Mitt Romney, Bill Kristol, and others in the #NeverTrump pseudo-movement have been looking for a way to derail Donald Trump from being the lone representative of the anti-Clinton opposition. Yes, that sentence was a mouthful, but that’s exactly what we’re dealing with in this strange Presidential election year. They are pushing options that may or may not work. If they don’t do it, the party will be splintered. If they do it, the party will be splintered. The only scenario that could possibly prevent catastrophic losses within and for the GOP is far-fetched and would rely on Trump himself helping out.
It’s 2016. Anything is possible.
The two scenarios currently being proposed by various factions of those opposed to both Trump and Clinton are:
- Find a Third Candidate: With the Libertarian nomination of Gary Johnson, any hope of a conservative candidate emerging organically fell to the wayside. David French, writer at National Review, was thrown in as an option and was abruptly thrown back out. Ben Sasse, Romney, Condaleeza Rice, and a handful of generals were floated, but as of now nobody is playing ball. Romney is having a meeting to discuss, so he may throw his name in the ring, but that wouldn’t bring much hope and would be a guarantee that the party would not survive the election.
- Hold a Delegate Revolt at the Convention: The illusion that the political parties are beholden to their voting members across the country would be shattered in this scenario. The veil would be lifted and millions of Republicans, even some who are opposed to Trump, would feel instantly disenfranchised by learning a quick lesson in the reality of party politics.
Both options stink, but if I had to choose one, I’d go for the first. In option two, there’s a pretty darn good chance that Trump would run as an independent. He’d likely end up with more votes than the nominee. In option 1, there’s a chance for success.
The third “option” is one that would rely on Donald Trump being Donald Trump at the right moment. It would require zero meddling by the Republican party; no fancy rules changes ahead of the convention would work. Even if, as Amanda Carpenter suggests, the party unbound the delegates in a vote of no confidence, there would be a revolt if Trump didn’t get the nomination. However, if Trump does his part and implodes at the right moment, the alternative would emerge. That alternative would be Ted Cruz.
Since Cruz is second in bound delegates and is the only other candidate who meets the qualifications of rule 40B to be on the delegates’ ballots, an implosion by Trump could be enough to get enough delegates to abstain on the first ballot. On the second ballot, Cruz would be the nominee.
Trump has been imploding a little bit at a time for months. The latest problem that’s been causing all of the speculation to oust him is the battle he’s had between Trump University case Judge Gonzalo Curiel. It has caused many to withhold or even reverse their endorsements of Trump. Alone, it won’t stand as a valid reason for delegates to abstain, but one more scandal or major misstep by Trump should do the trick. He’s close. All he needs to do is be himself one more time. The best time for this to happen would be the week prior to the convention, that way the rules committee doesn’t have a valid reason to unbind everyone and start from scratch with Scott Walker, Romney, Marco Rubio, or someone else who would be immediately flung behind the eight ball for not being viable enough to challenge Trump during the primaries. With Cruz, the support and the favorable delegates are already in place.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d take Walker, Rubio, or even Romney over Trump. I’d take any of the original 16 non-Trump candidates over Trump. I’d take just about any true Republican with a pulse over the liberal Democrat from New York. However, there’s still the issue of defeating Clinton, which means that the nominee would need a base of supporters. That’s Cruz.
It should be noted that in this scenario, Carly Fiorina would likely not be the VP nominee. The party, which nominates the VP separately, would likely install either John Kasich or Walker.
It’s a strange scenario that relies on Trump, but let’s call it like it is. The chances of Trump doing nothing idiotic between now and the convention are low. He might be a good boy for a little while since he’s been threatened by the Curiel situation, but it probably won’t last. We can’t rely on an implosion, but it’s the best thing that could happen for the party. It’s the best thing that could happen for the country.