Post-Debate Ethics, The Final Question: Will The GOP Be Unethical If It Rejects Trump?

Republican_Party

When I first planned this post, I had seen only one column that argued that the GOP could not fairly refuse to nominate Donald Trump if he comes to the convention having won the most primary contests and delegates. Since then, I have read many more, as well as statements from various Republican leaders to that effect.

All of them are very, very wrong.

In the law, we look at this as a “who is the client?” question. To whom does the Republican Party owe its primary loyalties? What is the party’s purpose, and how does it best accomplish it? The answers to these question dictate its actions regarding Donald Trump’s fate.

Neither the election process nor the nominating process involve direct democracy. If the only purpose was to determine which candidate the citizens who consider themselves Republicans want to have on the ticket, a national primary would do the trick, and the party would barely be anything but a bystander. That is not the objective, however. The objective is to identify the most qualified and competent individual who represents the values of the Republican Party, and who has, in the judgment of professionals whose job is to discern such things, the best chance of winning, and to present him (or her) to the American public for their judgment, in order to maximize the likelihood of a fit and admirable citizen undertaking the awesome responsibility of leading the United States of America, and ensuring the success and survival of the nation, as well as the vital principles it represents to the world.

In the pursuit of this objective, the Republican Party has many stakeholders..itself, to begin with.  As a public institution, the party’s survival depends on the public perception that it is performing its duty competently and with the dignity and transparency such a role requires. Another group of stakeholders are its citizen members, who joined the party, contribute to it, volunteer their time, and give the benefit of many doubts to the party’s candidates in the polling booth. These citizens expect the party not to embarrass them, at a minimum, and ideally to actually accomplish some of the goals and policy measures the party’s principles support.

Non-Republicans are also stakeholders. If the parties do not do perform their duties with seriousness, diligence and skill, then the citizens will be faced with poor choices and unsatisfactory alternatives  on election day.

Ultimately, the Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, must regard its most important stakeholder as the United States of America. The President is both the symbol of the nation abroad and the embodiment of its hopes, ideals, history and continuity domestically. If the parties choose their candidates irresponsibly, then the nation itself is at risk. And as history has shown again and again, the world needs a vibrant and thriving United States of America. The planet itself has a stake in how well the Republican Party does its duty.

In the priority of Republican Party stakeholders, or “clients,” the candidates themselves are at the very bottom of the list. They exist to serve the party’s needs and responsibilities, not the other way around. True, they invest their time, money and passion in the task of proving themselves worthy of nomination, and they have a right to expect that the process they are engaged in will be consistent, reasonable and fair. They must understand, however, that the process, in the end, is not about them, but about fulfilling the responsibility of finding a worthy candidate for the office of President of the United States.

In a process that was designed to identify worthy candidates, Donald Trump has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is unworthy. He had, in fact, proven that long, long ago, and the GOP’s leaders were foolish to allow him to run for the party’s nomination. It provides me some rueful amusement to read Senator Lindsay Graham’s comments yesterday that the GOP should have kicked him out of the party. Why, yes, Senator, I pointed that out more than six months ago, and it was obvious then.

Since that time, Trump has provided myriad justifications for declaring him persona non grata. The first time he engaged in name-calling and vulgarity, he should have been given an ultimatum. His personal attack on Megyn Kelly was sufficient to remove him; his conduct regarding the handicapped reporter, towards John McCain and prisoners of war; his attacks on George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, threatening to sue Ted Cruz—on and on, you know the litany. The party has an obligation not to present as its standard bearer a candidate who does not embrace and cannot be trusted to support its values, ideals and principles, and Trump has made it inarguable that he does not.

Moreover, the evidence of his lack of fitness to be President accumulates daily, and at an accelerating rate:

  • Yesterday, Trump used his campaign website to intimidate and discredit witnesses who are prepared to testify that they were defrauded by “Trump University.” His attack on two former students was intentionally misleading, but never mind that: what is a candidate for President doing using his campaign to discredit citizens who are involved in a legal proceeding? Why is a billionaire publicly denigrating two individuals who allege that they struggling financially because of one of his failed business, or, according to the government, scams? This isn’t presidential behavior.
  • In a new low for American politics, Trump exploited his election night victory speech to try to rebut the charges leveled by Mitt Romney, turning his moment on live TV into an infomercial, and lying his head off. This doesn’t embarrass Trump, who, as a pathological narcissist, is incapable of embarrassment, but it embarrasses the Republican party.
  • This morning, the Washington Post features a story about how Trump attempted to use the courts in 2005 to punish and intimidate a researcher who dared to challenge Trump’s claims about his own wealth. Here are some quotes from the candidate, as described in the article. In the first, Trump explained under oath how he measured his wealth:

“Yes, even my own feelings as to where the world is, where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day,” Trump said, according to the court record. “Then you have a September 11th, and you don’t feel so good about yourself and you don’t feel so good about the world and you don’t feel so good about New York City. Then you have a year later, and the city is as hot as a pistol. Even months after that it was a different feeling. So yeah, even my own feelings affect my value to myself.”

Hmmm. Next, Trump describes his motives for spending a million dollars and five years hounding an author who displeased him:

“I spent a couple of bucks on legal fees, and they spent a whole lot more. I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.”

That is called “abuse of process,” as well as the rich bullying ordinary people. Trump lost the suit, the Post reports, in “humiliating fashion.”

Remember, that was all in just 24 hours, and I’m sure I missed something. Today, there will be more.

The Republican party has already been too fair to Trump. He  earned ejection from the Party and the process many times over, by behaving like a boor, a misogynist, a vulgarian, a bully, a bigot, a racist (Did you note the report of Trump having a group of African-American students tossed out of a rally because…they were black?), a thug, a liar, a birther, a truther and a Democrat all while representing Republicans. If he were a Republican Party employee, he would have been fired for cause long ago.

