The Republican Party’s last clear chance to block Trump’s hostile takeover

Donald Trump holding a press conference after speaking at City Club of Chicago in  June, 2015

Donald Trump holding a press conference after speaking at City Club of Chicago in June, 2015

If on March 13… it looks like Trump is likely to win the Ohio Primary on March 15, beating Kasich 42 % to 35 %, Cruz and Rubio should each direct their supporters to vote for Kasich

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Due to businessman/entertainer/celebrity Donald Trump’s big-time victories in Republican primaries and caucuses so far (Trump has won 10 of 15 states and almost a quarter of the 1237 delegates needed to win the Republican Party nomination), the Republican national party leadership, aka the “Republican Establishment,” is “up in arms”, today-- so to speak.  For a survey of the options being considered by the Republican Party leaders to try to dislodge Trump from his pole position in the race for the presidential nomination, read this. 

--The national Republican Party leadership/establishment’s core views

The national Republican Party is an organization that is led, when it does not hold the Presidency, by such folks as the House Speaker (Paul Ryan), Senate Majority Leader (Mitch McConnell), other influential congressional leaders, key Governors ( such as South Carolina's Nikki Haley), the head of the RNC and key RNC members and significant financial backers.  These individuals, and indeed the national Republican Party itself, is in large part defined ideologically by  (1) opposition to:  Obama’s 2009 $800 billion stimulus, the federal government’s bailout of the big banks (although McCain and some other “Leaders,” foolishly supported this), Obamacare, federal government support for Planned Parenthood, unlimited abortion rights, the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacist groups, any form of racial or religious bigotry, open borders or uncontrolled immigration and Obama’s Iran Agreement and (2) support of:  free trade, free enterprise, free markets, individual liberty, religious freedom and liberty, low individual and corporate income tax rates and capital gains rates, low federal government spending, school choice, a strong national defense, Israel, Taiwan, anti-terrorism, gun owner rights and a strict construction and adherence to the Constitution-- and federal judicial nominees who adhere to that doctrine.

While the Republican Party does not require its presidential nominees to be in agreement with all of the above articulated principles and beliefs, it does think they should, to a large extent, be in agreement with the above views.

If not, what is the point of electing a Republican President, who becomes not only the head of the Country’s Executive Branch and its Commander-in-Chief, but also the head of the Republican Party.

--Why the Republican Party may not coalesce around its early delegate leader Trump

While the Republican Party and its leaders will often coalesce around a nominee who is leading the pack, and do that often before the candidate has the requisite majority of delegates needed to win and well before the national party convention (in July in Cleveland, for this election), this presidential primary season may present a special case.

Trump seems to have almost no known core political philosophy that represents his beliefs, say, for the last few years, let alone the long term, such as those that characterized Presidential nominees Reagan (who converted from the Democratic Party, but had held his core “Republican views,” for decades prior to his 1980 run for the Presidency), George Herbert Walker Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain or even Mitt Romney-- who had changed his views on abortion (to  pro-life) and gay rights at least five years prior to being nominated in 2012, and held generally consistent views to those of the Republican Party much of his adult life.

--Does Trump have any core philosophical views?

We know that Trump currently is quite strong in his opposition to illegal immigration and Obama’s Iran Agreement, which views are consistent with the Republican Party’s view.  After that, pinning down Trump’s core philosophical views is a crap shoot.

--Obama stimulus and federal infrastructure spending 

Trump opposed to the Obama Stimulus? Not so much. Even putting the 2009 stimulus aside, Trump seems to salivate at the thought of Government infrastructure spending.

Trump seems to be more of a Keynesian than Keynes.  In typical contradictory Trumpian fashion, Trump decries America’s massive, federal debt while chomping at the bit to increase federal infrastructure spending—without any thought to whether those projects are justified by a benefit/cost analysis or  could better be handled by the private sector or slate and local jurisdictions.

Trump opposed to Obamacare? Not so much. Some of the time, recently, Trump favored national healthcare, ala Canada or England. Or maybe a single payer system in accord with some abstract, yet to be formulated Trumpian model.

