TRUMP!: What Now? …To The Convention (1 of 3)

“Even though… many old and famous States have fallen or may fall… we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!

“And even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

–Winston Churchill, 4 June 1940

Commander Riker and crew gaze in horror on the ruins of the conservative movement
Commander Riker and crew gaze in horror on the ruins of the conservative movement

Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican party.

It would be difficult to overstate the magnitude of this disaster. If you are a supporter of Mr. Trump and reading this, well, first, hello! We don’t see many of you around these parts, and I welcome your differing perspective. Second, I take you for either or a liberal or a fool; it is impossible to believe him an ally of conservatism after even a few minutes’ exposure to his record.

Odds are, you are a regular reader of this blog, and we have been over my opposition to him many, many times before. To sum up, Trump is the most unpopular major-party nominee in polling history (the second most-unpopular, oddly, is Hillary Clinton). It is difficult to imagine the Republican “brand” ever recovering from the historic damage his candidacy will do among women, non-whites, and young people… which, oh, hey, happen to be the exact demographics most key to winning elected office for the next generation. Even if Trump does win (which remains a small but real possibility), his constant shifts of position make it impossible to know precisely what he would do in office — though his more consistent opinions expressed prior to this election cycle make it clear he would be much closer in practice to Hillary than his supporters would believe possible. Will he nominate good judges to the Supreme Court? I’ll give you a definite maybe on that!  Are you sure he’ll build that wall? He’s not! (Which… is probably a good thing, come to think of it.)

Last night, we discussed how this happened. Today, we have to decide: what are we going to do about it?

This is the first of a three-part series. It deals with the fight from here to the convention. The second part deals with the 2016 election. The third part looks beyond 2016 to a new conservative future.

May 4th – July 18th: Fight In the Fields and the Streets

“If you need me to explain the problems with Donald Trump, you are one of the problems.”

–Me, in July of last year

Trump is the all-but-certain nominee. I had an array of desperate, convention-coup tactics lined up, all ready to publish here on De Civ in the event of a narrow Indiana loss. Heck, I’ve been teasing those tactics for weeks. They were the planned climax of my Conventional Chaos series. But the magnitude of the Indiana loss, combined with the GOP establishment’s sudden surrender to Trump, combined with the organized anti-Trumps (Cruz and, later today, Kasich) dropping out of the race, swept even my desperate tactics into the dustbin of implausibility.  (I may still publish the final parts of Conventional Chaos, but it is now a theoretical exercise.)

This is no excuse to give in. The Republican National Committee may have decided to form a Vichy government, but we can join the Maquis. Trump remains the weakest frontrunner in history, and faces a convention with hundreds of delegates — perhaps more — who despise him. It is important, even now, to make clear that we do not accept Trump, that we will not unify behind a party defined by Trumpism, and that we will not kneel before Zod just because Reince Preibus asked us to. If you are a Republican engaged at any level of the delegate selection process, you should continue your efforts to stymie Trump with national delegates hostile to him.

That’s not just for show, nor is it just in case a miracle happens and Trump becomes somehow vulnerable to a contested convention. The Republican National Convention exercises many important powers besides picking a president. National delegates will define the structure of the next primaries (in 2018), and they’ll decide on the 2016 party platform.

Perhaps most interestingly, Republican national delegates will have the power to choose Trump’s vice president. Delegates are not bound for a vice-presidential vote and are under no obligation to choose the person the presidential nominee wants. Ideally, I would like to see the delegates choose someone who is and remains openly hostile to Trump as his running mate… someone who could, in the unlikely event of a Trump presidency (and, let’s be honest here, not-so-unlikely impeachment of a Trump presidency) smoothly step into the Oval Office without being tarnished by the Trump legacy.  How about Jonah Goldberg for Vice President?  Or maybe we attach Carly Fiorina to the Trump campaign, against his will?

It is, as yet, unclear how likely it is that an organized Trump resistance will emerge at the convention, but no effort should be spared in pursuing it it. Trump’s candidacy should be denied every undeserved comfort, every unearned courtesy, and his conservative opponents of all stripes should be helped and heartened at every opportunity. For now, at least, the Republican Party is still the only home for conservatives in the country, and has been our vehicle, our ally, and (at times) even our friend, for over forty years. We would be fools to hand the keys to the enemy without a fight. And, frankly, we owe it to our Party and its (former) principles to battle for its soul — even if the battle is hopeless. (And, hey, you never know: maybe a miracle will happen and we’ll win!)

Meanwhile, those of you who have an opportunity to become involved in the Libertarian Party nominating process should do so. It is not clear to me how the Libertarian process works (yet), but I will be figuring that out in the coming days. If the Libertarians welcome the exiles of the GOP, it may put us in a better position come Election Day… which is the subject of Part 2.



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  • James J Heaney

    Comments open.