At this point, Republicans not only will be justified in denying Donald Trump the nomination, they are obligated by their ethical duty to stake-holders to do it. They will be obligated to reject him even if he arrives at the convention with a majority of the delegates. Trump has broken rules as well as standards of fairness and decency; he has no standing to cry foul. He is foul. The Republican party has a duty to its real clients—the party, its members, the public, the nation and the world—to nominate a candidate who is fit to be President, and can be trusted to serve with dignity, ability and good character. That duty is even more important than usual, since it appears that the Democratic Party is not going to meet its responsibility to do the same.

This is a utilitarian ethical conflict. One can argue that the Republican Party will be unfair to Trump if it doesn’t nominate him in August. That unfairness to an individual, however, especially this individual, following his blatant misconduct, is far outweighed by the obligations the party has to other, more important stakeholders.

It won’t be unethical to reject Trump, whatever his delegate total. It will be irresponsible not to.

 

86 thoughts on “Post-Debate Ethics, The Final Question: Will The GOP Be Unethical If It Rejects Trump?

  1. From a practical standpoint, though, the alternative is to court a possibly fatal schism in the party, a third party run that will rip the rank and file voters away from the leadership of the GOP, and handing the White House to Hillary. This is like WW2, allying with Stalin and, ultimately sacrificing Eastern Europe for 45 years, or losing ALL of Europe and possibly the world, and seeing whole races burned to ashes.

    • So you court that. Too bad: they waited too long. The Party is damaged either way, but the nation may not be. Do they want to lose the idiots, or the responsible, knowledgeable, members? That’s not a hard choice.

      • Part of what ultimately brought down the USSR in 1991 is that the old guard officers went one way and the actual men with the guns went another. A small core of Chablis-sipping, simpering, perma-elites is not going to be able to rein in an army of red-blooded ordinary folks who are fed up with the status quo.

        • I don’t equate “red blooded” with ignorant, racist, and autocratic, and analogies between the Communist party and Republicans are, what, would you say? Is attenuated fair> A stretch, mayhap?

          • Uh, no, Jack, folks who’ve worked hard and played by the rules all their lives and still can’t get ahead are angry as it is. Calling them ignorant and racist isn’t going to work, they’ve already been called that and ten times worse. They didn’t buy it then, and they won’t buy it now, as far as they’re concerned it’s just the standard language for “sit down and shut up, we know better.” Well, no. The rank and file no longer believes the leadership knows better, because the leadership’s done not a damn thing since they regained real power in 2014.

            When you get a lot of angry people who believe sincerely that they can’t get ahead despite playing by the rules, you have the recipe for a Mussolini, a Franco, a Chavez, a Yeltsin and later Putin, and that string of presidents (Madero, Carranza, etc.) Mexico had in the early 1900s. You also have the same recipe this country started with, after the UK home government decided it was going to do what it thought best and not give the colonists a voice in the matter. You also have a similar recipe to what brought on the Civil War, when the South decided the North was using its superior numbers to bully them and they were losing their voice.

            Unfortunately, Trump has tapped into that anger and rallied a large number of people that the party can’t afford to lose. Should they have stopped this a lot sooner? Yes, but should haves are useless by nature. The choice is to fold and hand this nation to a proto-tyrant who will just try to silence them more, or rally behind one who might at least listen. If it comes down to it, I know which one I am doing.

            • 1. You remember that “uh” is disfavored here as an obnoxious start, right?

              2. “folks who’ve worked hard and played by the rules all their lives and still can’t get ahead are angry as it is. Calling them ignorant and racist isn’t going to work, they’ve already been called that and ten times worse. They didn’t buy it then, and they won’t buy it now, as far as they’re concerned it’s just the standard language for “sit down and shut up, we know better.” Well, no. The rank and file no longer believes the leadership knows better, because the leadership’s done not a damn thing since they regained real power in 2014.”

              So no matter how obviously stupid and ignorant conduct is, as long as the stupid and ignorant people engaging in it don’t know they are stupid and ignorant, we shouldn’t tell them? Great theory. Electing a lying, autocratic dolt who don’t even stand for or believe what you are pretending he does: you’re defending that? You’re validating it? Gee, why don’t they just set themselves on fire: that would at least make some sense. How can you be so smug and indignant in defense of unpatriotic, civicly irresponsible and certifiably crazy conduct? They’re angry? How are they any better than the the angry mob that looted and burned in Baltimore?

              3. This is a non-rational comment.

              4. Who is it you think is the one who “might listen”? Hillary is the soulless panderer. It sure isn’t Trump.

              • Actually no, I guess I had forgotten that. “Lol” is usually the big offender people get called on. That said, I think we’re at the point a big chunk of voters just will not listen, and insulting them by calling them stupid, ignorant, racist, etc., isn’t going to win them over. They will just tell you to go to hell. Yes, it is like the folks who turned Baltimore into a half burned out ruin, and Ferguson into a smoking pile of rubble. They felt strongly and they acted on it, and THEY got coddled and even applauded.

                Now the other side has decided they are fed up, and are leaning the same way. I do applaud it when ordinary, hardworking, law-abiding people decide they have had enough and they aren’t going to kiss the elite’s asses anymore. I’d applaud it even more if they started fighting back against the perennially angry folks.

                Maybe this does sound a little irrational, but when all you hear are insults and accusations that you are crazy, at some point you stop being rational and you just say “screw this, no one’s listening.”

