The GOP’s Rocky Road to Cleveland
- Category: News
- Published: Saturday, 05 March 2016 09:21
- Written by Zogby
- Hits: 1239
I spent the past few days in Akron, Ohio at the University of Akron's EXL Center for Entrepreneurism. One of my events was a political panel on the 2016 election and we were all asked by a member of the audience: "Is Cleveland ready for the Republican Convention?" One of my colleagues started to answer positively about improvements to the airport and convention center when I interrupted and said I think the man was really asking whether or not the world was ready for this convention. The audience member agreed that is what he was truly getting at.
And it is a good question. The GOP and the nation are in for a very difficult time. This past week, frontrunner Donald Trump received withering attacks from both the 2008 and 2012 party presidential nominees, relentless hammering from his colleagues Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and pointed prosecutorial questions from debate moderator Megyn Kelly. The New York State Attorney General offered that he is certain he is the goods on fraud at Trump University and 22 prominent Republican foreign policy experts labeled Trump's foreign policy ideas as dangerous to the national security. At least one group of major donors got on a phone call convened by eBay founder Meg Whitman and vowed to look into ways of stopping Trump's march to the presidential nomination. And for the first time in history, a presidential candidate talked about the size of his genital organ.
During the same week, however, Trump won seven of the twelve states that held primaries and caucuses and about half of the delegates up for election on Super Tuesday. He leads in every one of the states holding primaries March 5, March 8, and March 15.
There is serious talk among party leaders and donors about stopping Trump attempting a short term strategy - Rubio as a favorite son in Florida and Kasich as the same in Ohio - as well as middle term strategy of collecting anti-Trump delegates and a long game of a brokered convention.
But attempting to stop Trump is as dangerous supporting him. The simple fact is Donald Trump has millions of voters and more to come in his corner. They are militantly against the party establishment and any effort to deny him the nomination is exactly what fuels their anger. If Trump continues this pace and wins a majority of delegates, an establishment blowback will be viewed as a stolen nomination. If he goes to the convention close to a majority the debate will be raucous and rancorous.
The simple fact is that there is actually more going on here: the GOP is hopelessly split among multiple factions all claiming to be "true" conservatives and most closely aligned with the "Reagan tradition". It is ideological and ugly. These wings deny the each other's claim to the throne. And there is the seemingly faux conservative who is running on trashing the party and its leadership. Any factional coalescing to stop Trump or any establishment attempt to deny the millions Trump voters their prize will split the party - perhaps permanently.
I am not sure that their collective revulsion for Hillary Clinton is not likely to put this Humpty Dumpty back together again.