Can Trump Be Stopped in Cleveland?
As the Republican National Convention draws closer, those of us not enamored of a Donald Trump candidacy wonder if the window of opportunity is closing to “dump Trump”. Now that Trump has secured the necessary delegate count to clinch the nomination, is there any hope of stopping him?
There is still plenty of noise in the news and on social media about efforts to unbind the delegates. Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate, is leading one group, and Steve Lonegan, former state director of the Cruz campaign in New Jersey, is leading another. In order for a motion to unbind delegates to be brought to the floor, a minority report would have to be issued by the RNC Rules Committee.
This committee is composed of 112 members; one man and one woman from every state and territory, including Washington, D. C. They meet together a few days before the official start of the RNC Convention. It takes only 28 votes from the committee to formally issue the report, but this move in itself is predicted to cause chaos among the delegates.
Polls since the primary season began have consistently shown Trump losing to Hillary Clinton, and the latest polls have her leading with double digits. Roughly one-third of Republican voters say Trump is unqualified for the presidency. Those leading the effort to unbind delegates see disaster ahead for the GOP should Trump be the candidate in November. Trump appears to be his own worst enemy, as he continues to make headlines with racist comments and to conspicuously demonstrate a general lack of knowledge on the inner workings of government and especially, foreign policy.
Party standard-bearer’s like Mitt Romney, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and John McCain have all decided to skip this year’s Republican Convention in Cleveland, which does not reflect favorably on Trump, and his so-called status as a unifier.
In what the anti-Trump movement sees as an affirmation of their desire to unbind the delegates, Speaker Paul Ryan voiced his opinion that all delegates should be free to vote their conscience. Curly Haugland of North Dakota, a member of the RNC Standing Rules Committee says the practice of binding delegates did not begin until the 1976 Convention, when pro-Ford delegates passed the rule in an effort to deny the challenger, Ronald Reagan, the nomination. He concludes that the delegates are in fact free to vote their choice even on the first ballot.
Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, told the Associated Press, “I think historically, not just this year, delegates are and should be able to vote the way they see fit”. The Weekly Standard reported this week that John McCain agrees saying, “I think it’s up to every delegate to make up their own minds”.
Of course, this exercise is just academic without someone waiting in the wings to assume the mantle for the GOP in November. It will be difficult to stage much of a coup without an alternate candidate. Names like Ted Cruz and John Kasich have been tossed around, and both of the former candidates have declined to endorse Donald Trump. Trump commented in a recent interview with the New York Times that unless an endorsement is forthcoming, neither of them will be invited to speak during the convention. It’s doubtful either of them are unduly upset by Trump’s ultimatum.
And what about Mitt Romney? As the former GOP presidential candidate, he has been very outspoken in his disdain for Trump. His news conference last March, in which he gave a scathing review of candidate Donald Trump, was seen by some as “too little too late”, while others disenchanted with Trump pushed for Mitt to step in and save the Republican Party.
Chances are, this is all just a pipe dream and we will end up with The Donald, but it is something to think about. Of all the possible contenders, Romney would be among the most likely. At 69, it’s doubtful he will seek the nomination again so for all intents and purposes, this would be his last chance. He is already a thoroughly vetted candidate and has excellent name recognition among voters. His 47.2% showing against President Obama’s 51.1% in 2012, proves he can handle the pace of a general election. He could indeed be another “greatest comeback” like Richard Nixon in 1968. In my opinion, he has less to lose by jumping in than someone like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, who have a considerable political future ahead of them.
At the very least, garnering votes for a minority report will force a discussion on the binding of delegates that could impact future elections. Also, ending the practice of open primaries in those states that currently conduct them could preclude the GOP from facing another bizarre election cycle like 2016 has proven to be. One thing is for certain, our answers are less than a month away!
Senator Rubio shows strength in crisis…
In a time of national tragedy, Americans seek comfort in God, in each other, and in the support of our allies. We are reassured by the knowledge that our country has always been on the right side of what is good and decent in this world. We are heartened by the leadership and strength of the man we have chosen to guide our nation and direct our path. Such was the case after the horrific events of September 11, 2001, when President George W. Bush shared in our suffering and encouraged us with words he spoke from the heart, as he stood atop a pile of rubble near ground zero. He issued dire warnings to those who perpetrated the senseless act of violence against us, and to anyone who would threaten the safety and sovereignty of our country. No one doubted his words or his stalwartness.