                • ‘Maybe this does sound a little irrational, but when all you hear are insults and accusations that you are crazy, at some point you stop being rational and you just say “screw this, no one’s listening.”’

                  And then with any luck, your parents send you to your room or tell you it’s time for you to go to bed.

            • Gotta say I love you bringing up early 20th century Mexican history. Being originally from there I can deeply appreciate your analogy. 🙂

    • Really appreciated this well-reasoned essay. I sincerely doubt those in the GOP hierarchy share your perspective, nor any of the evangelical groups who have blatantly abandoned any right to claim consistency or legitimacy of their beliefs in their support of Trump. If there were any question left about what today’s GOP’s (and the strident, “christian-right”) primary drive is – a blatant lust for power at any cost – the entire Republican candidate field should have answered.

  2. You’re right, obviously, but what a cost. If he loses the nomination, Cruz or Rubio goes on to the general, for better or worse. If Trump wins and is rejected, he’s said he’ll run third party. He lies, and he’d lose, so I’m not sure he’ll actually do it, but if he does, a legitimate third option suddenly appears. He loses, but if he pulls in even 20%, he suddenly paves the way for people who are really PO’d at the system to run legitimate third (or fourth or fifth) parties. It’s not inconceivable for Trump’s candidacy to fundamentally change the way Americans view elections.

    • I am convinced by those who say that Trump cannot afford a run, brand-wise, or financially. he’s not as rich as he says he is; he’s not Ross Perot. In any event, as before (when it wouldn’t have been nearly as risky), the party should call his bluff. I think he’ll just sue instead.

    • People thought that with Ross Perot, he was a pain for two cycles and now he gets to be a footnote in history books. I’ll also note that each day that passes makes a Trump 3’rd party run less likely, he’s up against filing deadlines unless an already established third party would have him.

      There’s another consideration being whispered about in dark and scary parts of the internet that would do more damage to the Republicans, the Democrats, and the country as a whole than a Trump nomination. They’re suggesting that a moderate establishment Republican file in just a few swing states and throw the election into the house, pulling a John Quincy Adams. That could have unpleasant results.

  3. The GOP should take their platform from 2012 and determine if Trump is fully inline with and an honest representative of that platform; if not, REJECT HIM and throw him out the door. In my humble opinion, there is nothing unethical about doing that.

      • Trump is NOT a Republican; an ideological and moral stand must be made right now. A choice must be made.

        Maybe the Republican Party should trot out their last 5 platforms and use them as tools to pull any party affiliation from Trump, kick him out of the Republican Party right now, and strip the “R” from Trump; thus eliminating Trump as a representative of the Republican Party and therefore not eligible to be part of the Republican primaries from this point on, strip 100% of his Republican delegates, and make him not eligible to be part of the GOP convention.

        Sure this will probably force Trump to run as an independent; but at this point, who gives a damn, the Republican Party as it stands today is not going to win this election anyway.

        It’s time to do the right thing.

        • “Trump is NOT a Republican.”

          Says who?

          –Apparently NOT the plurality of registered Republicans who are thus far voting for him in sanctioned GOP primaries.
          –Apparently NOT the other Republican candidates on the dais for the presidency, who 10 days ago vowed to support him if he wins.
          –Apparently NOT Reince Preibus, who thus far has supported Trump as a valid candidate.

          It is existentially problematic to claim that the “Republican Party is” other than what it has become – the party whose front runner for the Presidency is Donald Trump. And it’s easy to point to a decade of positions and decisions that led, ineluctably, to his candidacy.

          He’s the candidate the Republican Party set the table for: who’s left with any standing to complain that he’s now sitting down to dinner? It is telling that Romney, who aided and abetted Trump, now wants to claim that he represents the “true” Republicans. Too late: the people the party let in the door have decided to finally take the party at its word. They are as card-carrying Republicans as anyone else, and are merely insisting they finally be listened to.

          • charlesgreen quoted my words “Trump is NOT a Republican.” and then asked “Says who?”.

            DUH! Did you think about that question logically before you posted it?

            Charles went on to say…

            “–Apparently NOT the plurality of registered Republicans who are thus far voting for him in sanctioned GOP primaries.
            –Apparently NOT the other Republican candidates on the dais for the presidency, who 10 days ago vowed to support him if he wins.
            –Apparently NOT Reince Preibus, who thus far has supported Trump as a valid candidate.”

            Is that supposed to be some kind of “logical” proof that Trump is a Republican? The people that are voting for Bernie Sanders are Democrats, does that fact mean that Bernie Sanders is now a Democrat or is he still a Socialist? Your “argument” trying to prove that Trump is a Republican fails both the smell test and the logic test!

            Charles,
            Sometimes talking with you is like beating a dead horse; it’s futile.

            • In my opinion, both of y’all are dancing around in No True Scotsman territory benefitted greatly by the vagueness of the language and shifting definitions.

              • texagg04 said, “…the vagueness of the language and shifting definitions.”

                Where is the vagueness in the language or the shifting definitions?

                Tex I’m a bit confused; below when talking about Trump you said, “but, democrat wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing that he is…” Did I misunderstand your opinion do you think Trump is a Republican or not? Is joining the Republican Party the only thing that makes a Republican a Republican; if so then I am clearly wrong.

                In my opinion; Trump is NOT a Republican in any way other than he joined the Republican Party. If Bill Clinton joined the Republican Party today, would that “make” Bill Clinton a Republican?

                • The republican powers that be haven’t disavowed his claims of being a Republican. A huge section of republican voters also haven’t disavowed his claims. That a subset of republican voters do disavow him doesn’t overrule the party leadership’s quiet allowance of him to be “in the fold”. So yes. He’s a Republican.

