I have made no secret of the fact that I cannot, in good conscience, vote for Donald Trump. However, that doesn’t mean that he should be ousted as the GOP nominee. An election has been run and fought.
However, the fact is that Donald Trump wasn’t elected in the primary race. Delegates pledged to him were and many of these delegates are not loyal to him. The convention could move to suspend the rules and let everyone vote for whoever they wanted. Just because they can do this, however, doesn’t mean they should.
As Shane Vander Hart noted, this could set “a bad precedent for convention delegates to totally ignore the outcome of primaries and caucuses.” Delegates shouldn’t unbind themselves and unleash all the trouble that would entail simply because they think the voters made a horrible choice. The fact Donald Trump is the “Boaty McBoatface” of American politics isn’t cause to remove him.
However, I believe there are circumstances under which it’d be appropriate to remove a nominee. When would it be appropriate to strip someone of a hard-won prize? Perhaps we should ask Donald Trump.
At the 2009 Miss USA pageant (owned by Trump), Miss California, (now Carrie Prejean-Broller) gave an answer in favor of natural marriage, inciting howls of protests from the tolerant left. Initially, Mr. Trump stood by Ms. Prejean, however the controversy continued for weeks, and Mr. Trump had her stripped of her crown. He (and the organization) insisted that the reason for doing this wasn’t because of the controversial statements or the news coverage but rather because she failed to fulfill obligations under her contract, such as making appearances for the Miss California organization.
Prejean-Broller disputes violating her contract, but we’ll not argue the point for the sake of comparison. While most viewers of beauty pageants assume a beauty pageant involves winning a crown and a prize, winning also means there are duties that a winner is expected to perform. Despite all the effort Prejean-Broller put into winning the pageant, Mr. Trump and the pageant organization decided she should be stripped of the title for failing to perform her duties and responsibilities.
In the same way, Mr. Trump seems to think he has won a crown as the new Emperor of the Republican Party. He has actually won new responsibilities, duties that must be fulfilled, duties he’s ignoring. These are not written rules but are plainly understood. A nominee of the Republican Party must build a solid campaign ground operation. He must work to unite the Party. He must represent the party well as its public face.
Trump is not living up to these responsibilities. He has outsourced building a ground operation to a cash-strapped RNC. Trump, who is allegedly worth $10 billion, would rather drain the RNC, hurting down-ballot Republicans, rather than liquidate some of his alleged holdings in order to “Make America Great Again.”
At the same time, Trump launched a pointless attack on the record of the chairwoman of the Republican Governor’s Association, Susana Martinez (R-NM) as well as other Republicans. His rock bottom approval rating among Hispanic Americans has sunk under his constant assault on an Indiana-born Federal judge as a “Mexican” who can’t be unbiased about the Trump University case since Trump is “building a wall.” The bias claims have never been raised by Trump’s attorney in court. After days of needless controversy, Trump claimed his statements had been misconstrued and that he would stop talking about the judge, a pledge he broke a few hours later on the Sean Hannity program.
In the midst of these events, Senator Jeff Flake (R-Az.) and syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt have raised the possibility of a rule change at the Republican National Convention that could allow for Trump to be dumped. Delegate pledges are not a political suicide pact, and Trump’s continued failure to perform his duties endangers the entire party.
Many Trump voters may be furious about such a move. If Mr. Trump is removed, it will be the result of a calculation that the losses of extreme Trump loyalists will be less damaging than allowing the GOP brand to be soiled by his continuing utter neglect of his duties as the nominee. In addition, there would be a hope that a candidate who would emerge from this convention might still be able to win the Presidency due to the extreme toxicity of Hillary Clinton. Yes, despite even the unconventional Republican convention that would provide our replacement candidate’s nomination.
Granted, this is an extreme measure that timid GOP leaders will be hesitant to make. However, it’s a possibility and will only grow more attractive the longer Mr. Trump continues to act as he has.
Senator Bob Corker (R-Tn.) had been one of the biggest advocates for Trump among established political leaders and has been looked at as a potential running mate. He said Trump has two or three weeks to fix his campaign. Corker’s warning should remind Trump of a heart-to-heart he claims he had with Prejean-Broller where he gave her “a second chance” before dismissing her when he felt she had not met his requirements. If Trump fails to right the ship, talk of dumping Trump could move to action. Instead of getting applause and affirmation, Trump could get a simple but all too familiar message from the delegates in Cleveland.