In the early hours this morning, June 12, another tragic event took place in our country, this time in Orlando, Florida. It was another terror-driven action that took the lives of fifty people and injured as many more. Just as we took solace fifteen years ago from the words of our leader, President Bush, today we took solace from the words of Florida senator, Marco Rubio. Interestingly, it was not the words of our President, Barack Obama, that consoled us today. His words left most of us cold and filled us with even more anger than we already felt. He sought to blame this murderous rampage on those who disagree with the lifestyle choices of the LGBT community. He politicized the suffering of countless individuals in an effort to further his anti-gun war. Once again, he stopped short of condemning Islamic terrorism or even mentioning the term. He did exactly as he has done during every incident of crime and loss that has happened during his eight years in Washington; he took the focus off of the perpetrator and placed it squarely on the shoulders of the average law-abiding American citizen.
It was Senator Rubio who issued the warnings today to Islamic terrorists, and who raised us up as a country by praising the heroic response by the citizens of Orlando. It was Senator Rubio who pointed out that we are ALL Americans, and as such, we share each other’s grief. He was quick to remind us that we are not judged by our individual lifestyle choice, nor should that affect the care and concern that we show our fellow citizens. It should not limit our grief or our outrage over the events that took place today in our country. It should, however, unite us in our efforts to fight these acts of terror, and pledge our support to those in our government and in our military who serve to protect us from further harm.
Today, Americans saw the actions of the man we need as our President. We saw the emotion in his face and we heard the sincerity in his voice. The machinations of a Donald Trump or a Hillary Clinton have no place in Washington. They have no business occupying the highest office in our country. They are not worthy of our trust, our loyalty or our vote.
Bill O’Reilly is losing his objectivity when it comes to Donald Trump. The man famous for his “no-spin zone” was doing plenty of spinning last night on The O’Reilly Factor. In his segment with Dr. Charles Krauthammer, the discussion was Trump’s recent comments about Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel who is presiding over the Trump University lawsuits. Trump publicly condemned the judge saying he was “a hater of Donald Trump” and cited the judge’s ethnicity as an “absolute conflict” to his ability to be impartial in the litigation. Trump insists that Judge Curiel ‘s Mexican heritage puts him at odds with Trump’s tough stance on illegal immigration and declaration to build a wall on our southern border.
O’Reilly, an obvious Trump supporter, claims that Donald Trump is not racist, and that his comments about the judge, while ill-advised, do not reflect negatively on his temperament. Dr. Krauthammer had a different take, and chastised O’Reilly for thinking he can really know Trump’s mind and motivations. Krauthammer sees the racial component of Trump’s argument as indicative of a deeper character flaw. He points out that rather than soften his remarks, Trump continues his tirade. Is this who we want as our presidential candidate?
Anyone who is a regular viewer of The Factor, knows that O’Reilly’s strength is his ability to present the facts to his viewers, regardless of his personal take. He also prides himself on preserving a “no-spin zone”, where he gives straight reporting and remains outside the influence of any particular political party or candidate. He expects his guests to answer questions without “bloviating”, and will call them out if they deviate from his protocol.
During the last few months of the primary season, his allegiance to Donald Trump has become more and more apparent, and he manages to give Trump a pass on strict policy questions and answers. Anyone with even a modicum of intelligence knows that Donald Trump is out of his league when it comes to the political arena and specifically, foreign policy. To pretend otherwise is simply disingenuous. As a regular viewer, I have no doubt that Bill O’Reilly would hold any other candidate’s feet to the fire for the very same statements that he defends Trump over.
Watch it Bill; you’re losing your trademark style. Is Donald Trump really worth it?
The Bane of the GOP
If you are enthusiastic about the candidacy of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, then this article is not for you. If you don’t find either candidate particularly appealing, but have decided to vote for one of them because “you have no choice”, then this article is not for you. If you are a registered Republican and beside yourself at the thought of casting a vote for Donald Trump, then you might want to read this article because misery loves company.
First, you are not alone. Actually, about half of the Republican voters in this country agree with you. Second, don’t give up hope. Even though Donald Trump is our “presumptive nominee”, the convention is still a few weeks away and there is a preponderance of discord within the party.
Some interesting facts:
1. Every poll since the beginning of the primary season has shown Donald Trump losing to Hillary Clinton.
2. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have the highest unfavorable ratings of any candidates in the history of polling.
3. Three out of Four women do not support a Trump candidacy. (Incidentally, women vote more often and have more influence over votes than men)
4. Trump has very low support among minority and millennial voters.
5. The GOP field was rich with 17 candidates when the primary season began, and the most inexperienced and vacuous among them is now our nominee.
