"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“It Really Is This Simple”: Donald Trump Should Not Be President Of The United States

The #NeverTrump movement is rightfully disgusted and deeply concerned about the prospect of Donald Trump winning the presidency. These #NeverTrump conservatives have admirably broken from the Republican National Committee, which seems to care far more about avoiding “an embarrassing spectacle” at the convention than about sparing the party from being enduringly identified with Trump.

I admire and sympathize with #NeverTrump motives. But I’ve been unable to shake the feeling that the movement’s goal is not just futile but also somehow illegitimate. Trump won the nomination fair and square. He pulled in nearly 45 percent of the vote in the GOP primary, which is on the low end historically but not at all unprecedented. He carried 36 states and ended up with 300 more delegates than he needed to clinch the nomination. Roughly 14 million people voted for him, which is 4 million more than Mitt Romney won four years ago. All of which means that Trump seems to deserve the honor of standing as the Republican Party’s nominee for president.

The GOP should dump Trump anyway.

Yes, an anti-Trump coup (in which delegates are given the freedom to vote their consciences) would most likely fail. And even if it succeeded, it would almost certainly guarantee a GOP loss in November. Bill Kristol may like to indulge in fantasy-tweets about how an alternative nominee could win in November. But the result would almost certainly be a badly fractured party, with probably around a third of its voters bolting to a protest candidate or just staying home on Election Day.

The case for a coup has different grounds. It’s not about the conservative movement or the Republican Party’s chances in the 2016 election. It’s about what’s best for the country.

Since he clinched the nomination, Trump has managed the seemingly impossible by becoming even more erratic and even less presidential than he was during the primaries. The insults, the transparent lies, the racist taunting and bullying, the demagoguery, the narcissistic self-obsession, the incapacity to take a position and stick to it, the failure to raise funds and manage a campaign — the man has no business running anything of public consequence, let alone the government of the most powerful nation on the planet.

It really is that simple: Donald Trump should not be president of the United States. If there is even a small chance of successfully deposing him at the convention — an act that, if it worked, would deprive him of the means to compete in the general election — it should be undertaken. The alternative is complicity in a politically reckless and blatantly irresponsible endeavor: the attempted election of a candidate who deserves to lose.

Beyond the dangers posed by Trump himself are more sweeping concerns. As Jonathan Rauch argues in his important cover story in The Atlantic, American politics has gone “insane” in recent years due to the unintended consequences of a series of democratic reforms since the 1970s. These reforms severely weakened, and in some cases eliminated entirely, numerous informal intermediary institutions in Congress and the parties that once served to stymie the self-interested egoism of individual politicians and channel the populist passions of grassroots movements. Individual politicians are now increasingly free agents out to do the bidding of the angriest and most agitated voters, with both sides using social media to circumvent the institutions that would have once hemmed them in.

Rauch’s analysis is mostly correct — and he’s right to conclude that the best thing we can do to prevent the further degradation of our political system is to reassert the vitality of those old, anemic intermediary institutions. Allowing delegates to opt for an alternative to Trump would be a powerful example of precisely such a reassertion. The party would be saying, in effect, that although Trump prevailed democratically, democracy isn’t the only thing that counts. The party itself stands for something — not just popular government, but good government — and it would rather go down upholding a high standard than allow itself to be used as a hollow conduit for a demagogic rabblerouser to attain the pinnacle of power.

But wouldn’t this backfire? If the party denied Trump the nomination at the Republican convention, wouldn’t it fuel a “stabbed in the back” narrative that would inspire an even darker political movement four years from now? This was Jeet Heer’s argument in a recent smart piece in The New Republic. The Trump voters are a problem for American democracy, Heer asserted, one that can only be solved by allowing them to get their nominee and then ensuring that he’s roundly defeated at the ballot box in November.

It’s a powerful argument, but I’m unpersuaded that a general-election defeat will “solve” the problem of the Trump voters. These voters are activated now. Trump has given them a style and the rudiments of a policy agenda that they clearly prefer to the offerings from either the Republicans or the Democrats. The only way to keep those voters from flocking to Trump four years from now, or rallying around some even-worse populist copycat, is for the GOP to woo them by adjusting its platform and agenda.

That’s what both parties did after the original Populists upended American politics in the 1890s. It could happen again. It needs to happen again. And whether and how it happens will do far more to determine the future shape of the Republican Party than whether it dumps Trump this July.