                  No I don’t think he is genuine or sincere in the slightest. Yes I do think at best he’s a self-intentioned spoiler to undermine what could be a true ability to change the system for the better because why would he want to change the system he got his wealth from? At worst I think he’s a democrat plant.

                  Vagueness of the language matters a ton here, especially when beliefs and values and ability to self identify come into play.

                  A Republican from Libertarianton, Texas may only have 55% in common with a Republican from Liberalville, Massachusetts, but neither can say the other isn’t a republican as long as the leadership and a sizable section of the population seem to agree with their self-identifications.

                  • texagg04 said, “The republican powers that be haven’t disavowed his claims of being a Republican. A huge section of republican voters also haven’t disavowed his claims. That a subset of republican voters do disavow him doesn’t overrule the party leadership’s quiet allowance of him to be “in the fold”. So yes. He’s a Republican.”

                    In my opinion; that’s a paper thin, devoid of all ideology, way to describe what a Republican is. Does that same method to describe a political party member also define other parties, like the Democratic Party, Tea Party, Democratic Socialist Party, etc, etc? Is there nothing more, no moral basis?

                    Personally I think there is more, much more, to being a member of a political party than that paper thin, devoid of ideology, way of describing members regardless of what party we are talking about.

                    • Certainly ideology is a component. But you pretend it is the only component. It isn’t. And the reason these are no true Scotsman type arguments is purely because of how convoluted and shifting these definitions and qualifications are. But, I don’t see how you don’t recognize it is much easier to fall under the umbrella of a political party than it is to fall under the umbrella of a particular ideology.

                    • texagg04 said, “But, I don’t see how you don’t recognize it is much easier to fall under the umbrella of a political party than it is to fall under the umbrella of a particular ideology.”

                      Aren’t the core ideological differences between the political left and political right the actual root basis for the very existence of the political parties?

                      I’m going to go straight off the deep end here…

                      If falling under the umbrella of a political party is so easy and so thin that core ideology is basically disregarded, the ALL Republicans are RINO’s and ALL Democrats are DINO’s and the only purpose for Political Parties is intentionally divide politically ignorant people. Under those circumstances I’d probably vote to constitutionally abolish political parties in the United States thus eliminating the circus show of political primaries and encouraging the voting population to unite under the banner of an actual candidate instead of blindly jumping on the bandwagon of a political party.

                      Was that off the deep end enough?

                      Did I sufficiently make my point?

                    • No.

                      To be clear, I didn’t say it was easy to fall under the umbrella of a party. I said it was easier than to fall under the umbrella of an ideology.

                      A party has to marry ideology with practicality and diversity of opinion, among other things.

                    • Tex,
                      Aren’t the core ideological differences between the political left and political right the actual root basis for the very existence of the political parties?

                      Without the core ideology separating it from differing ideologies, what real purpose does any party have?

                      Shouldn’t those core ideological differences (including an obvious corrupted Trump value system) outweigh, by a HUGE margin, any perceived umbrella of a paper thin non-ideological party membership correlation?

                    • Zoltar the parties aren’t core ideologies, they’re both coalitions, they have to be and it’s ridiculous to think that most people are fully behind everything one party stands for. Your idea about right-left is far far too simplistic, you’re putting too many variables on one line.

                      Theocratic vs secular is one measure, the religious right part of the republican party are not going to be in agreement with the libertarian part. because…

                      Authoritarian vs anarchy. Both a religious fundamentalist and heavy duty secular stateist are authoritarian. And again this is too simplistic even though both parties have members all along the rage between the two extremes because you hit…

                      Socialism vs pure capitalism which sounds like the above but isn’t because people are human and they have different priorities. A religious fundamentalist may wish for complete economic freedom and an anti-monies interests socialist may want to clamp down hard and yet recoil in horror at any loss of personal liberty.

                      Then come the compromises, the person of a libertarian bent who allies with the religious right vs one who allies with a socialist because they have to make a choice, they only get some of what they want so what do they want the most, money or Mrs. Grundy out of their hair? Does someone who’s anti-authoritarian want the aid of Hollywood liberals for personal liberties and pay for it with draconian intellectual property laws or do they go with the religious right, dump anything they want into a river and the air and pay for it with laws about sodomy and abortion and adultery and blue laws forcing them to close on Sundays?

                      There aren’t two ideologies, there are many and there aren’t two pure parties, there are people who make choices about who will do the most of what they want while doing the least of what they don’t want.

                      Donald Trump joined the party, professes positions that matter to a great number of republicans and some they don’t like but are willing to put up with.

                      Ron and Rand Paul have done the same.

                      And every republican governor or senator of a blue state.

                      And the same thing happens with democrats.

                      And that’s good because it keeps the two party system going, They adapt, they change, they stop bothering with things when there’s a consensus and they don’t adopt things that would push them so far that they can’t get around half the the people to at least accept it. You did notice that the party platforms get new versions on a regular basis, yes? That’s to reflect the changing coalitions and the changing numbers in each faction. They’re consensus not purity.

            • Bernie is totally a Democrat, you’re trying to posit a false equivalency. Nobody in the party is trying to boot him out. He is not a member of the American Socialust Party (is there such a thing?). The leader of the 2012 campaign is not speaking out against him.

              Nobody is saying Bernie’s not a “real” democrat who should be kicked out.

              By contrast, that’s exactly what the old leadership of the GOP is saying about Trump. Except that in the next breath, they all swear they’ll support the nominee no matter who it is.

              It is no longer clear just who speaks for the GOP.

              • Charles,
                I see you don’t like it much when that stuff you presented as a logic argument is challenged. Oh well, too bad.

                charlesgreen said, “Bernie is totally a Democrat”

                Of course you have to profess that Bernie Sanders is a Democrat or your logic will continue to crumble.