When Donald Trump announced his candidacy back in June, most of us did not take him seriously. It appeared to be just another opportunity for him to grab the spotlight, but we obviously underestimated him. My favorite analogy of the Trump phenomenon comes from Greg Gutfeld of Fox News (also anti-Trump), “Donald Trump is like the guy in high school who tries out for the lead in the school play to impress a girl, never expecting to get the part.” The problem for many of us is, now that we have him, what can we do about it? The chances for a contested convention are off the table. With Cruz and Kasich out of the race, Trump will likely get the 1237 delegates he needs pre-convention.
The only real chance we have is with a third-party candidate, and historically this has not proven a winning situation. Most recently, in 1992, Ross Perot ran as an Independent and in so doing, managed to hand the election to Bill Clinton over incumbent George H. W. Bush. This is a risky endeavor, but the conservative movement is already at risk with Donald Trump at the helm of the GOP. Don’t kid yourself, he is not a conservative. Not now, not ever. Many Republicans fear that he will set the conservative movement back fifty years, if not destroy it completely. Trump will say what he thinks the conservatives want to hear, but at heart he is more moderate to liberal Democrat.
Remember, Trump contributed financially to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, to name just a few. Admittedly, he has also donated to Republicans, but more than half his donations have been to the Democratic Party, of which he was a recent member. Another fun fact, his adult children could not vote for him in this year’s New York primary, as they are still registered Democrats and New York has a closed primary. I think if an Independent could ever win, 2016 would be their best bet.
This idea of a third-party candidate is currently being researched by Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and outspoken critic of Trump. A few days ago, he met with Mitt Romney to float the idea and get Romney’s input on the viability of it as an option to Trump. Incidentally, Mitt Romney has said that at this point, he will not vote for either Trump or Clinton. He is not alone, either. Columnist and Fox News contributor, Dr. Charles Krauthammer, said on the O’Reilly Factor this last week that he has no intention of supporting either candidate. These people are highly-respected individuals who take the business of politics very seriously, so this is truly a contentious situation. Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, publicly stated his aversion to the Trump candidacy, and incurred the wrath of a lot of colleagues within his party.
Several months back, as Trump began to rise in the polls and was believed to be a legitimate contender for the nomination, a Twitter movement known as #Never Trump emerged. If you are not familiar with Twitter, the “hashtag” identifies a certain topic or subject matter to others who follow Twitter. “Never Trump” means exactly that. These people will not ever vote for Trump under any circumstance. The Never Trump movement took off almost immediately. Media pundits and politicos have spoken derisively of those who refer to themselves as “Never Trump”, but it is a force to be reckoned with. After Cruz left the race, and Trump became the de facto nominee, the media largely quelled the movement. They were premature though; Twitter is exploding with Never Trump tweets.
A majority of the population think we can do better than Trump or Clinton. They don’t feel well represented by either candidate, and they want another option. I am part of the #Never Trump movement because I cannot bring myself to vote for a man I consider vulgar, amoral, juvenile, bombastic, insipid, dangerous and totally inept in foreign policy and government. In my opinion, Trump is the antithesis of a commander in chief.
The fact that Hillary Clinton is every bit as distasteful does not make it any more palatable to vote for him. This is not a decision I make lightly. I love my country and I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to vote. I consider it both an honor and a privilege. However, implicit in this honor is following my conscience and making a decision based on my best moral judgment. I cannot do that and simultaneously vote for Donald Trump.
Nebraska Republican Senator, Ben Sasse, also an outspoken Trump critic, talks of drafting “an honest leader” to run as a third party candidate. In a lengthy Facebook post, the Senator outlined his thoughts on the Trump/Clinton candidacies, and invited open discussion among disenfranchised GOP voters for an alternative.
Will it come to fruition? Hard to say. At this point, only one thing in this crazy primary season is perfectly clear: the #Never Trump movement is alive and well.
Moral Decay In America
After the past weeks’ media furor over what I like to call, “bathroom gate”, it is evident that America has hit a new low. For those who choose not to tune into the national news, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory made headlines with House Bill 2 (HB2), signed into law in late March, which essentially states that a person may only use the public restroom which corresponds with his or her biological sex. WOW! Crazy stuff! Even crazier: they had to pass a law to state the obvious. Crazier still: People act like this is something new and different.
Haven’t we always had to use the public restroom that corresponded to our biological sex? As long as I can remember, I’ve looked for the door with the figure in a triangle dress. In restaurants, I’ve looked for the sign that says, Male or Female. I’ll admit, some restaurants are tricky. The signs might be in Spanish, French or Italian, so you have to really think before you just open the door. Basically though, it’s a no-brainer.
