Imagine that you'd done well in life, and by age thirty-five....you'd gotten yourself elected into the House of Representatives from your district.
Imagine that you ended up serving three terms (six years) and gotten some notice by people, all before age 45.
Imagine that you'd decided to travel back to your home-state at that point, and run for governor. After a tough race, you were elected. After four successful years, you'd built up some strength....gotten yourself noticed around the state, and even around the nation.
Imagine that you came up for re-election as governor, and won yet again....another four-year term.
In certain circles, your name is thrown around....possibly as a Vice-President candidate....maybe even as a Presidential candidate. At this point....mid-spring of 2009, you might have been on a short list of candidates for the 2016 election campaign as President.
Everything is balanced out and all you have to do is show up for work.....make a speech every week....praise the Republican Party, and not do anything stupid.
But then you got some kind of paramour situation going on, with a gal who lives in Argentina. Then one day in the spring of 2009, you make this one stupid decision to go visit the paramour gal in Argentina.....without telling your wife, your governor's staff, or anyone.
Yep, you fly down via Delta, and kinda think no one will figure this out.
Somewhere along the way, you screw up, and some reporter figures out things.
Your response to the staff and news media....you were 'hiking in the Appalachian Trail'.
At that point, the one single candidate that could have gone into the 2016 GOP primary and likely beaten the whole group (and Trump)......was finished.
Well.....Mark Sanford has chosen to attempt another run now, in the primary of 2020, against Trump.
It is a bit amusing to think about this. The guy had 'image'. The guy could give a decent speech. The guy was generally bright and clever (even had a MBA). The guy had avoided scandal all the way up to 2008 (start of this affair business). But this week of fun in Argentina, and the comment 'hiking in the Appalachian Trail' dissolved everything at that point.
Yet here we are.....with him talking of running now against Trump.