--Trump turns on Israel

Trump says now he has been a big supporter of Israel, but recently he announced that as U. S. President, he would not take sides between Israel and Palestinians, so he can broker a deal. Good bye to the concept of the U. S. as a strong ally of Israel. Back to the future with a Trumpian-Obama middle eastern foreign policy, which is generally hostile to Israel and its leaders.

Trump says all of the prior U.S. trade deals are terrible and he will “Bring back all the lost jobs from Mexico, China, etc.”  How? He doesn’t quite say, but Trump suggests maybe a 55% tariff would do the trick. This isn’t the Republican Party’s idea of free trade and economic growth.

--Trump on national defense, leading from behind

Does Trump favor a strong national defense? Perhaps, but sometimes Trump says he wants to “Lead from behind,.” ala Obama. See, here, for Trump's disturbing responses to a number of substantive questions in a June, 2015 press conference in Chicago.

and below, for Trump's vacillations on "Leading from behind:"
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Trump: America should not lead from behind but America has got to be smart.  America cannot continue to lead the way they are leading because ...

Berkowitz: But, you said, "Let Germany take the lead."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Trump: On Ukraine, I said.
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So, Trump said America should not "Lead from behind," except when it should-- in the case of Ukraine

Would that be consistent with the Republican Party’s views? Again, back to the future with an Obama foreign policy.  This is Republican Presidential leadership? I don’t think so.

--Trump disavowed David Duke and the KKK before he was hit with amnesia 

Does Trump disavow David Duke?  Yes, he did several times. But, then last Sunday, Trump said, “I don’t know who David Duke is.” The KKK? Apparently, Trump had a memory lapse as to that organization, too. The same with respect to white supremacy groups.

These were all foreign terms to the 69 year old Trump, who seemed to have a temporary onslaught of amnesia or early dementia.   Finally, Trump changed his explanation for his peculiar responses to “Not being able to hear the question.” Although, his answers belied that explanation. Why does Trump do that sort of thing from time to time? That is, take both sides of an issue.

Perhaps Trump does that-- so he can cover all his bases.  In this instance, Trump was on both sides of bigotry, which would be convenient for political expediency.  On some days, he was against bigotry, which could be cited to his Jewish and Black voters.

But, on Sunday, he didn’t know much about David Duke, so maybe some of the bigoted voters in the SEC states on Super Tuesday could be placated.  If that is the Trumpian political philosophy, that is not good for the Republican Party—nor for the Country, for that matter.

--Trumpian crony free enterprise crushes the little guy?

Is Trump for free enterprise?   Yes, except when Trump wants to use eminent domain to have the government force the sale of a private home from an elderly lady so his private casino company can demolish the lady’s home and Trump can have a parking lot. This is more like crony capitalism than the free enterprise that Trump, in theory, says he is for.

This use of eminent domain is Trump’s idea of standing up for the “Little guy or little lady?” Being for “The elderly?” Standing up to big, intrusive Government?

Give me a break.

Well, that is not the modern Republican’s Party’s idea of free enterprise, helping the little guy, standing up to Government-- or a strict construction of the U. S. Constitution.

--The long standing Trump friendship with the Clintons 

On and on it goes. What are Trump’s core views. No one quite knows, for sure. He has given substantial sums of money to many Democrats, including the Clintons—because he says he wanted Democrats, like Republican politicians, to support his business/legislative initiatives. More crony capitalism by Trump?

Trump also wanted the Clintons to attend one of his three weddings—so he gave them thousands of dollars. Who was beholden to whom?

And, maybe Trump gave the Clintons and other Democrats tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, or maybe much more, so he could make millions.  More free enterprise by the Donald?

Again, these actions do not speak well for Trump as a man of long-standing convictions.  And, this is the guy who is going to tear into Hillary in the fall, after sucking up to Bill and Hillary for much of his life?

--Could Trump’s "New York views," destroy the Republican Party?  

In short, nobody quite knows Trump’s core political philosophy.  For those and other reasons, the Republican Party leadership feels that his nomination may result in the loss of the Presidency, the House majority, the Senate majority and many state and local offices—and worst of all, the loss of an opportunity to make several supreme court appointments consistent with a strict constructionist, originalist and textual view of the U. S. Constitution.

