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Can the GOP Get Together in Cleveland?
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After winning only six delegates in Wisconsin, and with Ted Cruz poaching delegates in states he has won, like Louisiana, Donald Trump either wins on the first ballot at Cleveland, or Trump does not win.

Yet, as that huge, roaring reception he received in his first post-Wisconsin appearance in Bethpage, N.Y., testifies, the Donald remains not only the front-runner, but the most exciting figure in the race.

Moreover, after the New York, New England, mid-Atlantic and California primaries, Trump should be within striking distance of the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.

He will then have to persuade uncommitted delegates to back him, and perhaps do a deal with one of the defeated candidates, Marco Rubio or John Kasich, to win the remaining few needed to go over the top.

In 1976, Ronald Reagan, shy of the delegates he needed to defeat President Ford, offered second place on his ticket to Sen. Richard Schweiker, a moderate from Pennsylvania.

This brainstorm of Reagan campaign manager John Sears did not produce the required delegates, and Reagan received an envelope from a conservative Congressman with 30 dimes in it — 30 pieces of silver.

Still, Reagan was right to roll the dice.

But assume Trump reaches 1,237 on the first ballot.

Would the GOP establishment accept his leadership, back his ticket, and help to bring together all the elements — nationalist, Tea Party, conservative and moderate — of a grand coalition to defeat Hillary Clinton?

Or would the establishment refuse to endorse Trump, ensure his defeat, and hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered party, as Govs. Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney assumed they would do after they deserted Barry Goldwater in 1964.

Prediction: If the GOP establishment does collude to steal the nomination from the candidate who has won the most states, most delegates and most votes, not only could the party be crushed in November, but that establishment could be discredited in perpetuity.

For those who have come out for Trump, and have given the GOP the largest turnouts of any party in a primary season in history, will not be give their allegiance to a Beltway elite that cheated them of the prize they had won.

Sullen and angry, they will be going home, not soon to return.

An establishment embrace of a rule-or-ruin course — Better to lose, than win with Trump! — seems irrational. But it is not irrational if one’s preeminence and position are the summum bonum of one’s political existence.

To avoid the Hobbesian choice — back Trump or abandon Trump — the establishment must block him from a first-ballot victory. And indispensable to the Anybody-But-Trump coalition is Ted Cruz, whom the establishment, if possible, detests even more than Trump.

One testament to the esteem in which Cruz is held is that only two of his 53 Senate GOP colleagues have endorsed him, and one of these, Lindsey Graham, did so as the lesser of two evils.

Here is the second peril for the GOP elites.

If Trump is stopped on the first ballot, the delegates who leave him on the second ballot may go to Cruz, and the stampede could be on.

Yet, it is hard to see how a Cruz nomination is better for the party than a Trump nomination.

For Cruz cannot win in Cleveland, unless the man with the most votes and delegates is deprived of a nomination to which he has a far stronger claim, if this country remains a democratic republic.

A Cruz victory in Cleveland would likely lead to the angry and bitter departure of the Trump delegates, and, in the fall, to a mass defection of the blue-collar, Middle-American Trump voters, especially above the Mason-Dixon line where Cruz is already weak.

The latest poll of Republicans in New York has Trump above 50 percent, with Cruz running third at 17 percent. Even in the South, which was to be Ted Cruz’s firewall, Trump beat him repeatedly.

And while Cruz can claim to be a more reliable conservative than Trump, how does that translate into electoral votes in the fall?

Is the Republican establishment, having been repudiated in the primaries in a historic turnout by the party base, now engaged in a willful act of self-deception?


Can that establishment believe it can rob Trump of a nomination he has all but won, then hold off a right-wing Cruz surge that would ensue, then trot out of the stable one of its own, Speaker Paul Ryan, crown him at the convention, and then win in November?

This is delusional. And what this tells us is, to borrow from The Gipper, that the Republican establishment is not the solution to the party’s problems; the Republican establishment is the problem.

While the GOP appears headed for a train wreck in Cleveland, the principal ingredients of a Republican victory and a Republican future will all be present there: Cruz conservatives and Tea Party types, Trumpite nationalists and populists, Rubio-Kasich-Bush centrists and moderates.

Political statesmanship could yet bring about unity, and victory.

Unfortunately, the smart money is on ego getting in the way.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2016

• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Republicans, Ted Cruz 
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  1. It is extremely unlikely that the GOP can unify in Cleveland, and a disunited GOP loses to Hillary Clinton in November.

    The most interesting question is where we go in a Hillary Clinton presidency. Trump turns 70 this year and is a businessman, not a political organizer. The stage is set for a Huey Long type figure to organize either a new political party, or to take over the GOP and force the GOP establishment to defect to the Democrats. More and more, I see how rational George Wallace’s strategy was–only a regional party (probably one based in the old Confederacy, with perhaps West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, and maybe some western States) can have Electoral College influence, or even influence in the House of Representatives if the presidential election moves there. A regional party could even form the basis for an eventual secession or autonomy movement.

    • Replies: @Lemurmaniac
  2. Rolando says:

    The corruption evident in both the GOP and Democrat machinations of their primaries is a harbinger of very bad times to come in the U.S.

  3. @Diversity Heretic

    Can you expand on the difference between your conception of a regional party and the blue-state red-state divide already extant?

