Trump v. the GOP
While the idea of Donald J. Trump as a Presidential contender once felt like an amusing side show it’s now looking more and more like a political reality. And, if you are a traditional Republican, or anyone who disagrees with the tone of his increasingly nationalistic campaign, it’s become a very DISTASTEFUL reality playing out on the world stage.
However you slice it the Republican party has a problem. Despite the voter base coming out in droves to solidify Trump as their front runner, the controlling players in the party (and the money behind them) are adamantly against him.
And it’s a strange predicament. Voters are turning up in record numbers. His rallies are huge. People are incredibly devoted and it doesn’t seem to matter what he says or does, he only seems to get more popular.
The GOP should be thrilled.
But they aren’t.
Trump is clearly out of their control.
He won’t do their bidding or tow the party line.
He’s essentially way off brand.
So, as Trump continues to win we’re starting to hear more and more about a Republican “civil war” and a “contested” convention in July.
What does that mean?
It means the party is at war with itself. Trump is like an autoimmune disease attacking the GOP body and the only way the establishment can fight back seems to be on the convention floor.
The Republicans best course of action would have been to concentrate their efforts behind a reasonable opponent to Trump. To put their money and time into selling their alternative as the better choice. Unfortunately, the establishment didn’t decide on this person soon enough (or they decided but the public just didn’t like him) and now, despite the fact they truly need to be rallying around someone, they still can’t quite decide who that person should be.
Numbers wise, the obvious choice is Ted Cruz. He’s the closest to catching Trump in the polls but, for all the establishment distaste for Trump, they seem to have almost equal dislike for Cruz.
Senator Lindsey Graham called the the battle between the two candidates the difference between death by being shot or by poison. Either way, it’s not good.
To secure the nomination outright Donald Trump needs 1,237 delegates.
The establishment’s plan therefore is to stop Trump from attaining that magic number.
To do this they must keep as many ofthe remaining candidates in play for as long as possible in order to dilute the support and make it impossible for Trump to get to Cleveland with a guaranteed lock on the nomination.
It’s like if every player on a soccer team was standing in front of their goal. They’re not trying win. They’re just making sure their opponent can’t.
Because if they get to the convention floor without a winner it’s a whole new game and here’s why…
The Convention works like this:
Delegates show up at the convention to represent their state. Legally, they have to vote in accordance with the results from their primary.
So if 70% of the primary vote in their state was for Cruz, 70% of the delegates must vote for Cruz. Usually, the entire process stops right there because one candidate has already locked in the necessary votes needed to become the nominee.
A contested convention (sometimes called brokered convention) occurs when no candidate has secured that number.
If no one candidate gets 1,237 votes they have to go to a second ballot and then a third and a forth and so on until they get a winner.
And with each consecutive vote more and more delegates are freed from the responsibility to vote as their state has decided. The more ballots there are, the more open the voting becomes.
The convention could essentially become one big caucus with the powers that be trying to sway delegates one way or the other.
So, you could theoretically come in third in the primary and end up winning the convention or, the RNC could bring in a totally new candidate (like Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney) and, provided they swung enough delegate votes their way, THAT person could be the nominee.
Can you imagine? We go through over a year of primaries. 17 candidates. Well over 300 million dollars in spending and we end up with a Republican nominee that wasn’t even on the ballot the day before?
This appears to be what the RNC is hoping for.
Because if Trump wins the 1237 outright there is no possible scenario to oust him without splintering the party. He can’t win and then have his nomination denied without people freaking out.
And rightly so. It’s a democracy. People voted and, if Trump wins the majority of votes, that’s the party’s choice. Denying Trump his rightful win, despite what you might think of him, only undermines democracy itself, playing into the narrative the elites don’t care what the people think. That our will is irrelevant in the face of the career politicians and the money that pulls their strings.
It’s a pat on the head. A thanks for playing. A you’re stupid. Now go home.
In that scenario there is no way Donald Trump doesn’t take his money and his followers and run as an independent, essentially splitting the Republican voting base into two separate Republican parties. And while more parties are an interesting proposition to consider in a country this big. It doesn’t bode well for defeating a unified Democratic party in the fall.
The RNC should consider why someone they dislike so much appeals to so much of their base because it’s no longer candidate v. candidate. It’s the Republican party v. Republican party.
To avoid this kind of situation, the Democrats created the controversial Super delegate as a way for the elite to off-set “voter error” so the party remains on path and on message. While that system has it’s own problems since it, in essence, rigs the system for the choice of the elites I’d hazard to say it would be a very helpful failsafe for the Republican party right now.
For now, we wait and see…
Will Cruz overtake Trump naturally in the polls?
Do Rubio and Kasich win their home states of Ohio and Florida and use those “winner take all” to lock Trump out of the 1237?
Or does Trump win those states making himself impossible to catch?
Does the RNC change their rules (like they did in 2012 to stop Ron Paul from challenging Mitt Romney) or, do they stage a coup and rally around a third party candidate of their own?
Whatever happens it’ll be a bloody cage match to the political death.
And who’s left standing remains to be seen.
And people said politics were dull…