                FYI: Caucusing with the Democrats over the years so he could be entitled to committee assignments does not make Sanders a Democrat. He has run over the years as an Independent and is a self professed Socialist and he says “everyone knows it'”. I hate to bust your Sanders bubble but Bernie Sanders didn’t join the Democratic Party until 2015 and he wouldn’t have done so if he wasn’t running for President. A short video clip for you, carefully listen to Sanders at the 24 second mark in the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psp-r68mo8k

                All that aside, you completely missed the point of making a Sanders comparison; Sanders is not a Democrat, Trump is not a Republican and both of them are receiving votes in their party primaries. Both parties are being used by Sanders and Trump as an ends justify the means political tool.

                You and I are going to agree to disagree on this and move on.

                • Point noted to both of you re him not running as a D before. Tho the party seems much more comfortable with him than is the case with Trump in the GOP.

    • What about everyone else who’s not fully in line with it, are they going to boot Mark Kirk for voting to repeal DADT? The platform is a compromise between the various factions in the Republican coalition and is not identical to the state party platforms. And they do rewrite it on a regular basis.

      Go with free association. Dear Mister Trump, we thought we had a big tent but no tent is big enough to hold your ego, you’re not welcome in our club anymore.

  4. It’s really simple.

    The pledge didn’t obligate the party to nominate anyone that is to say it didn’t obligate *how* the party would select a nominee, the pledge merely obligated individual candidates to endorse (and by extension not run as a 3rd party candidate) whoever is nominated regardless of how they are nominated.

    But, democrat wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing that he is, of course he’ll disregard his pledge.

  5. As both an eX consultant and a consultant to consultants and law firms, I am very familiar with the “who is the client” question. It is relatively easy when the leader of the client is an ethical person who behaves consistent with the mission and values of the organization.

    However, it gets a lot more complicated when the leadership of the client organization is fundamentally unethical and behaves in a manner inimicable to the success of their organization.

    The party you are appealing to to show ethical judgment is the party of “no,” the party of “you lie,” the party of Gingrich, the party of shutting down the government, the party of Willie Horton, the party of swift boating, the party of birtherism. The leadership of the GOP has cynically manipulated its base for years, giving them guns and anti-abortion laws in return for free trade, low effective tax rates, emasculated regulation of finance, Pharma, oil, gas, chemicals, food processing, tax loopholes, and no estate taxes.

    NONE of these benefited their base, so in a year when finally both Trump and Bernie called bullshit on it, the leadership got caught flat-footed.

    Turns out the base really DOES want protectionism, minimum wages, restrictive immigration, jobs, a robust military, and a dash of racism. The dog whistle was the Real Deal.

    Trump is the result, not the cause, of all the ugliness going on now. The leadership brought it all on itself.

    How then is that same leadership to suddenly turn “ethical” and flatly reject everything they’ve been encouraging, right up to a week ago when they all chickened out and pledged to yet again support Trumpism?

    This is a corrupt client management team. You’re right about the other constituencies, but I fear this particular management must be fired to save the client itself–the Party. I dint see any way to do that short of mass resugnTions of party leadership, or, more likely, let Trump run and give the base a taste of what the Dems got when the ran McGovern. Cleansing by fire, so to speak.

    • You are trying to make me repeat myself, and you know how I hate typing. That’s pure partyism, Charles. The single biggest impetus for Trump was his willingness to say that illegal immigrants are not welcome here. Who has been welcoming them the past 7 years? Who has been blocking state measures designed to enforce the law? Who allows cities to shield illegals? Who calls anyone who opposes open borders racist? Who keeps trying to merge illegals into “immigrants”? Who breached the Constitution by using an executive order to repeal immigration enforcement?

      HINT: It isn’t the Republicans.

      And you are absurdly naive to assume that Hillary can beat ANYONE, even Trump. Are you so hateful toward the GOP that you are willing to risk Trump being your President? It’s an irresponsible and foolhardy gamble.

      • I’m not anti GOP, we desperately need a legitimate second party. We no longer have one. The only risk bigger than Trump as President is the destruction of the two-party system. Running Trump would at least maintain a viable party. I’m concerned that for this team to cynically get rid of him would at this point now up the party. I’m not ready for us to start looking like Europeean coalition politics.
        Re immigration, mostly fair point. What about the economic points though?

        • charlesgreen said, “I’m not anti GOP…”

          It’s no big deal but I don’t buy it.

          charlesgreen said, “The only risk bigger than Trump as President is the destruction of the two-party system.”

          You may not have thought much about it but there is the Tea Party, plus I think I can foresee a division coming in the Democratic Party – Progressives and the more moderate general Liberals are getting further and further apart from each other.

          charlesgreen said, “Running Trump would at least maintain a viable party.”

          That coming from a person that’s obviously not a Republican doesn’t hold much water. Trump will be a disaster for the GOP if he runs as a Republican; heck he’s already a disaster for the GOP.

          charlesgreen said, “I’m concerned that for this team to cynically get rid of him would at this point blow up the party.”

          Cynically; you’re kidding right? Would it be cynical of you to fire your attorney if everything your attorney was doing while representing you was destroying your reputation and misrepresenting your character? The party is already irretrievably broken or “blown up”.

          Honestly Charles; it’s really hard for me to believe that you are not anti GOP when I read some of the things you write.

        • “I’m not anti GOP,” He lied through his teeth, knowing no one would really believe him. “we desperately need a legitimate second party. We no longer have one.”