Apparently, a lot of folks and businesses out there didn’t get the memo. I guess they’ve been unsure all these years about which door is appropriate for them to open. As far as the “LGBT” community and sympathizers are concerned, this is total discrimination. Bruce Springsteen is so distraught over this law that he cancelled his concert in North Carolina. Companies like American Airlines, Bank of America, Google, Marriott, Apple, etc., have written letters expressing their extreme displeasure with Governor McCrory for stating the obvious. PayPal came absolutely unglued, and reversed their plans for an expansion project in North Carolina, which will cost the state 400 jobs.
The Target Corporation; well, they just got even. They came out last week and announced that trans genders can use whatever restroom they “identify” with. It doesn’t matter what kind of plumbing they have. They should feel free to use the restroom or dressing room that suits their inner-self. Really? Why is this an issue? To quote Governor McCrory, “I don’t even know why we’re talking about this.”
As far as I’m concerned, if a woman wants to dress, act and think she’s a man, go for it. If a man wants to dress, act and think he’s a woman, go for it. I don’t care. That is their decision; their business; their right. However, when they begin to think that their rights take precedence over everyone else’s rights, we have a problem. From the beginning of time, it has been male and female, period. The end. For as long as stores or restaurants have had more than one restroom, they have been clearly marked, “male” and “female”, period. The end. This is not a new concept, folks.
What this is though, is another example of the Liberal Left trying to shove their twisted views down the throats of the Conservative Right. They are taking something that has never been an issue or a concern, and spinning it into their go-to word, “discrimination”. However, like Newton’s Third Law of Motion, (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction) every time the Left screams “discrimination”, the Right can scream, “reverse discrimination”. That is exactly what’s going on here. Those of us who accept ourselves as God made us, far outnumber those who do not. Their needs do not trump ours. (No pun intended)
The bigger issue here is protecting everyone’s right to privacy. The biggest issue is protecting our children’s safety. Parents have the right to take or send their son/daughter into a public restroom or dressing room without worrying they will be traumatized by seeing a half-clothed member of the opposite sex. In Governor McCrory’s words, “It’s the basic expectation of privacy that I hear from Moms and Dads, that when their daughter or son goes into a facility, they expect people of that gender to be the only other ones in there”.
Having this policy in public venues is an open invitation to sex offenders. They can walk into a restroom, a dressing room or a locker room, presumably in keeping with their transgender identity, and perpetrate heinous acts against children and even adults for that matter. This is just a risk that is not worth taking.
The critics say there have been no documented cases of abuse, but they are mistaken. To name just a few, in February, The Daily Wire, reported that a Seattle man cited the new law and entered a women’s locker room when young girls were changing into their swimsuits for swim practice. A Toronto man, claiming to be transgender, sexually assaulted several women in a women’s shelter.
Appearing on The Kelly File Thursday night, Governor McCrory found himself in a debate with host Megyn Kelly, as she argued that there is a “misconception that transgender people are more likely to molest”. That may be true, but the concern is not focused strictly on the transgender. This is about anyone who would take advantage of a situation that gives them easy access to the opposite sex in a private setting.
There are some things that are better left unchanged, and this is one of them. I applaud Governor McCrory for having the courage to stand up for what is right, regardless of the fallout. He has a spine, a conscience and a mind of his own, and those are rare these days. The outrage that this issue is causing is another reminder to all of us how fundamentally our country has changed over the last eight years. Think about it. Were we discussing these kinds of things when President George W. Bush was in office? Or his Father? Or President Reagan? I don’t think so. Whether or not we realize it, our president has a lot to do with setting the moral tone for the country. We may not like or approve of him, but he still holds the ultimate leadership position in America, and his power and influence extend far beyond the beltway.
A president who has liberal social views is more likely to encourage changes in this area, or at the very least, not discourage them. Under Barack Obama’s watch, we now have legalized gay marriage. He is complicit in attempting to redefine traditional marriage, something that has been understood and accepted since the beginning of time. He has pushed the LGBT agenda by forcing school districts to allow boys who identify as girls to have full access to girl’s locker rooms. Sound familiar? He has condemned counseling for those students who struggle with same-sex attraction.
