Wednesday, June 8, 2016
By Reed Galen
Quote by a Smart Person: “I can imagine few things more trying to the patience than the long wasted days of waiting.” Robert Falcon Scott
The 2016 Primary season came to an end on Tuesday night, with Donald Trump wrapping up the last few states before the Republican Convention next month. Secretary Hillary Clinton slammed the door on Senator Bernie Sanders’ slim hopes that he could some how convince enough super delegates to vote his way in Philadelphia Democratic conclave. Clinton in becoming the country’s first female nominee of a major party completed the second-to-last major step in her political career, setting her up for a denouement with The Donald this November.
But as with most news cycles this election season, the stories of history making events were overshadowed by Trump’s own words — those he said and said, and said again, and the political and media reactions to them. Trump’s continued assault on Federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel had the #NeverTrump army ready to retake the battlefield and those Republicans who have publicly supported the presumptive nominee looking for any microphone they could to blast his remarks.
With Trump’s verbal assault on a member of the Federal judiciary (a co-equal branch) some prominent members of the GOP elite are now calling for Trump’s nomination to be overturned or invalidated in some way in the six weeks between now and when the gavel comes down in Cleveland. Their sentiments are praiseworthy, but the wrong way to proceed.
Public Private Partnership
Some friends and colleagues of mine disagree on whether Trump should be stripped of his victories at the convention. One in particular noted (as I have previously) that the Republican National Committee is not a public organization, but a private, members-only club, whose operations are for the benefits of its members. And while this may be true in the strictest sense, the GOP, like the Democratic Party, have become quasi-public organizations. Their existence is now inextricably tied to most of the nation’s governmental organs — from city council races to Federal bodies such as the FCC and the FEC to how we organize Congressional committees.
If the GOP truly wants to be a “private” organization, than it should decide that in 2020 it will hold only caucuses in the 50+ states and territories that help decide the nominee. Republicans should outlaw the practice of using state money, infrastructure and employees to carry out their internal decision-making processes. For my friends, the outcome would not likely be any more palatable. My guess is that if such a system were in place this year, Senator Ted Cruz would likely be waiting for his coronation in Cleveland. The electoral outcome would be the same (a landslide loss to Clinton) even if the catastrophic damage to the party was more short-lived.
And we can’t blame “the system” for where we are today. This is the system the RNC, a private organization, set up to choose its presidential nominee. For better or worse (almost assuredly for worse) Donald Trump came in and won under the rules the GOP itself implemented. Invalidating the votes of tens of millions of Americans, registered Republicans or not, would only serve to invalidate the party’s candidates as legitimate arbiters of their constituents beliefs and needs.
Fooling with the rules at the Convention this summer will do one of two things: 1) take the nomination, rightfully won by Trump and give it to someone who has even less of an organization than he does or 2) Further incite Trump to pour gasoline all over Republicanism as we’ve known it for decades, light a match and ensure it never returns to its former state. Unlike Danerys Targarian, Republicans will not survive the flames (and we don’t have any dragons handy.)
Aside from the racist overtones in Trump’s attacks on Judge Curiel’s character and objectivity, is that Trump is doing it for personal reasons. The case before Judge Curiel has nothing to do with governance or Trump’s run for the White House. It has everything to do with yet another one of The Donald’s fly-by-night, get-rich-quick schemes. Trump is using the cudgel of his ability to generate mass media attention, and being only steps away from the White House, to influence a case that has nothing to do with anyone but him and his lack of and/or poor judgement.
We should assume that this sort of behavior would continue should Trump win the presidency. It’s not hard to imagine that at least a healthy part of everyday in a Trump White House would be devoted to furthering something he personally cares about, and from which he financially benefits. Blind trust? Please.
There’s no new Trump property or project whose blueprints wouldn’t spend significant time laying on the coffee table of the Oval Office or spread out across the table in the Roosevelt Room. Trump has no beneficiary but his own ego and pocketbook. Should he become president, it’s easy to see how, given the keys to the most powerful bureaucracy in the world, he’d make J. Edgar Hoover look like a guy who meddled in people’s affairs once in a while.
A Modest Proposal
So what’s to be done? I have a proposal. Donald Trump is going to be the nominee of the Republican party. But that does not mean the Republican National Committee has to go down the tubes with him. Give Trump his Convention. In fact, let the two stable assistants who aren’t currently on the road with him go run the thing. Wash your hands of it. Attend only as necessary to complete the ministerial functions of the nominating process.
Then rescind all fundraising agreements with him. Once done, go back to the major donors who can’t abide Trump and beg them to help you. Let him keep the data sharing agreement; Trump doesn’t know what to do with it nor does he care about modern political techniques — he’s rewriting the rule book as he goes.
Lastly, tell him, congratulations on your victory Mr. Trump, but we’re going to focus on keeping the US Senate and holding as many seats in the US House as we can. Give your down ballot candidates some sort of shot at keeping their jobs this fall. Allow them the space they need between themselves and a noxious nominee to try and achieve victory this fall.
The bomb has already gone off — we built it, armed it and set the fuse. Trump came in a lit a match. Let’s try and rebuild from the inevitable wreckage, but let’s do it without the bomber in tow.