At The Resurgent, Erick Erickson has this bit of insight on the impact of Donald Trump’s erratic, bizarre and out-of-control behavior: GOP delegates
may have had enough.
Republicans who thought Trump could be controlled and reasoned with are finally starting to see the Trump that those of us who are against him have seen. The creep factor is intensifying as more Howard Stern stories come out. Trump, in his own words, commented on how good looking Paris Hilton was at 12 and then discussed how he and his wife watched Paris Hilton’s porn tape. Creepy.
To mollify Republicans, on Tuesday night, Trump shackled himself to a TelePrompter, doing his best Obama impression. That, combined with his statement that he had been misconstrued, was an admission against interest that he had damaged himself. Republicans who had come to terms with Trump are again nervous and fretting.
Based on all my conversations this week, here is how I think it will play out.
If Trump can go the next two weeks without unforced errors and can do interviews along the way without embarrassing himself or the party, his nomination is assured. Trump has to be able to go out, without the Teleprompter, give speeches, and also give press interviews. If he hides in a bunker for the next two weeks, he will damage himself with prominent Republicans and donors. They need to see that he really is growing up and toning down.
If Trump can do that, he is the nominee, and not just the presumptive nominee.
But if Trump cannot control himself and exercise self-discipline in the next two weeks, the Republican convention is going to spiral out of control and look to a savior. That savior is most likely going to come from Wisconsin. It will not be Paul Ryan, but Scott Walker.
Right now there are several separate similar efforts to unbind the delegates at the convention. The Rules Committee is key and sources I talk to expect the delegates to be split on the committee with about 30% for Cruz, 25% for Trump, and 45% willing to go in the direction that saves the party destruction. If Trump continues on like this week, those separate similar efforts will become one effort.
Behind the scenes, it has not gone unnoticed that many of the major donors who are still opposed to Trump were also Scott Walker fans. There are rumors cropping up that Walker might be wiling to entertain being a dark horse candidate if we get to the convention and Trump has spiraled out of control. Walker’s withdrawal of his Trump endorsement was seen as a positive sign in that direction.
I think there is a lot of truth in this, though, having watched the GOP in action for two or three decades I’m hesitant to say that the organizational skill is there to make this happen.
None of this happens without a total takeover of the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee will decide whether or not to allow bound delegates to vote for another candidate and have their vote counted. If this soft unbinding takes place then no one really knows who is the front runner. The key to this happening, of course, is convincing that “45% willing to go in the direction that saves the party destruction” to ignore the threats by Thug Twins, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, and do what is right for the GOP and the nation.
If this happens it will require the active involvement of Ted Cruz. Cruz has kept a very low profile since suspending his campaign but it is no secret that Cruz supporters have been elected as convention delegates even after he withdrew. It is a big risk for Cruz. If he’s seen to be part of this and it is stillborn, he may very well be finished. If he takes part and goes for the top of the ticket, then it looks like self-aggrandizement.
The final decision will be based on whether or not Convention delegates think the party’s chance will be damaged more by an open repudiation of Trump than they will by competing on a ticket headed by Trump and on everyone quickly coalescing around an alternative candidate.
Erick even has a frontrunner to pick up the pieces, but you have to read his article to find out who that it.