Shortly after taking office, Obama repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and called for an open gay policy in our military. We now have states with legalized recreational marijuana use. We are releasing convicted drug offenders early, because President Obama thinks their prison sentences are inordinately long. We are struggling for our religious freedom due to the birth control and abortion policies of Obamacare, and the list goes on. Little by little, Obama has worked to undermine traditional values in America and set us on a path of moral decay.
We now have a pervasive “Emperor’s New Clothes” syndrome in this country. Remember that story? Swindlers convince a vain, clothes conscious Emperor to let them weave a fine garment for him from special cloth only visible to the highly intelligent and those well-suited to their rank. Since no one, including the Emperor, wants to appear stupid or unfit for their position, the townspeople pretend he is clothed in splendid attire. Of course, the whole time he is walking around naked. Finally, a little child has the courage to point and say, “he hasn’t got any clothes on”.
That is how so many Americans are reacting to what is happening in our country. No one wants to be singled out for being a “bigot” or “anti-inclusivity”, so we just go along to get along. We pretend the outrageous is now acceptable. The problem with this attitude is that sooner or later, you find yourself in a society you no longer recognize; a society where anything goes, and where there is no standard of decency. As my very wise Mother has frequently said, “The more you are exposed to immorality, the more you become inured to it, and things begin to lose their shock value”. I think we are coming dangerously close to that point.
How Fox News Has Propelled Donald Trump to the Nomination
I don’t think anyone expected Donald Trump to enjoy the phenomenal success he has since announcing his candidacy for the presidency. Did he have the name recognition? Yes. Was he successful? Yes. Did he have the financial backing? Yes. (His own, mostly) Was he politically savvy? No. Not even a little bit. And, this was not Donald Trump’s first rodeo. Since the late 1980’s, Trump has publicly mulled the idea of a presidential bid in multiple election cycles, and even entered the race as a Reform Party candidate in 2000, dropping out in February of that year.
Also, Donald Trump’s penchant for provocative statements is not exactly a useful trait for someone running for political office. Oddly enough it ultimately worked to his benefit, as voters found his outspokenness and political “incorrectness” a nice change in our current climate. With all this in mind though, he was not seen as a serious contender. Adding to the equation the fact that he was up against sixteen talented candidates, his chances seemed slim to none.
That was last summer. Today, things look much different. That promising field of seventeen has dwindled to three, with Donald Trump leading the pack. Of course, to secure the prize, he has to reach a threshold of 1237 delegates before the Republican National Convention in July. With his current delegate count of 845, he’s still short of the mark. If he does not reach the magic number of 1237, the GOP will find itself in a contested convention where the nominee will be chosen by the delegates. There are all kinds of rules binding delegates to certain candidates through the first or second ballot, but usually by the third ballot all delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choosing. Contested conventions are a rare occurrence in the history of the GOP, and undesirable because of the likelihood of a fractured party and “bloodied” candidate.
In 1976, President Ford entered the Republican convention short of the requisite number, and found himself in a competition with Ronald Reagan. Of course, President Ford secured the needed votes on the first ballot, and the suspense was over. The last time a convention advanced beyond the first ballot vote was in 1952, when the Democratic convention selected Adlai Stevenson.
So what has propelled Donald Trump to his current spot at the top of the leader board? In a word, media. In my humble opinion, Fox News is the main culprit. Since his entrance into the primary, Donald Trump has received nearly $2 billion dollars in free media coverage, with nearly $30 million coming from Fox News Channel. I call them the main culprit, because as a well-known and highly popular conservative news organization they carry a lot of weight with those of us who identify ourselves as Republican, and especially, Conservative. I’m a regular viewer of Fox News, or was anyway.
By legitimizing Trump’s candidacy with their unprecedented coverage and their obvious support for him, they have given him the green light among voters. If FNC, the conservative media giant, is for him who should be against him?
The enamor of Trump, other than how it translates to ratings, escapes me. The anchors and commentators at Fox are very knowledgeable politically. There is simply no way they can sincerely believe that he possesses the skill set to lead our country. The man cannot even complete a sentence. His performance in debates, other than his one-liners and insults, is abysmal. Of course, they most often spin it as a win for him, but anyone who has watched him attempt to answer policy questions is well aware that he is in over his head.
As an example, in the CNN debate in December, he was questioned on the nuclear triad. It was clear that he was unfamiliar with the term, and his answer was nonsensical. I’m not trying to slam the man; politics is a complex business and it is not something you can expect to learn in a few months. I don’t see Donald Trump as the type of person who wants to crack the books and start schooling himself in history and geopolitics. That’s just not his thing. He would much rather be on Twitter or calling into a news show with some incendiary remark. However, the presidency should not be an entry level position.
