That is the big question for the rest of the year.
There is no doubt that Trump has lit a raging wild fire in a large section of the Republican electorate, fueling the burn with fear of change, hatred of the unknown, and a desire for an authoritarian figure to solve the nation’s problems with a flick of his wrist, a magician who says the magic word and poof, we are all great again!
There is also no doubt that every prediction that Trump would self-immolate has been wrong: all his unbelievable verbal gaffes simply fly off in the winds of the inferno. Every prediction that “this cannot happen here” has led to a dangerous complacency and made it easier for it to actually happen here. The time to wake up and roll up our sleeves to take care of Trump is NOW. The longer it takes, the more difficult it may be to truly TRUMP Trump.
Republican leaders hope that Trump will fail to get enough delegates to claim the Republican nomination outright, which would lead to a contested convention in which almost any another nominee could be named. On Wednesday, however, Trump said that if he was denied the nomination at a contested convention (despite the fact that he never reached the magic number), then THERE WOULD BE SERIOUS RIOTS!
Is that a threat or a promise? Whatever it is, it is a far cry from preaching—falsely—that he has run a peaceful campaign.
Something to also note—which very few young people know—is that there is no mention whatsoever in the Constitution of political parties, conventions, or nominating contests. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did NOT believe such parties were a good idea.
In fact, almost everything having to do with the parties and their political processes has evolved over time and is primarily a set of understandings and practices that have taken on their meaning through mutual acceptance rather than the rule of law.
What this means is that (as the saying goes) “what God giveth, God can taketh away”. Or rather, what the Party creates, the Party may change. Because nominating conventions were created by political parties, those parties are free—at least in theory—to do away with conventions etc. as they see fit.
Any corruption, disruption, or eruption of the nominating process cannot become an issue of Constitutional law because there is nothing relevant in the Constitution. Therefore, the Republican establishment could presumably preempt a Trump takeover by cancelling the convention and declaring a candidate of their choice by whatever means they chose.
With his references to rioting, Trump has given the party the perfect excuse to duck the problem altogether. If the convention is contested, the RNC cannot/should not guarantee that Trump will be granted the nomination, which means that riots would be a very real possibility. Therefore, it might be better to be safe than sorry. No convention.
Of course, Trump will want to run to the courts, but the lower federal courts will likely NOT want to get involved and if it should go to the Supreme Court, where Trump’s best possible outcome would be a 4-4 split. If that happened, the case would go to the next highest court, currently presided over by none other than Merrick Garland. Guess how that comes out?
Mitt Romney has already come out publicly against Trump, and there is talk that the Bushes may be planning the same approach. There is even chatter that they are comfortable voting for Hillary, if Trump is the Republican nominee. Hopefully these stirrings are the sound of the Republican establishment getting into a stance for some political jujitsu.
The Republican Party seems to be faced with two unsavory choices.
OPTION #1: THE PARTY LETS TRUMP HAPPEN
The fact is that the GOP is facing a crisis unlike anything in modern history. If Trump wins the nomination (or worse: the presidency), the Republican Party as it has been known will cease to be. Trump would become the autocrat in a small-government party and remain an outsider. He resents the current Republican leadership and would do whatever he could to replace them in the Party with his own people.
OPTION #2: THE PARTY BLOCKS TRUMP’S NOMINATION
If the Republican elite take control of the whole process and select someone other than Trump, it is more than likely that Trump’s large base of passionate supporters would rebel, either by supporting his third party candidacy or by boycotting the general election. Such a move would essentially guarantee the White House to the Democrats. In that case, the Republican elite lose a battle BUT survive to continue the war.
For the people in power, this must be the more appealing of the two options.
It must be very tempting to the Republican establishment to punt on Trump and live, though they would surely lose the general the election. Republican insiders would by and large keep their jobs and something resembling the GOP of the last fifty years would survive, though it would be much diminished in size and strength.
If the GOP becomes the party of Trump, it would spell the end of the Republican Party as we all know them.
It stands to reason that with such high stakes, Republican leaders MUST be considering amputating a limb in order to save the patient. If they don’t take a chance now, they won’t be around to take many more.
The fact is that Trump is truly a very sick person. There is no need for expert opinions on this point. It is truly beyond any serious debate. True, many presidents have had some wisps of narcissism. After all, some degree of above normal self-absorption is required to want to be in the national spotlight at all times.
Trump, however, is truly very different. He is an extreme narcissist, which is a very dangerous thing for a President to be, especially because he would have his finger on the button. Case in point: Trump recently asserted that the military would carry out ALL his orders despite the fact that he has advocated committing war crimes on national television more than once! That is a risk America CAN NOT RUN!
The way to TRUMP Trump is to reconnoiter every conceivable path he could try to take to becoming the Republican candidate, which may mean that the Republican Party may have to prove its genuine patriotism and fall on its sword, to lose this election and undertake a long-term effort to strengthen their party in order to save the United States.