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  4. @Lemurmaniac

    Obviously a regional party would probably have to start in several Red states. The key, however, is building a local party organization that can win seats on county boards of supervisors, city councils, state legislatures, governorships, and finally House and Senate seats. You need to have positions to reward your supporters–ideology will only take you so far! That takes organization to challenge the entrenched GOP apparatus at all those levels and either force it to adapt or replace it. Some Red states are more susceptible to that kind of organization-building (particularly in the South, at least in my opinion) than others. The Huey Long of the 2020s will be able to identify the geographic locations where the organizational displacement of the GOP can best be effected. But if even one state “Reformed GOP” endorses a candidate other than the national Republican nominee, and if that state then goes for that candidate, and not the Democratic or Republican national candidates (e.g., the five states that voted for George Wallace in 1968), then there could be half a dozen four years later, nine in eight years–they might hold the position of “kingmaker” in the electoral college and force the President to accept “Reformed GOP” cabinet secretaries and a specified number of “Reformed GOP” other political appointees and their Schedule C (special non-civil service) employees.

    I admit that time works against this strategy as Whites become a mere plurality, but plurality status may lead to geographic consolidation and an increasing sense of white identity.

    • Replies: @iffen
  5. iffen says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Why not an organized faction within the Republican Party? Run candidates in the primaries a la the Tea Party, do grunt work in the Party, take control of the Party, eject the criminals and globalists and draw the “rational” fraction out of the Democratic Party.

  6. @iffen

    That might work, but, and it’s a big but, the type of movement that I’m thinking of would be along the lines of a white identity, white advocacy party–exactly what the Establishment fears Donald Trump is, although I think incorrectly. The present leadership of the Republican Party would recoil in horror at the racist elements of such a movement and seek to expel it. That’s why I think that a third party would probably be more viable. The example of the Tea Party, and indeed, religious conservatives, is that they do the “grunt work” you mention, but are then ignored when it comes to policy making.

    I’m also thinking that perhaps the movement needs a Leon Trotsky, or at least his organizational skills, as opposed to a Huey Long, although neither are particularly lovely historical characters.

    • Replies: @WorkingClass
    , @iffen
  7. @iffen

    What you are suggesting would definitely work if you could find enough people who wanted to be honest to God activists in party politics and who could resist being coopted when they began to have some success.

    • Replies: @WorkingClass
  8. @WorkingClass

    On edit. You would probably need an umbrella organization to recruit and train said new activists and keep them on the same page. I was party to a similar discussion among disgruntled Democrats some years back. Genuine experienced activists convinced me of the utility of this idea while complaining of the difficulty of getting enough people to actually do the work.

  9. @Diversity Heretic

    Lovely or not Huey Long is still revered in Louisiana among black AND white working people. This I was surprised to learn coming here from the mid west back in the mid nineties.

  10. asdf says:

    “Political statesmanship could yet bring about unity, and victory.”

    I don’t think that’s possible at this point.

    Goldwater was booted in 64 and Nixon won in 68. The establishment is probably hoping for a repeat of that, or something like it.

    We’ll see. 64-68 was a revolutionary period. Nixon was well suited to cash in on it, and the Democrats were divided.

    Where’s the new Republican coalition going to come from? I don’t see the religious right, Reagan Democrats, fiscal conservatives, and anti-hippy contingents kissing and making up at this point.

    A coalition of Rand Paul/Ted Cruz/Trump voters?

    Oh well. Be interesting to see how this shakes out, but I think the GOP is dead party walking.

  11. Jefferson says:

    Will the GOP go the way of the 8 track player, walkman, and CD player?

  12. iffen says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    a white identity, white advocacy party

    Yes, then you would be better off with the 3rd party route. I think in terms of what is possible within liberal democracy. Your party would be a very small minority with no way to grow into a majority.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  13. @iffen

    It would not grow into a majority nationwide, but it might within a region of several states. That’s why I explicitly limit it to a few states, probably in the South. The objective is influence with an eventual goal of high regional autonomy. That will be, I concede, difficult enough.

    • Replies: @iffen
  14. KenH says:

    Sean Hannity repeatedly asked RNC chairman Rance Priebus if the GOP would nominate the candidate with the most votes and most delegates, which at this stage means Trump, yet little Rancey refused to answer only stating that the nominee will likely be someone currently still in the race. This means liberal and amnesty proponent John Kasich, who boasted that he was more liberal than Hillary Clinton, could steal the nomination after being trounced and rejected by Republican primary voters.

    I believe the GOPe is preparing to disenfranchise the Republican base by hook and crook and if they do they will face a wipe out at the polls in 2016 as most Trump supporters will either stay home or write him in. This could put America on the road to revolution since the ballot box is no longer a viable method to effect political change and even when whites do vote they often get betrayed by the political elites who are more interested in currying favor with various special interests and fast growing non-white bloc of population.

    A case in point was the ‘Republican Revolution” in 1994 where the newly elected Republican majority, thanks to “the angry white male”, had a mandate to deal with illegal immigration, drastically lower legal immigration and end affirmative action. Of course, they did nothing of the sort once assuming office and the demographic changes wrought by mass third world immigration helped deliver the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections to the ultra left wing radical Hussein Obama and put America in its present predicament.

  15. Vendetta says:

    Please, for the love of God, Pat, find a way onto Trump’s foreign policy team. He’s going to need you there.

  16. iffen says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Well, we are getting into speculation upon speculation. One more from me. I have lived in the Deep South for 66 years, and based on my experience, I say that you cannot convince a majority of the whites here to dis-enfranchise all of the non-whites.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  17. @iffen

    If you’ve lived in the Deep South at all, you know more about it than I do. (I lived in Atlanta briefly in 1981–really liked it.) I concede that my idea may be totally unworkable. But you must have talked to some Southerners who have memories of race relations and black political behavior before the Voting Rights Act of 1965. How do they characterize that era? Why did they not want Negroes to vote? Would the majority of whites in the Deep South be so reluctant to disenfranchise non-whites if they saw the condition of whites in Zimbabwe and South Africa today? Sometime between 2030 and 2040 whites will be a mere plurality in the entire U.S. They are already a minority in some cities (e.g., Baltimore). White political attitudes may change as that realization dawns.

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