While Fox News might find Trump’s effectively turning the GOP upside down refreshing, I find it downright scary. Just this past week, he announced that he wants to change the GOP platform on abortion, allowing exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother. This is no small matter. We’re talking about a basic tenet of the Republican Party, and Fox News has been mute on the subject. The abortion issue is complex, and I will not get into it here, but anyone who deludes himself into thinking Donald Trump is a Conservative is going to pay a high price in November. He is not now, nor has he ever been conservative. Fox News portrayal of him as such is disingenuous, to say the least. I must add there are a few at FNC who refuse to jump on the “Trump train”. Stephen Hayes, Charles Krauthammer, Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Greg Gutfeld have resisted the urge to fawn over Donald Trump.
Every poll from the beginning of the primary season has shown Hillary Clinton will crush Trump in a general election, so any of the other sixteen candidates would have been preferable as a nominee. A contested convention may be our only hope for selecting an electable candidate. Of course, Trump has continued to fire up his supporters with how the GOP is attempting to steal the nomination from him, insuring rioting at the convention if he doesn’t win. He seems incapable of understanding that going into the convention short of 1237 delegates means he didn’t win. His accusations of delegates being “unfairly” awarded in individual primaries discount the fact that each state has its own rules.
Personally, I hope he does as he threatened early on and leaves the GOP to run as an Independent. With Trump, it’s a lose/lose anyway, and I would rather lose with a credible candidate who reflects the brand of the GOP, than see our party trampled by the likes of Donald Trump. No one man is worth the destruction of the Republican Party.
Fox News is complicit in Donald Trump’s success. They have elevated him over the other candidates, promoted his platform, and given him a pass on hard policy questions. (Again, I am not referencing all the commentators at Fox News). Their selective representation of his policies, failure to hold his feet to the fire on releasing tax returns and total dismissal of his past liberal views, should weigh heavy on them in November.
Caving On Trump
As I have said on multiple occasions, I do not like Donald Trump. I think he is a self-absorbed, pompous, obtuse and amoral narcissist. I could use a lot more adjectives, but you probably get the idea. The fact that he is the frontrunner in this election, and has managed to squeeze out the majority of the suitable alternatives fills me with angst.
When Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, I don’t believe anyone saw him as a serious contender. Irrespective of his outsider status and lack of political experience, he did not have the demeanor of a presidential candidate. He had a controversial past, multiple marriages and divorces, and a reputation for lewd and misogynistic comments. He was polarizing to say the least.
At the first debate, he refused to pledge his loyalty to the GOP by rejecting a third-party candidacy, and this set nerves on edge, mine included. Historically, independent candidates do not help the GOP win elections, and no one wanted to take a chance on that dynamic in 2016. Trump asserted that his allegiance to the GOP was conditional on fair treatment. Reince Priebus exacted a pledge from Trump, which was relatively worthless, but it served to assuage the GOP’s fears. My take at the time was that we needed to keep Trump within the party no matter what.
Boy was I wrong. We all know that hindsight is 20/20, and it certainly is in this case. I am sure many will disagree with me, but I think we would have been in a better position now if we had called Trump’s bluff and let him run third party. We could have used the full resources of the RNC against him without breaking Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican”. The plethora of material at our disposal was staggering. Our debates would have been substantive, not to mention less chaotic, and Trump would have seen a lot less free media coverage.
I think his candidacy as an Independent would have been a shadow of what is has been as a Republican. I am convinced that he would not have the unwavering support that he has managed to gain by running as a “conservative” candidate. Make no mistake, Trump is not a conservative. As it stands now, he is shattering the GOP, and the Reagan Revolution will never be the same.
Trump has benefitted from over 2 billion dollars in free prime-time advertising courtesy of Fox News Channel, among others. Fox is the main culprit here, and they are complicit in his rise to power, because they have convinced many of their conservative viewers that he is one of them. They have validated his presence in the campaign, and hailed him as a “messiah” who will tear down the walls of the establishment and usher in a new and improved Republican Party. They are wrong.
In his endless appearances on Hannity, Fox and Friends and The O’Reilly Factor, they treat him with kid gloves, and avoid questioning him on any of the hard issues. They make him look good, and a lot of them have publicly voiced their support for his candidacy. I tuned into the O’Reilly Factor last night, and Bill was “coaching” Trump on how to look and act presidential. He schooled him in evading the provocation that will certainly come his way as he climbs upward to the nomination. It was ridiculous.