And, what if the Donald won the nomination and the election, and then revealed his real convictions to be what Trump described in 1999 to Meet the Press’ Tim Russert, when Trump first considered running for President, as his “New York views.” These Trumpian New York views were pro-choice on abortion, pro-gay rights and pro- gun control. Are these liberal or New York views a good preview to Trump’s 2016 liberal views, in general, should he be elected President.

--Trump, a favorite or pariah of Republican Party's Primary voters?  

So far, Donald Trump has won only 35% of the Republican Primary popular vote.  That is, more than 6 of 10 Republican primary voters have preferred someone else, and polling indicates that those who have favored other candidates would not be too happy with Trump as their forced alternative.

So part of the Republican Party’s Trump predicament is due to an unusually large and strong field, starting with 17 Republican Primary candidates—which has now been winnowed to four candidates, but those four are still splintering the vote (Brain surgeon Dr. Ben Carson announced today he will not participate in tomorrow’s debate and he is suspending his campaign, leaving Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich as the remaining candidates).

Due to generally proportional allocation of the delegates in the Republican Primaries and caucuses to date, Trump has won not quite half of the delegates.

--What Trump, Cruz and Rubio need to win the Nomination

So, going forward, to become the Party’s nominee, Trump needs to win about 51% of the remaining delegates at stake.  For Senator Ted Cruz, the magic number is 56%.  For Senator Rubio, it is 61%.

--How the Republican Party establishment could block a Trump nomination

Given those numbers, the best bet for the Party leadership to block Trump, as the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol discussed that strategy on yesterday morning’s “Morning Joe,” on MSNBC, may be for Rubio and Cruz to work together, informally and tacitly, to keep any Republican Presidential candidate from getting a delegate majority on the first ballot in Cleveland, throwing the Party into an open convention on the second ballot—which would allow the delegates to come up with a preferable candidate to that of Trump, should they so choose.

--The Party’s new informational SuperPac

Meanwhile, Our Principles PAC started a month ago to distribute negative ads against Trump, and primarily funded by the Ricketts family (owner of the Chicago Cubs), is now being expanded to a much larger group of Republican Party donors (including Paul Singer and Calfornia's Meg Whitman).  The PAC will continue to provide voters with negative information about Trump [watch new ad calling Trump University a scam], but not support any specific alternative candidate to Trump.  So, for the remainder of the Primary voting, voters will know more about Donald Trump than they did in the first month of primary voting.

--Unmasking Trump

The voters will learn about Trump University and about the students who have been unhappy with the tens of thousands of dollars they paid—and the less than adequate education they received. They will learn about how Trump hires illegal immigrants to build his hotels—the same immigrants he says he wants to wall off from entry into the U. S.

The voters will learn how Trump ships jobs overseas, by making in those countries  the ties he sells in China and Russia. Are these the jobs Trump says his policies will return to the United States?

So, by the time delegates vote for a Republican Presidential nominee in Cleveland in July, the delegates may prefer a different candidate from Donald Trump.

--Could Rubio, Cruz and Kasich collaborate to block Trump’s first round nomination?

Further, the Party’s leadership may encourage Rubio and Cruz to start working collaboratively, right now.

--A Kasich win in Ohio?

Bill Kristol gave the following example on Yesterday’s “Morning Joe:” if on March 13 (or a few days before), it looks like Trump is likely to win the Ohio Primary on March 15, beating Kasich 42 % to 35 %, Cruz and Rubio should each direct their supporters to vote for Kasich, denying Trump a victory in Ohio. Will Rubio and Cruz do that? Stay tuned.

--A Rubio win in Florida?

Or, if Trump is beating Rubio in Florida on March 13, or a few days before, 37 % to 33%, with Cruz trailing at 25% and Kasich at 5%, perhaps Cruz and Kasich would direct their voters to support Rubio, denying Trump a victory in Florida.

--A first round deadlock in Cleveland?

