Scenario No. 3: Should conservatives join the establishment Republican insiders to manipulate the Convention to deprive Donald Trump of the nomination?
The results of the March 15 "Super Tuesday II" Republican presidential primary elections should focus the mind of every movement conservative leader and activist on the very real possibility that Donald Trump will hold a near-majority, or perhaps even an outright majority, of delegates when the Republican National Convention convenes in Cleveland on July 18.
While the math of delegate accumulation does not make a Trump outright victory inevitable, the math is on his side.
As things stand now Trump has 739 delegates, Cruz has 465, Rubio who has suspended his campaign has 169, Kasich has 143 and the other candidates who have suspended their campaigns hold the remaining 15, with 6 uncommitted. (These numbers can and will shift due to varying state rules on how delegates must vote if their pledged candidate suspends his campaign.)
This is the golden bridge that the Republican establishment is luring conservatives toward: "If conservatives, especially Sen. Ted Cruz, will just throw-in with the establishment, then the establishment will allegedly deploy its resources to help Cruz win and stop Trump."
Or so goes the blandishment that is being dangled in front of conservatives.
There are many reasons why conservatives and especially Sen. Ted Cruz should have nothing to do with this idea, but let's knockdown the top three one at a time.
First of all, I say the Republican establishment will "allegedly deploy its resources to help Cruz win and stop Trump" because so far they have done precious little besides endorse Cruz as their second or third choice, to actually help Sen. Cruz win any delegates.
For example, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Cruz, saying, "For the sake of our party and country, we must move to overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena, or we will certainly lose our chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reverse President Obama's failed policies," Bush's allied Super PAC, "Right to Rise" has signaled that it will suspend spending now that Bush is out of the race and do nothing to help Cruz.
It appears to me that while establishment Republicans are saying that Ted Cruz is to them the "least worst" choice, there's no actual on-the-ground public boost from elected officials and establishment political figures that would indicate a real honest "unity movement" that brings conservative-leaning elements of the Republican establishment together with movement conservatives to actually deliver delegates to Cruz.
What I see on the part of Sen. Cruz's erstwhile establishment Republican allies is not an effort to deliver the nomination to him, but an effort to create a chaotic situation in which no outsider has a majority, thereby delivering to the Washington Cartel's powerbrokers and insiders the ability to choose the nominee at the Convention.
Secondly, there is no way that the Republican establishment will enter into an alliance with conservatives without getting something in return, and the experience of the 1980 Republican Convention and the Reagan—Bush transition team can offer us some idea of what they might want:
- An establishment Republican as vice president.
- An establishment Republican as White House chief of staff.
- A cabinet packed with establishment Republicans, Washington insiders and big business types.
- A White House personnel office run by establishment Republican insiders, who will hire their friends to run the government at the sub-cabinet and Schedule C level.
- An establishment Republican Chairman of the Republican National Committee to keep the vast sums of money the GOP raises flowing to their favored consultants and friends and to continue the policies of the "Party of Stupid" in leaving the power to set the party agenda in the hands of the establishment media through the scheduling of debates, choice of moderators and format.
On its face this might look like a deal that Sen. Cruz and his conservative supporters should take; but it is the sure road to destruction and will do irreparable harm to the conservative movement because it requires conservatives to surrender to the very people and special interests that created the anti-establishment Trump and Cruz movements that are now dominating the GOP primaries.
Thirdly, while it might guarantee that most establishment Republican powerbrokers would go along with Cruz, it would also guarantee that millions of Donald Trump voters would take a hike and potentially support a Trump Third Party run.
And this is a substantial number of cultural conservatives; 42 percent of the evangelical votes in heavily Evangelical North Carolina went to Donald Trump, in Ohio, 39 percent of evangelicals voted for Trump.
Right now the anti-establishment candidates in both parties are benefiting from a substantial "enthusiasm gap."
All of the crowds, spontaneous demonstrations and volunteer activity are being generated by the outsiders. No one seems to really want Hillary Clinton or any of the establishment Republicans except the inside-the-Beltway crowd of their respective parties.
If conservatives and Sen. Ted Cruz openly ally with the Republican establishment it would alienate the millions of voters and volunteers who thought they were fighting for change in Washington, D.C.
And, once again, the numbers in the General Election indicate that such a course of action—particularly if it drove Trump to run as a Third Party candidate—would all but guarantee a Hillary Clinton landslide.
Mitt Romney lost in 2012 by some 5 million votes, all other things being the same, if just two-thirds of the 7 million votes that Trump has now booked at the halfway point in the delegate race follow him in a Third Party run it could mean the Republican candidates (Cruz and his presumptive establishment Vice President) would lose by almost 10 million votes—a disaster that would wipe out Republicans far down the ballot.
The idea that Ted Cruz and his movement conservative supporters should join forces with the establishment Republican perpetrators of what has become a near-treasonous sellout of our country—and the country class citizens who believe in conservative ideas and have fought for them for decades—would be a disaster for the conservative movement and provide no guarantee of a conservative victory in November.
George Rasley is editor of ConservativeHQ, a member of American MENSA and a veteran of over 300 political campaigns, including every Republican presidential campaign from 1976 to 2008. He served as lead advance representative for Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and has served as a staff member, consultant or advance representative for some of America's most recognized conservative Republican political figures, including President Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. He served in policy and communications positions on the House and Senate staff, and during the George H.W. Bush administration he served on the White House staff of Vice President Dan Quayle.
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