In this space months ago, I asked whether the Republican party powers would put party before principles to preserve their positions under Donald Trump or accept reform under Senators Cruz or Rubio. Their answer was obvious back in February. The party was dead by May.
Still conservatives of principle fought until the last, when Trump and the party leadership “crushed”— their word, not mine — the opposition in a parliamentary farce staged for the sake of unity.
The GOP powers that be actually thought that scurrying under the bleachers to hide from delegations submitting forms for a roll call vote and then only allowing a voice vote and declaring themselves the winners would lay the party’s disagreements to rest. Imagine if at PMQs the Prime Minister pretended not to hear an unwelcome question and then declared it asked and answered. That was Monday afternoon at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
The machinations continued into the evening with accounts of intimidation over that voice vote. Scott Baio appeared for the Hollywood contingent that has somehow become standard. If you have a hard time placing him, he was Chachi from Happy Days, a popular TV show in the late 1970s. (No, he did not make more hits or become publicly notable in any other context. He’s who they could get.)
Trump entered in World Wide Wrestling style to Queen’s “We Are the Champions”. Cliche and possibly a copyright violation, the campaign did not secure rights to the song and Queen has very few of their songs available for license through copyright services. Queen is looking into recourse.
Trump came early (the nominee is usually not around until the end, but the campaign had trouble getting speakers not named Trump) to introduce his wife, who gave an inspirational speech, which her speechwriter lifted from Michelle Obama. There is some discussion on whether plagiarism in politics is wrong — no, I’m not kidding, Team Trump has no use for honour — and whether or not the speechwriter sabotaged Melania’s speech. Allowing those arguments to go either way, the blunder highlights the campaign’s incompetence.
GOP unity is a farce born of fear and hope that should know better
After team Jeb Bush tried to money whip the old Republican base, the GOP did not call for unity behind Rubio when conservatives did. They did not heed calls for unity behind Cruz through the winter and spring. Only now, for Donald Trump, do they demand that we come together.
The call for unity at this point is repulsive to principled conservatives. Trump illustrates how far the GOP will grovel to crush constitutional conservatism and keep governmental power in DC where it is under their control. Once founded for liberty for all, the Party of Lincoln has become an obstacle to it.
The only reason any hesitate to bolt is Hillary Clinton. Many are scared of the second Clinton Administration. The fear is well founded. I am afraid too.
But what is done is done. I know the arguments why Trump could win. Here is the exceptional Victor Davis Hanson explaining them. Here is Nate Silver on the numbers. Both Hanson and Silver note that many events can happen in four months, which is why candidates have won with narrower margins and lost with larger ones. Note, however, all of the wins rely upon competent campaigning.
Some are trying to pretend. His actual supporters — as opposed to the people who might vote for him solely to deny the White House to Hillary Clinton — watch him through a magical lens that turns everything he does into cool and polished business genius, the kind one finds in Hollywood’s brilliant-businessman-saved-by-pretty-woman troupe. Pundits like Tim Stanley claim he is a careful plotter and media master — and then nights like Monday demonstrate he is not.
From now the free media that carried Trump though the primaries will turn sour. We saw the start of this since May, just enough for Clinton minions to cut a deal with the FBI, frightening the authorities with a Trump White House if they recommended an indictment for Clinton. But with that past and his formal nomination, he can go as hard as he’d like against Hillary’s protecting Bill Clinton against the women who accused him of rape, and the media will tout the active rape suit against Trump and the accusations that came before.
Trump’s chances of winning are abysmal. Opposing Hillary Clinton is now about limiting her to one term in office. The GOP has proven unwilling to lead. There will be no rally to the party this time.
(Image: Gage Skidmore)