Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has been getting some buzz as a possible Trump primary challenger the past few days. It does make some sense: He represents the suburbans the GOP needs to win to hold the White House in 2020, and his incentives line up so that he would be more likely to succeed in 2020 and 2024. There’s been some talk as well though that he may be too moderate to have a chance of even being competitive.
The necessary context here is that Maryland is a blue state on the National level with Democrat, veto-proof majorities in the State Legislature. Nonetheless, you would think any Republican with any National ambitions would want to at least signal to hold Conservative viewpoints on key issues. Hogan’s record on Abortion is complicated. He says he is “personally opposed” to Abortion, but ran on a promise to not do anything to alter Maryland’s laws. That’s really not too far removed from Democrats like Tim Kaine who claim to be personally pro-life and then are functionally pro-choice as Politicians. He also said he supports a statewide referendum on a Maryland Constitutional Amendment to codify a “right to choose.”
Let’s be clear here: Donald Trump needs a GOP primary challenger. Let’s go ahead and add on that Donald Trump is an enemy of an ethos of valuing life, has done practically nothing to advance the pro-life agenda at the Federal level, and has more likely than not paid for an abortion. That said, as much of a mess as the Republican Party is at the national level, the best thing about it is that it at least espouses to be a driver for ending abortion. Is it too much to ask to have a Presidential candidate who can at least match that? That’s even before considering the practicality that any candidate who is going to compete with Trump in a primary is going to have to win over Rubio/Cruz/Carson voters, who are almost certainly not going for a functionally pro-choice candidate. Trump should get a challenger, but Social Conservatives cannot be ignored in the process of assessing who that should be.