INDIANAPOLIS, May 7, 2016 — Donald Trump could win in a landslide in November, but only if he blows up both parties in the process. How? It comes down to the right running mate.
A constitutionalist like Rand Paul or Ted Cruz would be a good choice for America, but America is going to lose in this election anyway, and the Republican elites wouldn’t rally behind a constitutionalist in any event. That would go against their prime directive of government expansion.
So Trump has no need to appeal to principled Republicans.
Picking an establishment Republican like John Kasich or Lindsey Graham would unite the establishment in lukewarm support. But which voters would a choice like that bring on board? Democrats and independents are just as unlikely to support Trump because of a milquetoast choice as are principled Republicans.
So, Trump has no need to appeal to establishment Republicans.
The good news for Trump is that he has millions of enthusiastic supporters, many of whom never thought of themselves as Republicans. They don’t know what “Republican values” are, nor does it matter; the Republican elites have none.
National debt? Republicans no longer stand for fiscal conservatism; just let Speaker Ryan write Obama a blank check.
Obamacare? Let’s repeal it. Then we can replace it with something else that will be just another government takeover of a sixth of the economy.
Borders and immigration? At least Trump knows that “either we have a country, or we don’t” and that a country without borders isn’t a country. The elites of both parties find that idea amusing and unimportant.
Trump’s ideas appeal to many of the same angry voters who have rallied behind Bernie Sanders. Sanders recognizes some of the problems in our politically-driven lives: crony capitalism, formerly known as “fascism”; and what Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex.”
Sanders, hampered by naïve misunderstandings of economics and a disregard for the Constitution, has proposed solutions that are puerile at best. But he is credited by his supporters and by many who don’t support him with at least recognizing the problem.
A surprisingly large number of Sanders supporters—17 percent—say they’d vote for Trump if Sanders lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton. And even more of those Sanders voters could be turned to Trump, undermining Clinton’s bloc, which could be further splintered by her attacks on the livelihoods of union workers. She would be left with blacks, old women, and the LGBTQA+ community.
Trump can win, if he can remember that he’s playing the game of politics, a game where, even more than in football Vince Lombardi’s famous dictum applies: “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”
It wouldn’t be good for the country; it would destroy the Republican Party; it could even destroy the Democratic Party. But from those ashes might arise a new, more issues-aware American voter.
Trump could win if he named Bernie Sanders as his running mate.