With 9 weeks to go until the first votes, Trump remains commanding front-runner as GOP field keeps shrinking

With 9 weeks to go until the first votes are cast in the 2020 Republican Presidential primary, President Donald Trump is still the commanding front-runner in the race. Following the departure of Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, the GOP field has now shrunk to just four candidates. This is in stark contrast to the Democratic primary field, which is still crowded with more than 20 contenders.

Trump has led the field in nearly every national poll and state-level poll since declaring his candidacy in 2015. He is viewed as the overwhelming favorite due to his loyal Conservative base and strong economic record which have propelled him to a high approval rating among Republicans. This has been further bolstered by his strong marks on foreign policy and his ability to bring attention to and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The remaining four contenders lack the fundraising capacity and public name recognition needed to put themselves in contention for the nomination. They include former governors Bill Weld and Joe Walsh, former US representative Mark Sanford, and former Illinois state representative Mary Miller. These candidates have struggled to articulate a comprehensive platform that would have a real chance of dislodging Trump as the Republican nominee.

At this point, the only real hope for Trump’s rivals lies in the possibility of a brokered convention, where no candidate earns the 1,322 delegate votes needed to win the nomination. This has historically been an unlikely scenario, but it is not unprecedented, as most recently seen in the 2016 Republican Primary. With just over 9 weeks until the primaries begin in earnest, Trump’s challengers must act fast in order to have any hope of ousting the President as the GOP’s nominee.