The Donald

The latest Donald Drama is whether Mr. Trump has the intestinal fortitude to continue in the race for President all the way to November.

The Republican candidate for President is floundering after a series of unforced errors that pitted him against a family that lost a son in the Middle East and his refusal to endorse members of his own party, including some that have endorsed him.

Donald Trump’s feud with the family of an Iraq war casualty has drawn condemnation everywhere, even though it’s possible that the father, Khizr Khan, once said that Sharia law should trump, pardon the expression, U.S. law (he denies it). Don’t expect to see that in the media.

In a blockbuster speech at the Democrat convention, just one of many such speeches, Khan endorsed Hillary Clinton and cemented another voting bloc, Muslims, against Republicans. Recently, I mentioned that the Republicans had to reach out to minority groups if they expect to ever win another presidential election. Now it looks that there won’t be a minority group that isn’t dissed by the Republican nominee, and with that goes the election, this one, and many others to come.

In an effort to restore unity to the party, you’d think Donald trump would get behind all of the prominent members up for re-election. Instead, he’s refused to endorse a number of them like Paul Ryan and John McCain. Some of these guys have already, to their peril, endorsed him, so what could he be thinking? Or is he thinking at all?

It seems impossible that this is part of a grand strategy on his and his managers’ parts to win the election.

Indeed, it seems that Donald isn’t being managed at all, or at least listening to his advisors. On Tuesday, he even kicked a crying baby out of a rally. Aren’t you supposed to be kissing the babies when you’re a candidate for office?

On Wednesday, ABC News reported that Republican honchos were looking at ways to deal with something you would consider a fantasy: What if Donald Trump drops out of the race?

Hillary Clinton received such a bump from the Democratic Convention that polls show that she will win the election. No “within the margin of error” scenario, it’s a ten point lead and she’s proving to be a Teflon candidate that no amount of damning news can derail.

So if things continue to go south, will Donald Trump accept the humiliation of losing in a landslide to another (terrible) candidate? The guy has a Yuge ego, and it seems out of character to me that he’ll allow that to happen.

He’s already saying that everything is rigged; yet, he beat an entire flock of better candidates for president in the primaries. It was probably the sheer number of candidates that did them in, since Trump only won pluralities in the primaries until the last few.

He’s got a lot of built-in excuses to hightail it out of the election, not just that Hillary Clinton is trumping him (there’s that word again) in the polls. He’s got businesses to run and lawsuits to win. He’s hurt that not every Republican is backing him. He’s being treated badly by the press. It goes on and on. Why not drop out?

So what would Republicans do if Trump does decide to drop out in September, say, when he’s behind by 15 or 20 points due to numerous future gaffes? It’s a strange scenario but it’s a possibility. Republicans would have to come up with Plan B in case the Donald hits the road.

Here rule 9 of the Republican Party, which talks about how to fill vacancies. Bear with me:

 (a) The Republican National Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States or the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States, as nominated by the national convention, or the Republican National Committee may reconvene the national convention for the purpose of filling any such vacancies.

(b) In voting under this rule, the Republican National Committee members representing any state shall be entitled to cast the same number of votes as said state was entitled to cast at the national convention.

(c) In the event that the members of the Republican National Committee from any state shall not be in agreement in the casting of votes hereunder, the votes of such state shall be divided equally, including fractional votes, among the members of the Republican National Committee present or voting by proxy.

 (d) No candidate shall be chosen to fill any such vacancy except upon receiving a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the election.

What does that all mean in English? That the 168 members of the RNC would get together and vote on the replacement nominee. Instead of all those primary votes, there would be votes from the 168 RNC members that would determine who runs. Think that would go over well with the American public?

Before you panic, or maybe the reason why you should panic, Donald Trump hasn’t given any hints that he’s giving up the ship. He’s got some advisors worried enough, though, that they’re going to stage an intervention.

Party stalwarts Reince Priebus, Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich are going to meet with the candidate to get him back on the right track. This has worked before, but just for a few days. It seems that you can’t stop Donald from being Donald.

Let’s say Donald tells them to go jump in the lake. What are their options then? Nothing that’s likely to win them the presidency.

Dara Lind of compiled a list of choices (none good) in an excellent recent article (Can panicked Republicans rid themselves of Trump? Here are 7 options; 8/3/16). They included, among others, the following (her words in quotes):

“Kick Trump off the ticket and find another candidate”

“Remember how the Republican Party held a big convention to formally tally up support for candidates? …If the party wanted to prevent Donald Trump from running as the Republican for president, it had to do it before offering him the nomination”. In other words: You had your chance, and you didn’t take it.

Face it, there’s no legitimate way that the Republican Party can drop Trump as the candidate.

“Convince Trump to drop out (or hope he drops out on his own)”

“Because GOP officials can’t force Trump out, their best-case scenario is to get Trump to…voluntarily exit the race.”

Fat chance. Donald likes attention, and he’s getting plenty of it; most of it bad, but he apparently thinks that’s good. Don’t think that Republicans dissing Trump publicly is going to convince him to leave. He’s a grudge guy more than a Drudge guy, and he will only be more recalcitrant, even if just out of spite.

Besides, there’s no evidence whatsoever that Donald Trump wants to bow out; at least, not yet Maybe he was as surprised as anyone that he ended up as the candidate (maybe he ran on a bet against some other billionaire), he’s still holding rallies, talking the talk, and walking the walk.

Yet I could see him losing interest with constant bad news at the polls? He might really want to be president, but does he want to perform what’s in the job description?

“Officially disavow Trump”

Dara Lind suggests that the party could formally disavow him in the hopes of preserving their senate and house majorities.  This means not throwing good money after bad, as many donors have chosen to do. For example, the billionaire  Koch brothers are concentrating their donations on down-ballot races.

It also means not throwing party fundraising and vote-getting machinery behind Donald. He would have to use his own money to campaign, something he, so far, has shown no willingness to do.

This option is a possibility, believe it or not, although it comes with the expense of the “new” voters that Trump has brought into the fold with his populist message. Having said that, not having a presidential candidate at all will drop enthusiasm in Republican voters substantially. Why take a trip to the polls just to vote for a congressman?

What if the RNC tells Americans to “vote their conscience” or, as Ted Cruz implies, “don’t vote for Trump but say you did”?

What would that get the Republicans? Ted Cruz as the 2020 nominee, a principled conservative but unliked by the majority of the country. Bottom line: another Democrat victory.

“Hope Trump will start behaving himself”

According to Dara, “This has been the strategy so far. It has not worked. But it looks like Republicans are sticking to it.”

How do you get a 70-year old man to suddenly become a completely different person? I have trouble switching brands of deodorant.

If you include the primaries, the election year is already half over, and we haven’t seen a change in behavior yet. What’s the likelihood that it’ll happen, starting tomorrow?

Donald Trump doesn’t want to change. That’s heartening to his supporters, but distressing to those who actually want to win the election.

“Learn to stop worrying and love the Trump”

“What if they {Republicans} decided to stop spending all their time apologizing for their nominee, and returned to the strategy of waving off his comments as the “blunt talk” of a political “outsider”?”

Well, the “blunt talk” is causing blunt trauma to the heads of many of Donald Trump’s surrogates.

Yogi Berra once said: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over”. It’s a long and winding road, but Donald’s detours have taken the campaign off course so many times you wonder how serious he is about winning.

If the Republicans that are serious don’t take the big orange bull by the horns and direct him to the corral, Hillary Clinton will be President of the United States in November.