Donald Trump is the king of unforced errors, but his remarks about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the federal district court judge presiding over the Trump University lawsuit, is a bridge too far for many. There are numerous Republicans after having endorsed him are rebuking his remarks.
Saying Judge Curiel has a conflict of interest because of his Mexican heritage, well Speaker Paul Ryan today at a press conference highlighting the GOP House Agenda described it as a “textbook definition of a racist comment.”
I can’t disagree.
And Donald Trump is doubling down on it, and his surrogates who go out to defend those remarks are beclowning themselves.
His conduct since becoming the presumptive nominee has not indicated that he will actually grow as a candidate. Former Congressman John LeBoutillier (R-N.Y.) made that case at The Hill today. He says that Trump’s behavior puts his nomination in jeopardy.
It is possible that Trump could have a mutiny on his hands when he reaches Cleveland.
LeBoutiller wrote, “With six weeks to go until the GOP convention in Cleveland, it is up to Donald Trump: He must either pull himself together and lead the Republican Party in a responsible manner, or else be prepared to have a major mutiny on his hands.”
He is not the only person calling for this. Erick Erickson wrote today that either the Republican Party will abandon Trump or see the country abandon the GOP. He writes:
The Republican Party is on the verge of being set back a generation because of its Presidential nominee. If Republican Party officials do not man up and publicly repudiate their nominee, the voters will repudiate the GOP as the voters did in 2006. This time, however, it will be far more costly with far more long term damage. Thus far Lindsey Graham is the only major Republican to walk back his pledge of support for Trump, but his views reflect those of several dozen Republican governors, senators, and congressmen too chicken to speak out.
The Republican Party leadership is, like so often before, so focused on not angering anyone that everyone is angry with them. Right now, though, what is most shocking and demoralizing is that party leaders actually know the right thing to do and will not do it. They know Donald Trump’s attacks on Judge Curiel are way over the line. They know Donald Trump’s willingness to double down on war crimes is way over the line. They know Donald Trump’s support of a minimum wage increase and protectionist policies are economic disasters waiting to happen. His campaign has taken to threatening individuals including the wife of David French.
But what’s more, Republican Party officials privately are already conceding that with Donald Trump the party does face annihilation. Only Lindsey Graham is willing to say it publicly, but others in the upper levels of the party know it too.
A.J. Spiker, former chair of the Iowa GOP and most recently worked for U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s presidential campaign tweeted:
The Republican Party needs a patriot to step forward, challenge Trump, work delegates and win the GOP nomination for president in Cleveland
— AJ Spiker (@AJSpiker) June 7, 2016
Can that be done? Certainly? Is it likely, it’s not impossible, but I see that it is improbable.
While Donald Trump has some supporters going to the National Convention many of the delegates are not actually supporters of his, but are just bound to him on the 1st or 2nd ballot.
Trump has enough bound delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot. Each convention sets its own rules so technically new rules surrounding the nomination process could be adopted.
I would be shocked to see that happen. What would be more likely, albeit an improbable scenario, is that there would be a movement to suspend the rules. Should that happen all bets are off.
I am doubtful that would happen, for one thing conservatives are typically one, even if they don’t like Trump, believers in following the rules. Changing the rules at convention feels like changing the rules in the middle of the game. Again, I know that the current rules are not the ones that govern the 2016 convention, but that is how it would be perceived.
I am also concerned that it would set a bad precedent for convention delegates to totally ignore the outcome of primaries and caucuses.
Whether he is stopped at convention and Republicans see a defection of Trump supporters or he isn’t and the Republican Party continues to bleed voters we may be seeing the end of the Grand Ole Party.