          You see, dear reader, Charles thinks that he can call a party illegitimate, and somehow not view that as being against it. I suppose to his logic, saying an ice cream cone with a rock on it isn’t ice cream isn’t being anti rock, but then he goes gleefully back to licking the dog turd on his ice cream cone, both strangely thinking the turd is preferable to the rock, and not thinking twice to the choice between rock or turd, when we really wanted ice cream.

          • HT, I’m quite serious. I am not “lying through my teeth,” or any other way.

            If the GOP ran Trump, he’d get beaten, and the two parties would go on, with the GOP sorting itself out just as the Dems did after George McGovern.

            If on the other hand the GOP decides to kick Trump out, you’d see political blood in the streets. There would be some version of a third party, and some version of a GOP, both of them enfeebled, but lastingly pissed at each other. Maybe the Tea Party would become a real party; and the GOP would become truly the party of Wall Street and Big Business without any fig leaf of populism. (You’d probably see a Dem president too). Worst of all, those two parties would survive the election, continuing to fight as bitterly as ex-spouses in a divorce.

            My guess is it would be a bigger fissure than we saw with Ross Perot, George Wallace, or even Teddy Roosevelt. We could actually get stuck with three semi-permanent parties, none able to get a majority, and a lot of our systems of politics and government would grind to an ugly halt (some would argue that’s already happened).

            So I don’t think it’s far-fetched at all to suggest that a two-party system is at stake here, and that’s worse than the risk of Trump getting elected. Maybe we just need to let the fever run its course.

            And that has nothing to do with ice cream, rocks, or turds.

            • Someone asserting that the GOP is in serious danger because of one presidential election has failed to pay attention to the House, the Senate, the State governorships, the state legislatures and local politics in this country.

              But then again, leftists have always assumed that the national level is where everything is at and increasingly believe the presidency is much more important than it actully is (though it is important).

            • “HT, I’m quite serious. I am not “lying through my teeth,” or any other way”

              To be clear, lying or not, claiming seriousness doesn’t undermine the accusation. The two are not exclusive.

            • Or everything, depending how you look at it. I sunk to profanity last time you smugly condemned the Republican party while ignoring the festering rot in the DNC. I’m not going to a second time, but you really need to reevaluate your stance on this issue.

              The difference between you and me, well… there are lots. But the one I’m going to focus on, is that when the DNC does something bad, I’ll call it bad, and when the RNC does something bad, I’ll call it bad, whereas you seem to particularly enjoy deriding the RNC and defending to the death (or ignoring in the hopes the conversation goes away) the DNC. Over time, you’ve lost all credibility to be seen as unbiased on these issues, which is why you come off as smug and as abrasive as ten grit sandpaper.

              Maybe if you hadn’t spent the last three years convincing me you were a partisan hack that’d be different, maybe if you make an effort to contain your liberal Pazuzu, it’ll be different in the future, but in the meantime: I don’t believe you, I have no reason to, I have every reason not to.

              • HT, clearly you and I view the world differently, and that’s fine, that’s as it should be, there’s no dialogue if we all believed the same.

                I suggest two things, though. First, there are a few occasions where I’ve made comments critical of the left or democrats; and there have been more occasions where I’ve been sympathetic to or complimentary of the right or conservative point of view, particularly on issues of political correctness and respect for personal values.

                Second, however, I reject the idea of equivalence. You say that you are balanced, willing to equally call out errors on the part of the DNC and the RNC.

                That’s not my impression at all of what you’ve written, but hey, I haven’t investigated it, maybe you have been even handed.

                But here’s the deal. On several key issues – most especially economics – the way i see it, there is no equivalence. The right/Republican point of view, is wrong, stupid, false, contradictory and demagogic. The fallacies of the left are in no way as crazy as those on the right. The GOP has drifted far to the right – Ronald Reagan would have to run as a Democrat these days, given where the GOP has gone to. So, in my humble opinion, it is just plain wrong to show a “balanced” point of view on right and left. One is more wrong than the other.

                I am sure you disagree about that, and as a general statement, I’m sure I cannot dissuade you of your point of view, nor you mine.

                But – we can still talk about particular cases, debating the issues one by one. And on that basis, I don’t see any need to be “balanced.” I’ll call them as I see them, and if my critiques happen to be more of the right, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

                My point of view deserves to be debated on the merits, as does yours. Keeping a running “score” of the “balance” of the critiques presumes an equivalence which I do not agree to.

                • You don’t understand Charles. I wasn’t calling for an equivalence. We disagree on many many things, but that the marketplace of ideas is uneven is not one of them.

                  What I’m saying is that you lack credibility, that I don’t believe you, that I will not take your word for anything, because your word is worthless, and I don’t think you could recognize bias if it was stapled to your forehead. I think you’ve had your ability to think critically beat out of you by a party that you stand by despite being betrayed by it constantly, which I think might be one of the best examples of how beaten wife syndrome is neither confined to women or marriage that I have ever seen.

                  And see, I understand that you might see me in a similar light. The difference is that I’ll provide citations and talk in real terms, and you’ll invariably fall back on platitudes that include a variation “trust me”.

                  This whole non sequitur about Reagan for instance. First off: I wasn’t born when Reagan was president, and I didn’t watch his movies in a theater, I’m also not American. His name holds absolutely no currency with me. Which is why it struck me so odd that you used it. I think you were trying to use it to appeal to authority… “You’re a conservative right, you must like Reagan! Well, today he’d be a Democrat. So there.” I doubt it, I’ve read his platforms. I view that idea with the same grain of salt for people that think Kennedy would be a moderate republican based on his stances. Maybe it’s true…. Maybe it’s not…. It sure is irrelevant.

