Nikki Haley’s entry into the Republican presidential-nomination contest last week makes it a two-person race between the former United Nations ambassador and the former president who named her to that post, Donald Trump. But it won’t be long before at least a half-a-dozen more join the fray, many also from the inner circle of his presidency, including former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The contrast with four years ago is striking. In 2020, beyond the roughly one-tenth of the party made up of “Never Trumpers,” opposition to or even criticism of Trump was no more than whispered because his control over the party was absolute.

Now, not only are some of the highest-ranking people in his administration challenging him, Trump has generated opposition from some of the most influential forces in the Republican Party and the conservative movement. They include the Koch conservative network built around Americans for Prosperity, and the Club for Growth, which have advertised their openness to an alternative, all but hanging a “Trump Need Not Apply” sign on their walls.

More from the Cook Political Report

Virginia House
User photo