Head of border-hawk group: We need Ann Coulter to run against Trump in 2020

Via Paul Bedard, she’s the hero the right deserves, whether or not it needs her right now.

Although, if you’re a populist, you do need her. Or someone like her to rattle their saber about 2020 and muscle Trump back towards serving his base.

Here’s William Gheen, head of the anti-illegal-immigration group ALIPAC:

After listening to Ann Coulter’s latest statements on the Lars Larson Show, I believe Ann should announce a Presidential campaign because she would be our best bet to pressure Trump to stop breaking his campaign promises in the remainder of his term while at the same time giving a strong national voice to the millions of Trump voters like me who are dismayed at his reversals on key issues like immigration, border security, and Amnesty for illegals. If Coulter truly believes Trump’s failure to deliver on his Make America Great Again promises means the end of America, shouldn’t she run in a last-ditch effort to save our nation from the perils she perceives and describes?…

While many Trump supporters will initially react negatively to Ann Coulter entering the Presidential race, I believe their ire would settle and more would join her over time if she ran on a MAGA campaign platform. Simply put, she should take everything important Trump promised American voters, tell everyone that’s her campaign platform with one major difference–she really means it and will really do it!…

Everyone knows that America is due to elect its first female President, and in 2016, Americans made it clear we do not want a socialist like Hillary Clinton to lay claim to that historical landmark in our Republic. Ann Coulter would make an excellent candidate who is willing to tell the truth as she sees it to the point of being abrasive.

The key bit: “President Trump might even … drop his support for DACA, Dream Act, and Immigration Reform Amnesty for illegal aliens knowing that people will be checking boxes on ballots between Trump and Coulter in about 22 months!” Yeah, for all the media hype about a Jeff Flake or John Kasich challenging Trump from the center-right in 2020, it’s MAGA Nation that would benefit most from a credible primary challenge. With the notable exception of tariffs, Trump has governed as a conventional center-right Republican himself. He lets Ryan and McConnell do most of the policy heavy-lifting. If Flake or Kasich jump in, they’ll be running chiefly on improving America’s “tone,” which is good for a protest vote for some but won’t do much of anything to change Trump’s behavior. (Although, importantly, it could leave enough center-righties disaffected with POTUS to deepen his problems in the general election.)

Populists really might benefit on policy, though, by showing Trump that they’re loyal to him only to the extent that he’s loyal to their pet issues. It goes back to what I said yesterday about his sudden eleventh-hour unhappiness with the omnibus bill. He really does believe that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes. A primary challenge from a stalwart border hawk like Coulter could disabuse him of that idea. Of course she wouldn’t win but if she overperformed in a primary or two a la Pat Buchanan in 1992 and embarrassed Trump, he’d think twice about selling out populists in the general election. And the sooner a credible populist primary challenger emerged, the sooner POTUS would need to begin covering his right flank to prepare for the primaries and try to avert that embarrassment. Even if that challenger ended up getting utterly crushed, that would be useful information too. Whether most of his fans really are committed populist-nationalists a la Coulter and Tucker Carlson or whether they’re just part of an “anti-PC” cult of personality surrounding Trump that doesn’t care much about policy is an open question. Let’s answer it.

Coulter talked about Trump at an event last night in New York. She’s got the rhetorical chops to hurt him in a primary, for sure:

“I knew he was a shallow, lazy ignoramus, and I didn’t care,” Coulter admitted to an audience largely composed of College Republicans and a few hecklers at Columbia University on Tuesday night…

“It kind of breaks my heart,” Coulter acknowledged of her disappointment with the president, and she recounted a profanity-laced shouting match she had with Trump in the Oval Office last year over what she saw as his lackluster follow-through on immigration policy. “He’s not giving us what he promised at every single campaign stop.”…

[At one point] Coulter had mused that if liberal Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a tough-on-trade Democrat, would run for president in 2020, she might actually vote for him.

That’s a perfect snapshot of right-wing populism in 2018: One of the five most famous “conservative” columnists in America flirting with supporting a dyed-in-the-wool leftist because his agenda overlaps with hers a bit on getting “tough” with foreigners.

The specter haunting any potential Trump primary challenger, though, is Steve Bannon. If anyone had reason to believe he might command a base of principled populist support on the right independent of Trump, it was him. He’d spent years championing populism at Breitbart; he helped elect their populist hero, Trump, and served as his chief advisor; he went abroad and hobnobbed with members of Europe’s far-right to show that the cause of nationalism was, er, international; he backed populist candidates in Senate primaries against Republican establishmentarians and put his money where his mouth is by hitting the trail for them. It was Bannon, not Trump, who went all-in on Roy Moore in the Alabama primary. Bannon would never rival a sitting president in terms of influence but in terms of sheer energy expended for the cause of populist-nationalism, he has a case that no figure has done more in the past five years than he has. Trump included.

And then he chattered a bit too much to Michael Wolff, Trump turned on him, and overnight he was squashed like a roach. Within about a week, he went from swashbuckling blue-collar avenger to unperson at both the White House and his “killing machine” at Breitbart. Imagine right-wing sentiment towards Coulter if she ran in 2020, roughed up Trump a bit in a primary, and then he lost the general election because, it was theorized, she’d turned too many populists against him. She would be Bannonized 10 times over. Which may explain why she was on Twitter this morning trying to explain away her “shallow, lazy ignoramus” comments from last night. She meant it as a compliment, you guys:

Gotta be fair, though. No big-name figure on the populist right has called BS on Trump for disappointing them half as much as she has over the past 14 months. You can laugh at Gheen for touting a celebrity provocateur for high office, but (a) it makes sense insofar as she’s established herself as POTUS’s harshest right-wing critic and (b) uh, we handed the presidency to a celebrity provocateur in the last election. No candidacy is too far-fetched anymore.

Wait until Trump starts assimilating her talking point that “In one generation this country is going to be South Africa.” If you think the backlash after his Charlottesville comments was hot, hoo boy.