WASHINGTON, June 16, 2016 — Donald Trump has won a majority of delegates in the 2016 GOP primary season and a plurality of the votes. The voters have spoken, and Donald Trump will be their nominee for president.
But a substantial segment of the party will not support their party’s likely nominee. Their battle cry: “Never Trump” (NT).
NT Republicans say they cannot vote for Trump under any conditions. They say he is a racist, a bigot and a misogynist, and his policies are divisive. They believe he is irrational and untrustworthy, with views inconsistent with Republican principles.
But they also say they will never vote for Hillary Clinton. That means their choice is either to not vote at all or to vote for a candidate who has no chance of winning. They know this means Clinton could win the White House in November, but they will concentrate on Congressional elections in 2018 and the presidential election in 2020.
The NT crowd claims that scenario is better than one where Donald Trump becomes president and causes irreparable harm to the long-term future of the Republican Party. They also argue that Trump’s primary victories do not reflect the will of most Republican voters, but was a knee-jerk reaction to the country’s current situation.
Is that true?
After seven years of a president who been less than truthful on so many key issues, Trump’s supporters chose a candidate who simply spoke his mind no matter what the consequences might be.
If Trump wants to win the general election, he will have to give the NT crowd a reason to change their minds and cast their votes for him. Although winning the nomination is an impressive accomplishment, Trump has made some missteps along the way. He has said some things that appealed to primary voters but may prove damaging in the general election.
Trump’s primary problem is that he is not a politician. That was his appeal in the primaries, but he will have to change his approach to win in the Fall. For instance, instead of saying he wants to ban Muslim immigrants to this country, he should have proposed a moratorium on immigration from countries that harbor or support terrorists. That’s how a seasoned politician would put it.
Trump has a problem with Gonzalo P. Curiel, the judge presiding over a lawsuit filed by the students of the former Trump University. Trump claims that because of his strong position on illegal immigration and his plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, the judge—a native-born U.S. citizen of Mexican ancestry—would not be fair in his conduct of the trial. Trump claims Curiel, an Obama appointee, has an “absolute conflict (because) of his Mexican heritage.”
A seasoned politician would have simply said that his political positions were in conflict with positions that Curiel has publicly taken, if in fact Curiel has taken any public positions. If he has not, Trump should have expressed his confidence in the American legal system and left this to his lawyers.
As Trump approaches the Republican convention, he will have to become the dealmaker he says that he is, and he will have to learn how to be more political. To do that, he will have to learn to walk a very fine line, finding the proper balance between his “tell it like it is” style and some carefully calibrated conciliatory language.
For their part, the NT crowd should not hand this presidential election to a Democrat. Republicans are united in their belief that the country cannot continue to take the passive defense with violent foreign adversaries bent on our destruction.
Republicans know that the country cannot withstand another four years of a stagnant, over-regulated economy. Opportunity for American workers is severely lacking, high achievers and entrepreneurs are over-taxed, federal spending is out of control. This has led to a ballooning public debt that is approaching $20 trillion. Economic freedom is rapidly diminishing.
Republicans know the Supreme Court has already leaned too far to the left, and are fully aware the next president will appoint perhaps two or three new justices. It is imperative that those justices follow the intent of the Constitution rather than legislating from the bench. Yet these are precisely the kind of judges a Hillary Clinton Administration will never appoint.
This country needs a Republican president. Republicans should accept this key imperative and work to influence and shape Trump rather than trying to defeat him.
*Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced by arrangement and with permission from LegalInsurrection.