  • Barb

    As I stated last summer… Trump supporters are NOT liberals. They are people who listen to Rush and Fox and Fox-related news and entertainment. They have been told for years that government is the problem, and everyone in government is incompetent and corrupt, while businesspeople are virtuous and good. That means only Trump, Fiorina, and Carson were good. They believe that the Democrats are the Visigoths coming over the wall, representing non-white invading hordes who will, unless stopped, take over the nation and bring on the dark ages.

    Liberals in this election come in a few stripes; Sanders supporters, Clinton supporters, and a small number of third parties for those who prefer to be powerless. Liberals do not support Trump.

    The fact that somebody disagrees with you does not make them a liberal.

    • Colin Corcoran

      Anyone who has studied Trumps actual record realizes that he has long been a liberal at heart – We’re talking about the man who while fornicating and committing adultery all over the place described his bouts with VD as his own personal Vietnam. We’re talking about a man who changed his position on abortion 3 times in one day. We’re talking about a man who spent most of his life a registered democrat and has given heavily to many progressive democrat politicians and causes. He supported men in women’s bathrooms – and he lied about Ted Cruz’s father being part of the plot to assassinate Kennedy. He is a pathological liar that talks a great deal while saying nothing of substance tossing out nebulous words like winner, amazing, great, brilliant – but never any details. PT Barnum would be proud, as would Saul Alinsky whose playbook he used just as successfully as Obama did. You do know he supports single payer nationalized healthcare – right? Obamacare was bad – but that will be worse. Good luck with that – but as for me #NEVER_TRUMP

      • Barb

        Yes, you don’t like him. Yes, those are all things you and your fellow right wingers define making somebody a liberal. Liberals do not agree. Here’s a trick: No one who has a clue what a liberal is would ever cite “Saul Alinsky.” Allinsky is a nobody who the right-wing ideological press dragged out of obscurity to attack people it doesn’t like. Citing him shows you are an idiot. Right wingers don’t get to decide who a liberal is. What you just did would be akin to me trying to prove Trump is a conservative because he is a racist who hates women, belittles the disabled, and uses racist attacks against minorities to rally his people. That’s much of how the left defines conservatives. So if the left gets to define conservatives, he’s a conservative. Here’s a less ideologically-driven observation: Trump’s a narcissist. But conservatives don’t get to decide who a liberal is, no matter how many times you tell each other that you do. That’s propaganda. You did not refute a thing I said.

        Concerning, for example, Trump, ‘fornicating and committing adultery’ I assume you mean as opposed to a good conservative like Dennis Hastert? Or Newt Gingrich?

        This essay was beneth James, who sometimes, in spite of his ideological haze, can display a sharp mind. I’ve already spent more time on you than you deserve.

        • sugabee43

          Trump supporters themselves may not be liberals, but Mr. Trump most certainly is; he’s financially supported and voted for liberal politicians (which includes some Republicans) and causes virtually all of his adult life. He may have recently switched parties, but that still makes him a liberal; just a Republican one.
          Yes, unfortunately, many members of the Republican party have been so angry that they are willing to follow Trump into the fray. While I am definitely as angry as they are, I refuse to back a man as flawed as Trump, who is obviously liberal.
          As far as the fornicating/adultery et al..- that comes in all stripes, not just liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican. At least Trump’s ex-wives had the decency to leave the cheater and not aid and destroy the lives of the women he had sex with (like Hillary)…and the women were consenting, unlike some of Bill’s (allegedly). Hillary, I suspect, didn’t ‘stand by her man’ because she loves him and forgives him; it was politically expedient for HER to stay.
          As far as Alinsky..well, he was well-known enough to be considered the ‘father of community organizing’, mentioned in “Time” magazine while still alive, and earned many accolades both before and after his life. So I would venture to disagree with your assessment that he was a “nobody”.

  • PatH

    I’ve been doing the same thing on my blog, that you have been on this one. I.e, tracking the delegate count march to disaster. My last entry here:

    Glad to know that I’m sadly not alone.

    I’m doing the same thing as you as well, working on a “now what” in re a conservative party in the future, which I think needs to be a rebuilt GOP.

    My take on Trump supporters is a bit different, and I’ll be posting on that, but I don’t think that they’re liberals or fools. . . well, maybe fooled, but really angry and therefore wholly irrational. The amazing thing is that they seriously believe they’ll win. This is obviously completely untrue. The GOP is going to go down in the biggest defeat its experienced since 1964, and it’ll richly deserve it for a variety of reasons. The trouble will be, we will all pay the price.

    Over the next four years, as I note in my entry above, we’re going to get at least three Supreme Court nominees that will remake the court into the most liberal entity that body has ever been. It will take over a generation to undo the mistakes that will create, and many of them we’ll never undo. In 2020, when the first Clinton term is up, this nation will have probably gutted the Second Amendment, and have enshrined the complete aberration of the nature of gender as an anti-natural right. And when that occurs, and the rebuilding starts, and the Trumpites (and Cruzites for that matter) express surprise, they ought to be reminded that this was their gift to the nation.