After hearing the news of an anti-Trump LLC created by Republicans, the Donald’s chief advisor, Michael Cohen laid out a warning to the RNC stating that Trump better be “treated fairly” or the deal¹ is off. Let’s get ready to rumble.
It seems to be clear at this point that the Republican National Committee does not want Donald Trump as their nominee (to put it mildly). At first, they seemed fine with placating Trump and letting him play in the deep end for a little bit, but now, the early moments of mild amusement and head-shaking, flat-out dismissal has been replaced by a pervasive nervousness. The establishment candidates have either flamed out completely (Scott Walker) been in steady decline (Jeb Bush) or have been rising at a moderate, albeit unimpressive rate (Marco Rubio). This was not the plan. The plan was for Trump -and Carson- to shake things up a bit and then slide back into the recesses from which they came. At which point Bush, Rubio or Walker would rise to the nomination like many a phoenix before him. Now, it is not too late for this to still occur – Trump could still flame out, and Rubio may still have a meteoric rise in him somewhere, but Walker is out, Bush is flailing, and the RNC is worried.
The Republicans want the White House back, badly, and they have seen the polls that show Trump’s lack of general appeal outside the far-right fringes. Moreover, Trump has turned the GOP primary into a reality show circus that has delegitimized the party to a degree and has made it increasingly difficult for establishment candidates to have any substantive moments. But the potential for a monumental crash is still a valid one for a man as filter-free as the Donald. And running a successful general campaign is far different than running a primary campaign. Jeb Bush once remarked that a successful Republican must be willing to, “lose the primary to win the general.” What Bush was essentially stating is that when candidates move too far to the right to win the primary, they sacrifice the swing votes in the general election. So Bush’s approach -at least back in 2014 when he said this- was to run an honest and open campaign that may not secure him the nomination but -if it did- would give him a good shot at winning the general. Looks like he may have got the losing the primary part right (although his campaign is not quite dead yet²).
Historically, republican candidates run for the nomination on a platform far further to the right than the one they use during the general election. Successful candidates then shuffle to the middle after securing the nomination, but that will be impossible for Trump. He has said too many bombastic and offensive things, and for most them, he does not apologize he just doubles-down. The man is a double-down machine.
So it was not a huge surprise when the Wall Street Journal reported on a new Republican-led initiative to “defeat and destroy” Trump. Led by Liz Mair, a former communications official for the RNC, Trump Card LLC (clever) the Journal reports, has received large sums from anonymous Republican donors with the singular goal of taking down Trump’s campaign. When Michael Cohen -the vice president of Trump Organization, Trump’s lead council, and the man we previously saw stating that, “you cannot rape your spouse”– got wind of this secret -not so secret- super PAC he immediately went on the offensive stating, according to CNN,
Reince Priebus (RNC Chairman) has an obligation to Donald Trump in order to treat him fairly, make sure the process treats him fairly, and if they don’t, this will be a very, very bad thing for the Republican Party
If that’s not a threat, there’s never been a threat. Tensions have been running high between Trump and the party he is running under for some time now – and recent events have set this mostly behind the scenes clash on a course for public consumption. And, in addition to Cohen’s threats, Trump himself himself has switched positions for the second time, now stating that he is no longer ruling out an independent run. During the first Republican debate, Trump refused to say he would not run as a third-party candidate if another GOP hopeful secured the nomination. He then switched his stance on Sept. 3rd, and said he would not run independent and signed a pledge stating so.
Trump is truly running a self-funded, independent campaign and he is beginning to feel like the powers that be are conspiring against him. The RNC needs to tread lightly here, because regardless of how they feel about Trump he is currently their leading candidate, and if he loses the nomination, is unhappy and runs independent, he will siphon off a considerable amount of votes from the Republican nominee. Trump running a third-party campaign would likely be disastrous for the RNC. They have the very tough job of keeping Trump happy enough so he doesn’t go against them, while also trying to ensure that he loses. And, it’s Donald Trump we’re talking about – even if the RNC is nice to him, there’s a good chance he slides over to a third-party if he loses anyway. It’s a tightrope walk for the RNC, and most of the power is in Trump’s corner. Regardless of how it all plays out it is bound to be entertaining.
Grab your popcorn.
¹ The deal we’re referring to is the pledge Trump signed stating that if he did not win the Republican nomination that he would not run independently.
² Bush still has a slight chance if a paradigm shift towards the establishment begins soon (unlikely) – his campaign is mostly running on fumes at this point.
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the Editor-in-chief of The Overgrown.