Then, instead of Bill hammering Trump on his policies, he asked him who his favorite president was. They discussed the character of Reagan and Lincoln, and then Bill asked him his opinion of John F. Kennedy. Really? (Coincidentally, O’Reilly has written books on all three) What bearing does that have on the election? It is called “filling time” and saving Trump from damaging his lead by saying something stupid. I was waiting for Bill to ask him about his favorite color.
Trump has backed out of the next debate citing his opinion that there have been too many, and he has won them all anyway. I think it is more a combination of not wanting to go head to head with Ted Cruz, who will be vicious on policy, and wanting to coast into the next primaries. Most campaign strategists agree that when a candidate is doing well, it is usually best to maintain the status quo.
Even now, or at the convention, I would love to see the GOP come up with a way to force Trump out of the party. He threatens, “rioting in the streets” if this happens, but we need to stop being afraid of Donald Trump. This is not the Mafia, and he is not the Godfather. Let him run as an Independent and take the nuts that support him right along with him. With Trump as the GOP candidate, we will lose anyway. I personally would rather lose with a good candidate who is representative of the true qualities of a conservative Republican, than see the party damaged by the likes of Trump.
I am currently reading a great book called, The Generals: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, and the Winning of World War II. As I was reading last night, I came to a passage that gave me pause. The context is Patton discovering the atrocities committed by the Nazi’s, and his insistence that the civilian population in the nearby villages be forced to see what their government has been doing. It reads,
“They crawled out of their cellars and hiding places and looked around into a profound silence enveloping the entire nation. Many, probably most of them, terribly embarrassed and ashamed at what their leaders had put them through but, after all, they had initially voted Hitler and the Nazis into power. It was one of the most horrid mistakes a democracy had ever made and a powerful lesson for today and tomorrow.”
Where Does He Go From Here?
The evening of March 15, brought the end of Senator Marco Rubio’s bid for the White House. Losing his home state of Florida to Donald Trump, and along with it, all 99 delegates, Rubio suspended his campaign. Although he still has more delegates than John Kasich, even with Kasich’s Ohio win, Rubio took one for the team, and backed out of the race with a speech that was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan in 1976. Reagan delivered a speech to his tearful campaign staff in Kansas City, Missouri, after he failed to win the Republican nomination that was akin to the upbeat message Rubio delivered. Both candidates entreated their constituents to remain optimistic in the face of defeat, but struck a tone that left them wondering if their beloved candidates would rise again.
For those of us who supported Marco Rubio, it was a heart-wrenching evening, indeed. I am still mourning the loss. It felt like 2012 all over again, when I sat on the floor in my family room watching the election returns as Mitt Romney challenged incumbent President Obama. I really thought that Romney would prevail, as did pundits like Dick Morris who predicted a landslide win for Romney. Karl Rove infamously thought news stations had called the race too early and continued working the delegate math on his dry erase board, but it was not to be. The voters had spoken and returned Obama to Washington for another four years. I remember staring blankly at the television wondering how this could happen, and when I saw Barack Obama head to the podium for his victory speech, I hit the “off” button on the remote. I prepared for four more long years, and prayed for a winning candidate in 2016. For me, Marco Rubio was that candidate.
I will admit I did not support Rubio initially. I was really a fan of Ben Carson and his common sense approach to politics. After watching a few debates, and reading Rubio’s autobiography, “An American Son”, I became a believer. I have never cared for Trump or Cruz, and now, after seventeen candidates, this is where we are. Kasich has no path, so he will be gone in due time. I have negative feelings towards Kasich anyway, and I think he should have departed the race before Rubio. He cost Marco a minimum of a win in Virginia, and if Carson and he had just put aside their egos earlier, as they polled in single digits, this race would look quite different. Even now, Kasich refuses to throw in the towel.
Winning Ohio is not the coup most would think for his campaign, as he is their sitting Governor. I read a great analysis of Kasich’s character on twitter some weeks back, “He’s the guy in the office who drinks the last cup of coffee and doesn’t make a fresh pot.” Some think he is bucking for the vice-presidential spot on a Trump ticket and that could be, but I really believe he thinks he can win and so refuses to cede the floor.
Where does Rubio go from here? He opted not to run for reelection to the Senate, so his term will be up in January 2017. Rubio hit the political scene as a rising star in the Tea Party movement in 2010, after winning a hard-fought election against “establishment” favorite, Charlie Crist. Time Magazine and many among the GOP referred to him as, “The Republican Savior”. I think it is highly unlikely that he is finished in the political arena. He has too much talent and an intrinsic motivation to serve in public office.
