Republicans Seek Open Convention to Stop Trump

Within the space of a few months, the prospect of a contested convention in the United States has gone from outlandish to the Republican Party establishment’s last, best hope of stopping businessman Donald Trump.

Before voting started, this website argued that an open convention was unlikely. Reporters dream of one every four years, but every four years the parties manage to find a nominee in time.

For good reason. The last time the Democrats needed to “broker” their convention was in 1952. The last time the Republicans had one was in 1948. At both times, the parties went on to lose the general election. The spectacle of a party struggling to agree on a presidential nominee doesn’t inspire much confidence in voters. Read more “Republicans Seek Open Convention to Stop Trump”

The Party Is Deciding: Anyone But Trump

Having underestimated Donald Trump for months, Republicans in the United States are finally taking action to try to stop him from claiming their party’s presidential nomination this summer.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee, called Trump, a property tycoon and television personality, a “phony” and a “fraud” on Thursday.

In an unprecedented intervention in the party’s presidential contest, Romney urged voters to back anyone but Trump.

CNN suggests that the speech may be remembered as the moment when the party establishment’s “long-brewing horror over the billionaire businessman burst into open political combat.”

Romney’s concise, categorical takedown of Trump’s intellect, character and motivation amounted to a tipping point in a long-building revolt among Republican elders now openly despairing of the former reality TV star’s grip on the [party’s] nomination and his staunch armies of outsider voters who refuse to abandon their outspoken champion.

With the exception of Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker and Nebraska senator Ben Sasse, most elected Republicans still maintain they would support Trump if he is nominated. But House speaker Paul Ryan, the most powerful Republican in the country, has twice taken umbrage at some of the businessman’s most outlandish proposals, including a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.

“This is not conservatism,” Ryan said in December. Read more “The Party Is Deciding: Anyone But Trump”

Realignment Less Likely Than Republican Split

Republican National Convention Tampa Florida
Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 30, 2012 (Think Out Loud)

Donald Trump’s seemingly unstoppable march to the Republican Party’s presidential nomination could be the harbinger of a political realignment in the United States.

Lee Drutman argues at Vox that the Republicans are split between a growing nationalist-populist wing and a pragmatic, pro-business wing. The latter is often called the “establishment” and has prevailed in every presidential contest since Barry Goldwater won the nomination in 1964.

This year could be its undoing. Read more “Realignment Less Likely Than Republican Split”

Donald Trump and the Republican Schism of 2016

Unless Donald Trump were to unexpectedly suffer losses across the dozen states that hold their presidential nominating contests on Tuesday, it is hard to imagine how the property tycoon’s hostile takeover of the Republican Party could lead to anything but a schism on the American right.

The last 72 hours saw an escalation of the farce that the Republican presidential contest has descended into. Trump traded his most vulgar barbs yet with his closest competitor, Marco Rubio. He unwittingly quoted Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini and quite deliberately refused to disavow the Ku Klux Klan, despite being asked to several times on a Sunday morning news program.

NBC News argues that the Republican Party is “coming apart before our very eyes.” The Cook Political Report‘s Amy Walter agrees. “It’s been divided for years,” she tweets, “but Trump is [the] catalyst for its ‘creative destruction’.” Read more “Donald Trump and the Republican Schism of 2016”

Party Makes Contingency Plans for Trump Victory

Republicans in the United States have begun drawing up contingency plans in case businessman Donald Trump continues to rack up support for his presidential campaign, The New York Times reports.

Plans range from challenging the New York mogul at the nominating convention in Cleveland, Ohio this summer to distancing the party from a candidate Trump.

Behind the scenes, the mood is despondent. The newspaper spoke with dozens of donors, elected officials and political strategists whose efforts to save the party from Trump sputtered and stalled at every turn. Now many worry it may be too late. Read more “Party Makes Contingency Plans for Trump Victory”

Something Is Rotten in the Republican Party

Jeb Bush
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush walks off the stage of a Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, January 28 (Gage Skidmore)

Jeb Bush’s failure in the Republican Party’s presidential nominating contest does not just reflect poorly on the man’s political skills; it is an indictment of what his party has become.

The obituaries of Bush’s ill-fated campaign had already been written before the brother and son of former presidents got less than 8 percent support in South Carolina on Saturday and pulled the plug that very night. He had governing experience when voters wanted someone to shake up Washington DC; he was the establishment favorite when voters wanted an outsider; he was reasonable and soft-spoken when voters preferred a loudmouth.

None of which seems wrong. But just how did it happen that one of the two biggest political parties in the world’s most powerful democracy would rather elect a demagogue like Ted Cruz or Donald Trump than the former governor of a swing state with a very conservative record? Read more “Something Is Rotten in the Republican Party”

Movement Conservatives Urge Voters to Stop Trump

National Review, one of the most influential conservative publications in the United States, urged right-wing voters on Friday not to support Donald Trump, arguing that the New York businessman is a “philosophically unmoored political opportunist” who would trash the ideological consensus within the Republican Party “in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.”

With only two weeks to go before Iowa kicks off what could be months-long contest for the Republican presidential nomination, the magazine’s stand against Trump — who is still leading in the polls — could be the start of a concerted effort to stop the real-estate mogul and prevent an all-but-certain defeat in November’s election against the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton.

“This is the time to mobilize,” National Review‘s editor, Rich Lowry, told Politico.

The establishment is AWOL, or even worse, so it’s up to people who really believe in these ideas and principles, for whom they’re not just talking points or positions of convenience, to set out the marker. Read more “Movement Conservatives Urge Voters to Stop Trump”

Don’t Mind Corbyn, Trump: The Establishment Always Wins

Political parties are the arbiters in democracies. Peter Berger, a sociologist, call them the dams that hold at bay the howling frenzies lurking in the human soul. But, “All institutions are fragile,” he writes in The American Interest. “Sometimes the dams break” and you get someone like Jeremy Corbyn or Donald Trump.

The former, a unrepentant Marxist and peacenik, recently won the British Labour Party’s leadership election. The latter, a loudmouthed real-estate mogul, now tops the polls for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in the United States.

Corbyn isn’t going to win power in a country that only four months ago gave David Cameron’s Conservatives their first parliamentary majority in twenty years. Nor is Trump likely to secure the Republican nomination, let alone win the 2016 election.

But the fact that they’ve got this far calls into question the theory that “the party decides.” Read more “Don’t Mind Corbyn, Trump: The Establishment Always Wins”

Principled Conservatives Can’t Support Donald Trump

Sometimes it seems America’s Republicans only like limited government when they’re not in charge. Certainly supporters of Donald Trump, a businessman and candidate for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, fall into this category.

In his latest column for The Washington Post, George Will wonders why conservatives should back a man who until recently wasn’t even a Republican and is at best indifferent to conservative tenets.

Trump supported Barack Obama’s stimulus and advocates higher taxes. He changed his mind on abortion rights and marriage equality but still supports legalizing drugs (a few years ago anyway, he might have reversed his position on that as well). Trump’s appeal derives primarily from his anti-immigration rhetoric — which, as Will points out, may drive even more Asian American and Hispanic voters away from the party. Read more “Principled Conservatives Can’t Support Donald Trump”