12/13/15

The media is all-abuzz with rumors of the Republican Party so-called “establishment” being in a complete meltdown surrounding the question of how to “stop Trump.”

I have to say that looking at it based on facts it sounds to me like a lot of hype and wishful thinking on behalf of the liberal media, and rumor-mongering for rating purposes, to some extent, also from the types of media such as Fox News—although that is much more moderate and lacks the joyful comeuppance that you hear on the liberal side.

The fact is that it is very likely that no one candidate will have the majority of the delegate votes come the convention, and it is very logical for the party apparatus to prepare for what such eventuality entails.

What will not be good is if Trump has majority of the delegates (50% plus 1, not plurality) and the party machine will try to stop him on a technicality such as the rule that states that you need to win 50%+1 in at least 8 states. While this is the rule, if Trump has majority of the delegates, he should be allowed to win. The reputation damage to the party for trying to use red tape type issues to entangle Trump will be worse than letting him win IF he had majority of the delegates. I don’t think he will have them. Indeed, I believe that he will not even have the plurality of the delegates if the party establishment will play it cool and if some of the players will show national responsibility, as opposed to sheer personal ambition.

This is the correct way—and a very plausible one—to defeat the Trump-mania gripping the party:

  1. Ted Cruz needs to win Iowa. Cruz seems to be doing a good job of getting there. He is now ahead of Trump in a number of very well respected polls, including the latest Des Moines Register poll and the new Fox News poll, both from today. He seems to have a better ground game than Trump and he is garnering important local support. If there is doubt that he will win in the run up to the caucus in early February, some pressure from the party “grandees” on, say, Huckabee and Santorum, should be applied for them to withdraw and endorse Cruz. That will help him on the margin. For these two to withdraw would be the very definition of putting your party—and, by extension, your country—ahead of your personal ambitions. These two have ZERO chance of winning. It is time for them to do the right thing. I admit that it is not clear to me that either of these two has the modesty and real sense of public service to be prepared to personally sacrifice their ambition, but hopefully Cruz will not really need it.Losing Iowa will be a huge challenge for Trump. After all, if we are to believe him, he is the man who always wins. He never loses. While not necessarily a deathblow, it will significantly deflate his “winner” perception amongst his supporters. A lot also depends how he will take it. Remember the “YEEEHAAA” scream of Howard Dean? That sealed his fortune. We may see some unhinged response from Trump, too, if he loses in Iowa.
  2. Rubio must win New Hampshire (NH). While this is more of a long-shot based on the polls, I believe that it is very achievable if the following occurs:
    • Rubio must come in, at the very least, 4th in Iowa. Iowa was never a Rubio land and if he finishes in double digits behind Cruz and Trump, and possibly even Carson, it will clearly mark him as the establishment candidate, with Cruz being the anti-establishment candidate.
    • In order to secure this place in Iowa and the rest of the “battle plan,” first Jeb Bush must withdraw from the race and endorse Rubio. That is, of course, a huge step and a lot of pressure needs to be brought to bear on Bush from the entire party—“establishment,” “grandees,” “wise old men”—call them what you want. Unless there is a huge turnaround in Bush’s fortunes in the upcoming debate on Tuesday and the polls after it, Bush needs to be confronted with the ugly truth that he has a snow ball’s chance in hell to get the nomination and that he should step aside. Once he accepts that, the next stage should be easier as until few months ago he only had good things to say about Rubio. It is sad, but it is not Bush’s time and given his age that means that he missed his opportunity. But the party and the country will be forever grateful to him if he will personally sacrifice his ambition in favor of doing the right thing. Bush’s endorsement of Rubio and putting all his resources behind him would be a game changer. Bush will be doing more for the country by stepping down and supporting Rubio than he can by continuing a losing run.
    • Following such an endorsement from Bush, Romney needs to endorse Rubio too. That means a lot in NH. It may be a little hard for Romney, given that he also likes Christie and Christie is surging in NH, but Rubio has a much better chance in the nation overall than Christie. Carly Firoina also needs to be pressured to withdraw and support Rubio. A promise of a strong place in the VP “sweepstakes” should be able to achieve that.
    • One more thing to remember is that NH primaries are semi-open primaries. That means that independent voters can vote in the Republican Party primaries. The polls there are focused on registered Republicans. I am convinced that a lot of non-Republican, independent voters in NH will vote for Rubio in droves, especially if he gets Romney’s endorsement.

    Having lost Iowa, I believe that Trump will not be able to survive the double punch of losing NH too. Even if he does, he will be much weakened. His entire aura of “winner” will have been stripped naked and all his bombast will be deflated.

  3. The next stage after NH will be to get Christie and Kasich to withdraw and endorse Rubio. In South Carolina it will be important for McCain to endorse him, too, and that will only happen if Lindsey Graham withdraws, as he well should. A win in South Carolina will be very close to cementing the Rubio “run-away,” “unstoppable” candidacy.

Following this road map should bring the Republican Party home safe to a very credible win for a very credible nominee; plus, having aroused so much passion and interest from so many voters may just bode well for the real elections. The fact that the process was allowed to run without overt interference and that Trump lost fairly (to use one of his favorite terms) would add respect and seriousness to the party.

Both are desperately needed right now!

It all depends on Bush being willing to do the right thing.