It’s Time For Republicans Of Good Conscience To Organize A Third Party Challenge
In last night’s primaries, Donald Trump won three out of four of the states – Michigan, Mississippi, and Hawaii. Ted Cruz won only in Idaho. Trump has 446 delegates in his pocket right now, just a little bit more than a third of the number he will need to secure the Republican Party nomination, but 99 more delegates than what Cruz has obtained so far. Marco Rubio has only 151 delegates.
Trump’s current delegate lead would be surmountable by Cruz, if Cruz had a campaign strategy that could actually change the dynamics of the race. He doesn’t.
Trump has been subjected to every conceivable Republican criticism. He’s been exposed as a huckster, a liar, a crude bully, and an aspiring fascist. He has promised to break the law in order to violate the Bill of Rights. He has sent surrogates to court NeoNazis. He has urged his supporters to engage in violence against dissenters. He has embraced bloody dictators and quoted Mussolini.
None of this seems to deter the plurality of Republican voters behind his campaign. In fact, between 40 to 50 percent of Republican voters seem to appreciate Trump’s animosity to peace, to democracy, and to basic decency. They revel in it. The more outrageous Trump becomes, the more determined these Republicans are to stand behind him. They hunger for a brutal strongman to set things right.
That’s what makes it important for Republicans who stand against Trump to prepare a second line of defense against his march toward the White House.
In this light, Donald Trump can seem unstoppable. In the Republican nomination contest, he probably is.
That doesn’t mean that the majority of Republican voters like it. Between 40 and 50 percent are disgusted by what Trump does, and what he stands for. Outside of the Republican Party, a majority of Americans oppose Trump.
The advantage that Trump has, against the majority of decent American voters, is that he has the ability to inspire high rates of turnout among those voters who admire his autocratic approach to leadership. It’s not going to be enough for them to vote against Trump in the Republican primaries. That effort is almost sure to fail.
The time has come for Republicans of good conscience to prepare a second line of defense. They need to begin now to put their support behind a third party alternative candidate. They need to get to work now to identify this candidate, and help him or her to get on the ballot in all 50 states, to take away as many votes from Trump in the general election as possible.
Trump can win the general election if Republican voters accept that they have no choice but to stand behind their party’s vile new leader. Trump can’t win the general election if enough Republican voters decide to put what’s right ahead of party loyalty.