The race for the Republican nomination in this year’s US presidential elections has not been as smooth as Donald Trump would like it to be. Let us not forget Wisconsin and the time around that, when it seemed like the Trump campaign was going into a total meltdown.
Fast forward to the New York primaries and Trump is back in the saddle. Trump has the most votes, the most delegates and has won the most primaries. In fact, it is safe to say that the Republican grassroots have made their choice known as to whom they want as the Republican Party nominee for president against Hillary Clinton.
So, what will it say about the Republican establishment if they hide behind rarely used convention rules to deny the grassroots their choice? That could lead to a controversy that may tear at the soul of the Grand Old Party, and a McCarthist controversy that would automatically blacklist lots of establishment politicians – for the grassroots will neither forgive nor fail to punish such an undemocratic move.
If Trump almost wins the Republican primaries and someone else is nominated – either someone that was beaten by Trump, or even worse, someone who didn’t even run against Trump – it would look so undemocratic, that I wonder what the establishment would then comfortably tell the grassroots. ‘Look, people, we have to deny you your choice, because frankly, we don’t like his style’. That would be sen as a great insult by the grassroots and it will turn this year’s election into a bitter row between the establishment and the grassroots that may automatically hand victory to the Democrats.
Hillary Clinton and her team would not cease to use that to make fun of the GOP as a bunch of undemocratic politicians that shouldn’t be given the chance to rule the US of A, and many voters would listen. The GOP would have a smear as ‘ the undemocratic party’ that may be hard to wash off for many years.
Donald Trump himself would most likely lead a bunch of angry Republicans out of the Republican Party and a third Party would be formed that would at best divide the Republican traditional vote, just as happened when Ross Perot entered the 1992 race and denied George Bush Sr a second term.
As far as the issue of what to do about Trump is concerned, the Republican establishment faces the horns of a dilemma. Any side they turn to, they are gored. The best thing they should do is what I have advised on previous posts. They should negotiate with Trump, now that they still have some leverage -the stick of a contested convention- and secure important cabinet posts and the vice presidential candidacy.
The anti-Trump candidate they have been searching for should instead become the Trump Vice Presidential candidate. That way, they’ll leave their party united, while placing a check on a future president Trump. They could draft Cruz, Kasich, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, anyone they feel would be strong enough to keep Trump in check and preserve some of their prestige/worldview.
Mr Trump is a deal maker, doesn’t want to head to a contested convention, and has called severally for the party to unite around him, so he will be amenable t a negotiated settlement.
For the Republican Establishment, beating Trump at a contested convention would be at best a pyrrhic victory.