This would push the party toward a deadlock in Cleveland on the first ballot-- with perhaps no candidate receiving the requisite 1237 votes to win the nomination, and resulting in someone other than Trump being chosen as the Party’s nominee on the second or subsequent ballot. Would Cruz and Kasich do Rubio’s bidding in Florida? Stay tuned.

The above actions by the Republican Party Establishment, the referenced SuperPac and candidates Cruz, Rubio and Kasich may be difficult to plan, coordinate and bring off. And, the actions may alienate Trump voters and push Trump toward more mischief.

But, the Establishment may think wresting the nomination away from Trump is worth the try. And, perhaps the Trump voters, becoming educated on the real Trump, may happily turn on him and dessert Trump themselves.

--Wisdom come lately    

Of course, the Establishment and the candidates may wish they had unified earlier and gone negative, separately and collectively, on Trump earlier, but as 7th Circuit Federal Appeals Court Judge Frank Easterbrook is fond of saying, “Wisdom come lately is better than wisdom not come at all.”

Comments

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  • The only thing(s) that blocks Orange Face (and I am not sure they are separate) is(are) that his supporters who believe CNN polls have to face the one that either Hillary or Bernie beat him handily, and that despite victories, delegates are split, so there is no clear path to a first ballot victory.

    There isn't any point in trying to trace his policies, because, other than The Wall, there hasn't been a consistent one, other than saying what the lumpenproletariat wants to hear (or more particularly, wants retweeted) at the moment. I see you didn't mention his contradictory stances on ISIS, although I'm sure he still loves his brother from a different mother, Putin.

    With regard to NY Rep. values, one would have thought that Giuliani or Bloomberg embodied them, and the rest of the Rep party is not interested.

    As I said a couple of days ago, I don't care if the national Rep. party self destructs, but apparently some of its supporters do.

  • Anna Davlantes just said that the real concern is that if Hillary takes down Trump, congressional majorities go down with him. I suppose this motivated Mitt saying to vote for Kasich in Ohio, Rubio in Fl., and then work it out at the convention.

  • Where is my good friend Anna Davlantes these days? She went from NBC to Fox 32 and then I haven't seen her in a long time. But, she got that right. Trump could bring down the Republican Party, including the House and Senate majorities, and also hurt in gubernatorial and state legislative races across the country.

    Although, the Republican candidates as a whole did better at tonight's debate in Detroit. Competition works, to improve everyone, especially with a smaller group that had the effect of giving each some elbow room. Also, both Megan and Chris were on their game tonight. Lots of good questions and follow-ups. More serious, substantive questioning and answers at tonight's debate.

    And, each affirmed at the end of the debate that he would support the Republican nominee. Don't know if we can trust Donald on that, but if so, that is big news.

  • In reply to Jeff Berkowitz:

    She's the co-host of the Roe Conn Show With Roe Conn on 720 WGN, 3 to 7 pm.

    The GOP has had various pledges before. However, more telling than Trump's yelling attack today was a video of Romney brown nosing Trump in 2012. At least it was good material for Jimmy Kimmel.

  • In reply to jack:

    The Romney clip is a cheap shot, All presidential candidates do that for money and endorsements. Also, Tromp wasn't quite the vulgar, immigrant basher at that time.

    Although GOP has had various pledges before, you might have thought that Trump would withdraw his pledge, now that establishment and leaders of GOP are openly plotting to prevent Trump from getting nomination-- giving Tromp the argument that he no longer is being treated fairly. But no, Trump is still pledging to support the Party's nominee.

  • In reply to Jeff Berkowitz:

    At least Trump was leading the Obama birther campaign in 2012. Maybe the argument could have been that he was not as "serious" then as now. He apparently also gave Hillary money, but a similar video hasn't emerged yet (although there was the campaign stop where Bill told a heckler about how the Clinton Foundation used it).

    What struck me, though, as not being a cheap shot, was the 180° shift in the assertions about Trump's business acumen. It would have been one thing about Orange Face having taken 3 positions on ISIS or having used illegal immigrant labor, but digging up the old video sure put a dent into Mitt's conclusion that OF was a business failure and fraud.

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