Trump and the GOP establishment (2)
See also: Trump and the GOP establishment (1)
Even as Donald Trump prepares for a meeting Monday with members of the GOP establishment, others identified as part of that ill-defined group are, in the words of Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin of the New York Times,
… preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election.
…would rely on an array of desperation measures, the political equivalent of guerrilla fighting. (snip)
But should that effort falter, leading conservatives are prepared to field an independent candidate in the general election, to defend Republican principles and offer traditional conservatives an alternative to Mr. Trump’s hard-edged populism. They described their plans in interviews after Mr. Trump’s victories last Tuesday in Florida and three other states.
The article mentions two possibilities for such a third party candidacy: former Senator
Cotton Coburn and Rick Perry.
In my view, this is a pure fantasy. Unless the effort coopts the Libertarian Party into nominating the spoiler, it is all but impossible to get a candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. And why would the Libertarians back the GOP establishment? The piece mentions the possibility of getting Perry on the ballot in Texas and some other states, which could in theory deny an Electoral College majority to anyone, throwing the presidency selection into the hands of the House of Representatives, with each state’s delegation casting one vote.
Would Texans and a few other states actually vote in a candidate guaranteed to lose because of not being on the ballot in all states? This seems to call for a level of voter strategizing that on a long shot that is unrealistic.
Whether or not to support Cruz or a go-for-broke independent run is apparently splitting them:
About two dozen conservative leaders met Thursday at a private club in Washington, where some pushed for the group to come out for Mr. Cruz to rebut the perception that the stop-Trump campaign was an establishment plot. “If we leave here supporting Cruz, then we’re anti-establishment,” said one participant, who could be heard by a reporter outside.
But the group failed to agree on an endorsement, instead pleading for Mr. Kasich and Mr. Cruz to avoid competing in states where one of them is favored. “They’re going to have to come to terms and lay off each other,” said Erick Erickson, an influential conservative commentator, who convened the meeting.
Yet in a sign that there is no such détente, Mr. Kasich ran ads and campaigned in Utah this weekend, angering aides to Mr. Cruz, who hopes to reach the 50 percent threshold needed to claim all the state’s delegates.
So, in other words, opponents of Trump are split over the basics of strategy, have no coherent plan to defeat him, and some are descending to the level of fantasy games in their desperation.
The situation faced by Will Rogers two generations ago has changed parties. When he was asked if he was a member of an organized political party, he quipped, “No, I’m a Democrat.” Today, he would have to be a Republican to make the same joke.