GOP losing its way
A recent poll of Republicans indicated that 88 percent of respondents think their political party is broken and the only question is, what were the other 12 percent thinking?
At the upcoming Republican convention in Cleveland Donald Trump may enter the convention with more than the 1,237 delegates required for his nomination. That would end all but the party that follows and the campaign against the Democratic nominee.
But will there still be a Republican Party after 2016 if Trump is the nominee?
The people critics call the “Republican Establishment” are those Republicans in office and those seeking to continue to elect Republicans to office. And it is these people, including the 24 Republican senators running for re-election, who worry about the survival of their party should Trump be their nominee for president.
The concern is that Trump’s polling negatives, higher than any candidate in polling history, and the demographic problems Trump has created for himself and all Republicans, might doom his election and those running as Republicans in 2016.
The demographic issues include well, obviously, Hispanics who seem less than thrilled with being stereotyped as murderers and rapists; women who likely do not want to be punished should they experience an abortion, and who seem less than appreciative of Trump’s misogyny; African-Americans who just get booted for showing up at the Trump white peoples’ rallies; and all those Americans not so excited about the penchant of Trump to urge his supporters to violence.
Should Trump cost other Republicans the support of all of those voting blocks, then the Republican losses of 2016 could exceed those of any single election in Republican history.
But what alternatives do Republicans have? If Trump leads in delegates will they deny him the nomination if he is short of the 1,237 that constitute a majority of delegates? The answer is unknown, but the discussion is taking place.
If Trump is denied, will he take his followers and run as a third party candidate, thus insuring Republicans lose the election by dividing their votes?
Would Trump ask his followers to stay at home and not vote, causing Republicans to lose the election?
Would there be riots as Trump has almost suggested to his followers? Would the convention itself break out in violence after encouragement from Trump?
Perhaps Trump will honorably accept the will of the convention and support whoever the eventual nominee is, if not himself. Trump may endorse Cruz or Kasich if they are selected on later ballots.
But if that were likely, Trump supporting another nominee, then why has Trump recently said he will not agree to support any eventual Republican nominee?
There is no path forward that preserves or protects the Republican Party. If Trump is the nominee, the party faces an election defeat of large proportion unless demographics are no longer meaningful mathematically.
Alternatively, if Trump is not nominated, does anyone think he will go quietly into the night, offering wishes of hope to the eventual nominee?
In either case the Republican Party may never recover from the split between its officeholders and its supporters who no longer trust the party to represent their interests in opposing job killing trade agreements, taxing wealthy Americans more, and actually passing legislation inCongress.
This is a party that has lost its way, and Donald Trump is just the messenger demonstrating the depth of the fall.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.