A logical move after his time as a State Representative and Speaker of the Florida House would be a run for Governor. The current Governor, Rick Scott, will be term limited in 2018, and rumor has it he will seek election to the United States Senate. At 44, Marco Rubio has a lot of time to make a second bid for the White House, as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan did before him.
This election cycle has been like none other. I do not think anyone expected Donald Trump to be the frontrunner, edging out the more qualified candidates. I think we will most likely have a contested convention in Cleveland, as even Trump with a plurality of delegates will have to secure over 55% in each state going forward to cinch the nomination. In true Trump fashion, he has already promised, “rioting in the streets” if the GOP tries to deny him the nomination. Ted Cruz will need 78% of the delegates going forward to win the nomination outright, so the chances for him to be the de facto nominee are even slimmer.
In addition, Marco Rubio still has 164 delegates, and most remain his until after the first ballot of the convention. In his concession speech in Florida, he said he was “suspending” his campaign. In 1992, Ross Perot reentered the race as late as October against George Bush and Bill Clinton, so stranger things have happened. We could even see a deal prior to or at the convention where a Cruz/Rubio ticket emerges, which would be formidable.
One thing is for sure, neither Trump nor Cruz is the first choice of the GOP. They want to win and Donald Trump loses in every poll against Clinton, and Cruz does not fare well in most. They would much rather have Rubio, because he is the only candidate who has polled consistently to win a match-up against Hillary Clinton. Will they bring him back in as a unity candidate at the convention? Doubtful maybe, but then again, politics is a strange science.
I can promise you this: we have not seen the last of Marco Rubio.
Fox News is Essentially “Trump Network”
I am a faithful Fox News viewer. I usually catch most of their weeknight evening line-up of Bret Baier, Greta Van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity. It is my news channel of choice. I have always considered them to be as they advertise, “fair and balanced”.
In the last few weeks though, that has changed. The Republican Primary process has brought out the worst in some at Fox News. They are 100% in the Trump camp. I don’t personally like Donald Trump, and I think he is ill-suited for the presidency. I could cite dozens of examples of his lewd behavior and hateful rhetoric, not to mention the fact that he has no substantive knowledge of the issues, but I will limit this piece to my frustration with Fox News.
I understand that some at FNC are pundits or commentators, and some are hard news anchors. Commentators especially, are free to give their own opinion of the candidates, but I just have a hard time with the extreme bias that Fox has shown towards Trump and the inordinate amount of airtime he receives. It is prime-time free advertising. Sean Hannity has devoted entire episodes to Trump, as has Greta Van Susteren. A few weeks ago, we were treated to a one-on-one interview with Melania Trump, followed by a tour of their penthouse at Trump Towers. You would think that Trump had already won the election, and that she was our First Lady.
Compare it to the amount of airtime the other candidates receive, and there is a sharp contrast. My angst has been growing steadily, and reached the breaking point a couple of weeks ago, when Sean Hannity exploded over Marco Rubio’s “attacks” on Donald Trump. Now, Donald Trump has viciously attacked every single candidate in the GOP primary. These are personal attacks, and he has launched them on Fox News, other news stations, as well during the debates. He has even attacked commentators employed by Fox News. Marco Rubio finally had his fill and spent a few days giving them right back to Trump. Apparently, that was too much for Sean Hannity. He proceeded to lambaste Marco for running a “scorched earth” campaign against Trump, and added that it was a “bridge too far” in his opinion.
On the O’Reilly Factor, Dennis Miller, a man who has made a living hurling insults and personal slams, called Marco Rubio, “a nasty guy”. Rumor has it that Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, has alerted some of the Fox News hosts that “they can’t do the Rubio thing” anymore. Laura Ingraham, an FNC contributor, is dismissive of Rubio because of his work on immigration reform, and she makes no bones about it.
There are still some Fox News Contributors who are in Rubio’s corner. Stephen Hayes, Charles Krauthammer, and Marc Thiessen seem to treat Marco fairly in their reporting. Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly are decently considerate towards him as well. But on the whole, the bias has turned me off of my usual nightly line-up. I still tune in for Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly, but they are the only ones. If you’re a Twitter follower, you’ve heard plenty of disdain towards Fox News, with some even suggesting that CNN is a better option these days.
I haven’t gone that far yet, but the primary isn’t over either. I just think that news organizations ought to be a little more neutral in their reporting. They have a vast ability to influence public opinion on candidates, and I think they all deserve a fair shake. Just FYI…