it really is the way it will continue to take," said David F. Holt, the Republican Mayor of Oklahoma City, where a democracy won a great home disturbance in last year thanks to the supporters' antipathy against Mr. Trump.

The 2020 election is almost two years away, and Mr. Trump has ample time to build a political operation, rally support from financial supporters and make his case to the American people. Mr. Trump captured the presidency with a largely improvised candidate, guided by his own instincts for personal struggle and cultural division, and lacked the strategic discipline of most presidential campaigns.

But even among his own political lieutenants, there is a general recognition that Mr Trump is missing something at the moment as a positive message.

Mr. Trump is specially fixed on two well-known Democrats and often speaks of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former Vice President, whom Mr Trump regards as his most dangerous potential opponent, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Some of his advisors are more concerned with two other wild challengers who would offer a stronger generational contrast with the 72-year-old president: Senator Kamala Harris of California and Beto O & R; Rourke, the former Texas Senate candidate. [19659002] In this fleeting moment, Mr. Trump and his assistants, however, just as focused on taking out the competition from their colleagues. In addition to helping fix a resolution of support from R.N.C. – Mr. Trump tweeted approvently Saturday morning, suggesting re-election "should be easy" – Mr. Stepien, the former White House political director, has led efforts to ensure that there is no rebellion at next year's convention in Charlotte, NC

Now a top aide at Mr. Trump's campaign, Mr Stepien and his deputies consulting party leaders on closing roads to a challenge and ensuring that states cannot make "favorite son" candidates for contesting the president's renomination.

Mr. Trump has also dedicated a team of helpers to guarantee that only political loyalists are elected to serve as delegates to the convention. To this end, Mr. Stepin some of his employees this month to see that their favorite candidate was in charge of Republican Maine.

The fruit of some of these efforts was exhibited at R.N.C. meet outside Albuquerque, where enthusiasm for Mr. Trump was untouched, at least in public. Party leaders ignored Mr. Stone's arrest, which took place just a few hours before the total, and Ronna McDaniel, the party chair, did not refuse from her prepared remarks and beat the media to promote "manufactured scandals".

Jeff Kent, the party's committeer from Washington State, perhaps offered the most devoted tribute to the president who branded his red "Make America Great Again" hat when addressing officials.

"To the press in the back of the room," said Mr. Kent, his voice is rising, "please tell the world, we will always proudly wear this hat, and we will always proudly support our great president, Donald A. Trump." (The president's middle start is "J".)

Second Republicans see Mr. Trump's political stumbles as an opportunity to entice a challenger in the race, with Mr Hogan as a new topic for their efforts. At a December conference hosted by the Niskanen Center, a concen- trated think tank, Mr Hogan briefly spoke to William Kristol, an unbelievable Trump critic in the Conservative press, arguing that the President is weaker than broadly understood, people The conversation said.

Mr. Hogan, 62, is set to meet more formally in the coming weeks with Mr Kristol and Sarah Longwell, a Republican strategist helping Marshal's opposition to Mr. Trump. Sir. Kristol and Mrs. Longwell have met with Republican donors and potential contenders, sharing focus group and polling data on the President's vulnerability with what they call "Counter-Terrible Trumps," according to a copy of their presentation reviewed by The New York Times.

Mr. Hogan is planning a trip to Iowa as an officer of the National Governors Association. But his advisers also recently went to Mr. Kochel, the Iowa-based strategist, to ask that he assemble a dinner with similarly reminded Republicans while Mr. Hogan is there, according to an associate of Mr. Kochel informed about the exchange.

Jerry Taylor, president of the Niskanen Center, said that Hogan had "made it clear that the door is open to a potential candidacy, but no decision has been taken."

In addition to Mr. Hogan, William F. Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, a challenge to Mr. Trump as a minor government moderate, people who have spoken to him said. Mr. Weld, 73, who was the Libertarian Party Vice-President nominated in 2016, has discussed either the opposite of Mr. Trump in the Republican primates or seeking the Libertarian presidential election.

Herr. Weld declined to comment on his considerations, and Mr Hogan rejected an interview to interview him.

Other Republicans known to be entertaining campaigns against Mr. Trump includes John R. Kasich, former governor of Ohio, running in 2016; Senator bone sasse in nebraska; and Jeff Flake, former Arizona senator. But Mr Sasse is said to have been troubled by the thought, and Mr Kasich and Mr. Flake pursues the possibilities of television.

Bruce Berke, a Republican strategist in New Hampshire in accordance with Mr. Kasich said he was currently Mr. Trump as inaccessible in a GOP primary.

"A primary challenge in 2020, like today, would be in vain for anyone," Berke said.

Still, Republican donors would like to know how damaged the president may be at the end of this year before they really commit to a challenge.

Asked if he would be willing to raise money for a primary opponent of Mr. Trump, Stanley Druckenmiller, an investor in New York who has given millions to Republican candidates, "If I thought such a candidate would be a good president and had a realistic chance of securing the appointment, of course."


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