                  And economics? Charles. I have a degree in economics. I know you’re in marketing, so you must have some kind of background in the field, but with all due respect, “Democratic Economist” is an oxymoron.

                  • “Democratic Economist” is an oxymoron.”

                    Seriously?

                    I’ll put up Larry Summers against Larry Kudlow any day of the week.

                    Not to mention Alan Krueger and Christina Romer. Or Laura D’Andrea Tyson and Austan Goolsbee. And the Nobel Prize winner all Republicans love to hate, Paul Krugman – who has been more right more often about major trends than any GOP economist you can name.

                    The GOP’s economic policy has been built on PR and fantasy, starting with the Laffer curve, continuing through trickle down economics and balanced budget initiatives. In their desire to drown government in a bathtub, they gave up on fiscal policy entirely, pretending that the G part of the C+I+G equation is irrelevant. That kind of advice made the last recession a lot tougher. Bush I was right to call it all voodoo economics.

                    All the while, Republican chicken little economist wannabes keep telling us that inflation is just around the corner – meanwhile, the real world is facing negative interest rates.

                    Here’s what the Economist magazine has to say about the economic plans of the leading Republican presidential contenders:

                    “The Republicans have spent much of Barack Obama’s presidency denouncing debt and deficits. Yet their proposals to introduce unaffordable tax cuts for the rich would send both ballooning. So long as such schemes are a prerequisite for winning the Republican nomination, a party that prides itself on economic management will lack a credible policy.”

                    Absolutely right. So either the candidates are getting advice from hacks, or they’re ignoring serious economists. Either way, it’s far more likely that the correct oxymoron is “Republican Economist.”

                    I’ll stick with my MBA degree against your economics degree, thank you very much.

                    • ”So either the candidates are getting advice from hacks, or they’re ignoring serious economists.” Is pure truth, it just isn’t owned by one party.

                      I often forget that American Liberals are further to the right than Canadian Conservatives on certain issues. It creates these interesting Chimeras of Conservative policies pushed by people who quote Keynes.

                      I have to admit, I like Krugman: He’s for Free Trade, opposes farm subsidies,absolutely obliterated the argument for ‘living wages’, criticizes regulations, and called Obama’s current Israel strategy… let me find the exact quote: ”basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide”, and that it’s “bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world”. I think he actually argued that child labor was preferable to starvation in third world countries. Sure he thinks governments can spend themselves out of debt, but he isn’t crippled by partyism.

                      Lets not pretend you can throw out some names of prominent economists who vote Democrat, drop the mike and go home. The first lesson in economics is how to get the most utility from scarce resources, the first lesson in politics is to forget economics. You want to say that ‘Republican’ Economists are out to lunch? Sure. So what? Doesn’t make anyone who deigns to be a ‘Democratic’ economist better.

                    • HT –

                      Now, THAT was a good post. Hats off to you, seriously. Lots of specific issues and points of view. Thank you.

                      And you’re right, name-dropping alone doesn’t do anything. (Though, I will gently note that you initially praised yourself for giving citations, and critiqued me for not giving any. So in that context, I’d suggest name-dropping is called for, and I’d welcome your suggestion as to who you think of as high quality right-leaning economists, or those who think differently from those in The Economist. I should definitely broaden my reading, and would welcome suggestions).

                    • I know worse…. I was trying to make the point that there isn’t a legitimate economist who follows party lines in regards to the economy so religiously as say, our buddy Charles here. But touche.

                    • HT, I must protest. I find Hillary’s economics flawed because she caves in on fiscal policy and debt reduction just for politics’ sake; and I find Bernie flawed because he demonstrates no concern whatsoever for debt.
                      I do not see how that makes me a “partyist,” or even Democrat.

                      What it makes me is a believer in is 1960s Samuelson 101 Economics that says there is both fiscal and monetary policy, they each have their role, and call me Keynesian to the extent that I believe you should spend government money in a downturn and pay it back when the economy’s in an upturn.

                      These days that gets called “left,” but Nixon understood it. These days it’s hard to point to one party that seems to believe in Samuelson 101 anymore.

                  • I was around for Reagan, though I was only approaching adulthood at the end of his administration. He would not be a Democrat today. Reagan WAS a Democrat around the time of Truman, and famously said he didn’t leave the Democratic Party, it left him. He could WORK WITH Democrats, like Tip O’Neill, but he wasn’t one. I wasn’t around for JFK, but the reason he sometimes gets thought that he’d be a moderate Republican now is his rabid anti-communism. Most Democrats from before the Vietnam War could be (sloppily) considered closer to the GOP because they had the quaint idea that America should defend its values and lead in the world.

        • Right. And how many points was she ahead of silly Bernie before they actually started competing? 25-30 points? How far was Hillary ahead of Obama?

          Not that they know anything, but Salon is on record as saying that ONLY BERNIE can beat Trump.

        • Polls like that are worthless this early in the year. I wouldn’t start paying attention till about a week after both nominees have given their convention speeches and the small bounce from that has worn off. It’ll also help that the polls then will have much bigger samples to work with.

    • “The leadership of the GOP has cynically manipulated its base for years, giving them guns and anti-abortion laws in return for free trade, low effective tax rates, emasculated regulation of finance, Pharma, oil, gas, chemicals, food processing, tax loopholes, and no estate taxes.

      NONE of these benefited their base, so in a year when finally both Trump and Bernie called bullshit on it, the leadership got caught flat-footed.”

