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Looking ahead to the 2020 race, GOP jostling is already underway

Tired of the 2016 presidential race? The bad news Republican jostling is already well underway in the 2020 race.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., flashes a thumbs up as he leaves the stage during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 20, 2016. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., flashes a thumbs up as he leaves the stage during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 20, 2016.
Before Ted Cruz's memorable remarks at the Republican National Convention last night, the Texas senator hosted an outdoor event with supporters in Cleveland yesterday afternoon. As luck would have it, Donald Trump's plane flew overhead when Cruz said the party had a nominee -- and his backers started booing.
And while the timing was notable, so too was the fact that Cruz's supporters chanted "2020" during the event.
I don't think they were talking about the senator's eyesight. In fact, as ridiculous as this may seem to Americans who are already tired of the 2016 presidential race, there is little doubt that Republican jostling is well underway -- in the 2020 race.

Before voters have even cast their ballots in the 2016 election, some conservatives are quietly eyeing 2020 White House bids. [...] If you squint just a bit, it looks an awful lot like 2020 just kicked off.

Some of these folks aren't exactly being subtle. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) scheduled three separate meetings with GOP delegates from Iowa, giving him an opportunity to not only pitch his right-wing worldview, but also the fact that his wife is from -- you guessed it -- Iowa. (The Arkansan also took his message to South Carolina Republicans.)
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), meanwhile, spoke to members of the New Hampshire delegation this week.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), apparently undeterred by his failed 2016 bid, reportedly lined up meetings with Republican delegates from Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
But it's probably fair to say no one is doing more in advance of the 2020 race than Cruz. Last night's refusal to support Donald Trump was the senator's way of throwing down the gauntlet, but that's not all he's doing.
National Review published this piece two weeks ago:

Ted Cruz has been conspicuously silent since his return to Capitol Hill from the campaign trail, but the gears, as always, are turning. Behind closed doors Cruz has been supervising the vast expansion of his electoral enterprise, integrating the operations of his campaign team -- policy, political, financial -- in an effort to harness his newfound national following with an eye on 2020. Central to these plans is the creation of two new affiliated nonprofits, their names to be announced in the coming days, which will effectively keep Cruz's political machinery humming over the next four years. These groups, one a 501(c)3 and the other a 501(c)4, will be responsible for everything from championing Cruz's legislative priorities to maintaining his donor database and coordinating his early-state travel.

One might start to get the impression that ambitious Republicans don't expect Trump to win in November.