In the short term, the party would most likely be wrecked. But that could well be less destructive, in the longer term, for both the party and the country, than trying to ride the Trump tiger. Exiling the Trump voters in 2016 would save the GOP from making a fatal compromise with competence and put it in a relatively strong position to run more compelling and capable post-Trump populists in the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections. America would be much better for it.

At the end of the transformation, the Republican Party would look and sound quite a bit different than it has since Ronald Reagan took it over 36 years ago. But Republicans should consider that vastly preferable to allowing Trump to remake the party in his own Know Nothing image. We all should.


By: Damon Linker, The Week, June 29, 2016

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Conservatives, Donald Trump, Republican National Committee | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Not-So-Secret GOP Strategy For Everything”: Do Nothing, And Blame Obama

You almost have to feel sorry for House Speaker John Boehner. He’s taken on the task of crafting a punitive, stingy, self-contradictory GOP version of a bill to deal with the border crisis that most of his party wants to blame solely on President Obama. There’s no reward for that.

His apparent leadership rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, has been whipping Boehner’s members to oppose Boehner’s bill. As part of an attempted compromise, the speaker is going to let his members vote to end the president’s deferred action on deportations, even though they have no power to do that. But he wants to keep that issue separate from the border-crisis bill, and Cruz, the shadow speaker, is telling members to say no.

In the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol sides with Speaker Cruz. Passing Boehner’s bill, he says, will interfere with the GOP’s top priority – running up big election wins in November. The only reasonable GOP response to the border crisis is to do nothing – and blame Obama.

Now, it’s been obvious since early 2009 that this is the GOP agenda. Rarely, however, does any Republican lay bare the craven political logic behind the party’s anti-Obama obstructionism. But wrong-way Bill Kristol is no average guy. His inbred arrogance lets him treat thuggish political sabotage as political genius. He seems to think he’ll get his point across to House backbenchers if he speaks very slowly and enunciates.

Here’s how he spells it out:

If the GOP does nothing, and if Republicans explain that there’s no point acting due to the recalcitrance of the president to deal with the policies that are causing the crisis, the focus will be on the president. Republican incumbents won’t have problematic legislation to defend or questions to answer about what further compromises they’ll make. Republican challengers won’t have to defend or attack GOP legislation. Instead, the focus can be on the president.

Get it? If they listen to Kristol, Republicans won’t have to do any of the heavy lifting associated with governing. Just vote with Speaker Ted Cruz, get back on the campaign trail to bash Obama, and all will be well.

While he’s at it, Kristol also backs up the Obama administration’s claim that the House GOP plan could make things worse at the border. Both sides seem to agree that Boehner’s bill is a mess. But that’s not the reason to kill it, Kristol argues. The reason to kill it is entirely political.

Boehner’s team seems to think that by passing a bad bill that will never become law anyway, Republicans will nonetheless get credit for trying to deal with the border mess, rather than just point fingers at the president. Kristol thinks Boehner has that entirely backward: No one who matters – meaning, nobody in the GOP base that’s so crucial to 2014 midterm success – is going to care that Boehner tried to solve the problem. That’s just distracting. The entire point is to blame Obama — while giving him absolutely no help in making things better.

Oh, and to my false-equivalence-loving, “both sides do it” friends in the media: Bill Kristol sees you, and he’s not fooled. Republicans might get credit from the media for tackling the issue “perhaps for one day,” but it “will take the focus off the man who is above all responsible for the disaster at the border — the president.” On the other hand, if Republicans kill the bill, Kristol knows he can count on leading pundits to go back to asking their most urgent question: Why can’t Obama lead?

Kristol’s strategy is not just politically craven, it’s cruel to the children and families at the border. But Republicans can’t be expected to care about them. And yet, if you believe the new immigrants are vectors of crime and disease, as many conservatives do, inaction is also cruel to the good red-state voters of Arizona and Texas who are bearing the brunt of the influx. You might want to help those red states protect themselves, by passing some funding and some legislative relief to reduce the logjam at the border, and send those who don’t deserve asylum home more quickly.


Any kind of legislative solution — even a sham one like Boehner’s — would accept the premise that the border crisis is a complicated bipartisan creation, the result of years of drug, immigration and national security policies that worsened the poverty and political corruption driving Central Americans to flee their homes or send their children north. Any kind of solution also commits the GOP to being a partner in governing, and they’ve given up on that, in the age of Obama and perhaps permanently.

Better to do nothing and blame Obama, and count on the media to fall for it – again. Kristol has been proven wrong about virtually everything else in his career, but he’s been right about the media, so his corrupt strategy may just work.


By: Joan Walsh, Editor at Large, Salon, July 31, 2014

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Border Crisis, GOP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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