      You really need to tighten up this narrative you’ve invented. In a different discussion on another post with Humble you touted no less than 2 or 3 different story-lines here. Which is it? The GOP leadership has faked being conservative to lead along it’s base that has really wanted conservative values and now Trump really touts those conservative values? or is it the other one you spouted where the GOP leadership really believes in conservative values but hasn’t pushed for them in order to lead on it’s base and now Trump is pushing what the base really wants? Or is the the one where you said that The GOP leadership has never supported conservative values and only called itself conservative to lead on it’s based that never believed in conservative values but a whole different set of values that now Trump is appealing to? Or is the other narrative?

  6. It seems to me that part of the answer to the question presented depends on the mechanism used to bring about the result. Is there a rule that allows him to be removed from the party; is there a rule that disqualifies him if he is removed; is there a rule that allows committed delegates not to vote for him?

  7. It is absolutely the ethical thing to do. BUT if they did, the backlash from their party and the population would be enormous. I think the majority of these voters personally identify with Trump. They are the reason we have a reputation as being ignorant, coarse and rude in other nations. My son and his wife are Americans living in Japan (Tokyo area). He has also been to South Korea and Thailand. He speaks Japanese – not as fluently as he would like, but has been diligently taking courses. He maintains friendships with (native born) people in his field in Germany, Australia, Pakistan, India and Egypt. He gets an insight into the “common man” abroads view of the common man of the US. It is unfortunate that our reputation abroad is typified by Trump. By the way, Obama is very popular abroad, he is seen as a great man who has worked very hard for his nation only to have his nation turn on him and give birth to Trump instead. They think we should be ashamed of the disrespect heaped on Obama and the adoration heaped on Trump.

    HL Mencken was a horrid person in many ways, but he made incisive and brilliant statements on Democracy and other topics, proving that no person is pure evil or pure good. One such statement, made in the ’20’s is dangerously close to coming to fruition:

    “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    This recently powerful segment of the Republican party is determined to elect a president who reflects who they are. The person who gives flight to their barely hidden prejudices, fears, ignorance and reckless feelings of superiority. He is the “Ugly American” personified. if the Republican Party exists to represent and enable the wishes of it’s constituency – then the Party has no right to complain.

    I still hold education is the answer. It is the answer to many if not most, of the ills of society. I speak as one who was never afforded an education. My education goes no further than the 11th grade, I have a California High School Proficiency Certificate ( a slight step above a GED). There is a desperate need in our country to individualize education so that each person realizes the fruition of their potential. We need to educate in spite of circumstance, poverty, parenthood and the burdens of adult life. We need the most brilliant educators to motivate each of us to learn and do as much as we are capable. I would have made a brilliant physician or veterinarian…but no one ever gave me a path to attain that potential and from my perspective I could not navigate the way on my own. Too many exit their high schools and never pick up a book thereafter. But they do pick up a ballot and they vote their ignorance. They have no other alternative.

    The Parties, and America in general has no reason to be shocked and dismayed now that the candidates that have risen to the top do not reflect our ideals, but instead reflect our average. You cannot raise sheep and expect to harvest beef. You cannot neglect education and expect to raise educated voters. America is reaping what it has been sowing for a very long time.

  8. I guess they are afraid of losing his base of knee jerk voters that apparently care nothing about ethics or character. He has put some excitement in the race, but at a terrible cost.

  9. Is the moderate side of the Democrats as ticked off with Hillary as conservative Republicans are with Trump? If so can the Republicans field a moderate candidate that would pick up centre of the road voters from both sides of the middle? Especially if they disavowed Trump.

    Surely if the GOP fields an alternative to Trump some of his supporters would step out of the asylum and vote on party lines just to prevent a Democrat winning.

    Here in Australia about 80% of voters are locked unthinkingly to a party and would vote for a dried up dog turd if that was what their party wanted!

    • No, I don’t think so. I think they view Hillary like moderate Republicans view Cruz…more ewwww than angry…slimy.

      I think Sanders is the most genuine of the whole lot, but he’s such a one trick pony, I don’t think he has the experience or the bearing to hold his own in International politics. And of course, like Trump, he would have no support in the House and Senate – I think no matter how well intentioned he was he would get zero accomplished.

      Regardless of party affiliation, what kind of person could you see unifying this divided nation? I honestly can’t think of anyone who could successfully bridge that gap at the moment. And anyone even remotely close is too sane to want that office.

      • I think Sanders is the most genuine of the whole lot

        Not necessarily the best categorization for a presidential nominee. “Genuine” is, after all, an adjective.

  10. For what it’s worth, the first question that came to mind after reading Jack’s posting was do they have the option to refuse to nominate Trump if he has a majority of pledged delegates.

    The answer is yes. The RNC is a legal entity with bylaws. https://cdn.gop.com/docs/2012_RULES_Adopted.pdf On page 32, a motion to suspend the rules is always in order, meaning if it passed that rule 40b on page 39 about placing names in nomination only after winning a number of states and rule 40a about nominating by acclimation when only one name is put forward wouldn’t need to be enforced and the chair could decide that the aye’s have it no matter what’s actually said by the delegates in the hall. Parliamentary shenanigans but then again anything that doesn’t lead to a Trump nomination is going to alienate Trump supporters.

  11. I think the concern about Trump’s supporters causing blood to run in the street is a straw man. Kind of like the threat of the vaunted “Arab street” erupting. But if they want to pull the whole party down over their heads, maybe they’ll learn something such as, half a pie is better than no pie at all..

  12. They are already pulling the whole party down over their heads.

    I don’t claim to be a prophet but I firmly believe that if Trump wins the nomination he will destroy the credibility of ANY Republican President for the next 30-50 years. If he wins the Presidency he may well do that for ANY president and for the nation as a whole.

    You may ask why some twat that lives 10,000 Km away is sticking his nose in? Unfortunately what happens in the US affects us here as well, and will have an important affect in a world where Putin and China are on the rise.

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