Republican Party Comes Unhinged at Trump’s Convention

Monday was the first day of Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention and the event alternated between the terrifying and the bizarre.

  • Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, delivered a speech that was even more alarmist and deranged than usual, warning that terrorists are about to enter the country to kill Americans. “There’s no next election,” he warned. “This is it. There’s no more time for us left to revive our great country.”
  • Antonio Sábato, an actor and former underwear model who spoke at the convention (why?), told ABC News that President Barack Obama is a Muslim who was raised in the Middle East.
  • Wisconsin congressman Sean Duffy — like Trump, a former reality television star — said that while “radical jihadists are killing Americans,” President Obama and Hillary Clinton “are fretting over whether to call it workplace violence or hate crime.”
  • Two other speakers, Colorado Senate nominee Darryl Glenn and retired general Michael Flynn, argued that Clinton deserves to go to prison.
  • Iowa congressman Steve King, a Trump supporter, said in an interview with MSNBC on the sidelines of the convention that no other “subgroup” of humanity has contributed more to civilization than whites.
  • Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke accused the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been protesting police violence, of bringing “anarchy” to the streets of America.
  • Trump’s wife, Melania, plagiarized a part of Michelle Obama’s convention speech from eight years ago.

And that was just the mayhem they served up on primetime. Read more “Republican Party Comes Unhinged at Trump’s Convention”

Anti-Trump Delegates Don’t Have the Numbers

A last-ditch attempt to take the Republican presidential nomination away from Donald Trump does not appear to have the numbers.

Politico reports that only a minority of the 112 delegates who will write the rules for the party’s nominating convention in July are sympathetic to the bid.

Most want to keep the rules as they are, which bind delegates to the popular vote in their district or state.

1,542 delegates are pledged to support Trump. A majority of 1,237 are needed to claim the nomination. Read more “Anti-Trump Delegates Don’t Have the Numbers”

Anti-Trump Delegates Start Organizing Putsch

The Washington Post reports that dozens of delegates to the Republican National Convention in July are organizing a last-minute putsch against Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee.

Eric Minor, a delegate from Washington state, said he joined the effort because “I hear a lot of people saying, ‘Why doesn’t somebody do something about this?’ Well, you know what, I’m one of the people who can. There’s only 2,400 of us. I’m going to reach out to us and see if there seems to be momentum for this.”

Trump has won enough bound delegates in the primaries to claim the nomination, but those delegates could themselves change the rules at the convention and vote for someone else. Read more “Anti-Trump Delegates Start Organizing Putsch”

Conservatives Plot Last-Ditch Effort to Stop Trump

After a week in which Donald Trump startled fellow Republicans with his blatant racism (claiming the judge in a court case against him is biased because of his “Mexican heritage”), some are plotting to take the presidential nomination away from the businessman at the convention in July.

Erick Erickson, a right-wing activist who was involved in the futile search for a third-party candidate to run against Trump, writes at his website, The Resurgent, that some are looking at Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to save the party from a Trump nomination.

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 dropped out of the race before the primaries even got underway. When he did, in September of last year, I argued that he was a weak candidate: unversed in foreign policy and inexperienced at the national stage, he tried to please everybody and predictably ended up pleasing no one.

I have little doubt Walker would lose against Hillary Clinton in November. But at least he would lose as a Republican and spare the country the destructive and divisive campaign Trump is bound to conduct. Read more “Conservatives Plot Last-Ditch Effort to Stop Trump”

Republicans Look to Prevent a “Trump” in 2020

Donald Trump has yet to be nominated for the presidency, but Republicans are already looking for ways to prevent another candidate like him in four years’ time.

Politico reports that Ted Cruz’ delegates — who are still pledged to support the Texan at the convention even though he has dropped out in Trump’s favor — are pushing for reforms that would restrict the nominating process to Republicans only.

