As I was sitting on the couch this morning, putting on my work boots, the television was tuned to Fox & Friends Early (since the Weather Channel had a guy instead of the lovely Jen Carfagno doing the weather), and there was a story that I sort-of caught out of the corner of my ear, so to speak. Fox is reporting that the “GOP establishment,” naming [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] and Reince Priebus, was looking for ways to derail Donald Trump’s candidacy. This was hardly he first story about the GOP establishment, whatever that really is, trying to exorcise The Donald from the party, and it won’t be the last, but four points have to be made here:
- The “establishment” doesn’t get to determine who is or is not a Republican. If a person registers as a Republican (in the states which have registration by party), he is a Republican whether anyone else likes it or not. This lesson should have been learned the David Duke problem in the early 1990s. If Mr Trump says that he is a Republican, then he is, his past affiliation with the Democratic Party notwithstanding.
- Both tradition and well-established rules leave the nomination of candidates to the voters in the primary. If Mr Trump is defeated in the primaries, in a manner he sees as reasonably fair, he might not launch an independent candidacy; if he is defeated for the nomination in a way he does believe is unfair, he almost certainly will launch an independent candidacy.
- If Mr Trump launches an independent candidacy, the Democratic nominee will win the general election. Mitt Romney was excoriated for telling the truth, that the Democratic nominee has a guaranteed 47% of the vote, due to being bought out by welfare programs; an independent candidacy by Mr Trump that takes just 7% of the vote means that the Republican candidate has no chance at all.
- If Mr Trump launches an independent candidacy, not only will he cut into the Republican vote significantly, but he will cut into the lower-level vote as well. An independent candidacy by Mr Trump would be a pox-on-both-their-houses campaign, which would reduce down-ballot votes for Republicans: we would lose the Senate, and a lot of seats in the House as well!
Allow me to be clear on this: I am not a supporter of Donald Trump, and he is the candidate running whom I would least like to see win the nomination. If it was a choice between Lindsey Graham and Mr Trump, I would vote for [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ]!
But if we are going to be honest and fair about this, we have to stick to the established rules, even if those rules look like they will give the nomination to Mr Trump. If we try to deprive him of the nomination unfairly, he has the ability to deprive us of the election win, not only for the presidency but throughout Congress as well.