Trump, who wasn’t a Republican until a few years ago, did well in so-called open primaries, when non-Republicans can vote. Cruz, a hardline conservative, did better in closed primaries, when only registered Republicans participate. Read more “Republicans Look to Prevent a “Trump” in 2020″

Trump Candidacy Divides Republican Office Holders

Donald Trump is splitting Republicans between those who are ready to make peace with the Manhattan businessman and others who still struggle to accept he is now likely to become their party’s presidential nominee.

House speaker Paul Ryan, who twice broke with tradition to intervene in the presidential nominating contest this year to censure Trump for his divisive rhetoric, is the highest official to have declared himself “not ready” to endorse the former television personality.

“I’m not there right now,” Ryan, who was the party’s vice presidential candidate in 2012, told CNN.

His counterpart in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, by contrast, says he is “committed” to helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate, in November.

Other prominent Republicans who have endorsed Trump — many since his victory in the Indiana primary forced this two remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, out of the race — include the party’s 1996 and 2004 presidential candidates, Bob Dale and John McCain, former Texas governor Rick Perry, whom some movement conservatives had hoped to recruit for a third-party bid, and the incumbent governors of Florida, Indiana, Texas and Wisconsin.

Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who donated more than anyone to Republicans in the last election, has also voiced his support for Trump. Read more “Trump Candidacy Divides Republican Office Holders”

End of the Road for America’s Republicans

United States Capitol Washington
United States Capitol in Washington DC at night, September 18, 2014 (Thomas Hawk)

NBC News reports that America’s Republican Party finds itself in two binds.

The first is called Donald Trump. The party can either nominate him and lose the general election. Or it can stop him at the convention, infuriate Trump and his nativist supporters, quite possibly split the Republican coalition — and still lose the general election.

President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court poses a similar dilemma.

Republicans in the Senate can either relent, knowing that continued opposition to the relatively moderate Garland hurts their vulnerable colleagues in swing states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Or they can satisfy the hard right, which doesn’t want to give an inch — even if it means the court could end up with a more liberal judge when Hillary Clinton wins the election in November.

It looks increasingly likely that the party will surrender to its rightmost voters on both fronts. Read more “End of the Road for America’s Republicans”

Anti-Trump Platoons Could Be Forming Already

If Republicans are to block Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy at the convention this summer, they will need the help of two separate platoons of delegates: those formally unbound to any candidate and those who are only halfheartedly pledged to support the New York businessman on the first ballot.

Josh Putnam, a political scientist at the University of Georgia who specializes in election math, says that at least 117 of the 2,472 Republican delegates will arrive at the convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July uncommitted, meaning they can vote for anyone.

Of those, 27 are from territories in the Pacific, 28 from the state of North Dakota and 54 from Pennsylvania.

If Trump falls just short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination — as seems likely — those unbound delegates could put him over the top.

Which means Trump’s opponents will need them to vote for somebody else on the first ballot to keep the show going. Read more “Anti-Trump Platoons Could Be Forming Already”

Republican Party Has Every Right to Stop Trump

If Republicans in the United States only manage to stop Donald Trump by making use of arcane nominating rules and convention dealmaking, many would inevitably deride this as an establishment coup against the legitimate frontrunner for the presidential nomination.

There is some truth in this. Trump is, after all, ahead in the delegate count. But the argument rests on a misunderstanding of what political parties are for. Read more “Republican Party Has Every Right to Stop Trump”

Blocking Trump at Convention Would Be Last Resort

If Donald Trump falls short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination outright, we may not have to wait until the convention before we learn whether he succeeds or not.

Earlier this week, we reported that some mainstream Republicans in the United States are hoping to block Trump at the convention in Cleveland, Ohio this summer. They recognize that the foulmouthed businessman from New York would almost certainly lose a general election against Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in November — and possibly split the Republican Party.

But stopping him at the convention would be a last resort, argues Bloomberg View columnist Jonathan Bernstein. Party actors could use the weeks between the final nominating contests in June and the convention in July to try to influence the outcome. Read more “Blocking Trump at Convention Would Be Last Resort”