The hysteria coming from GOP conservative purists and party insiders about Donald Trump is reaching ridiculous proportions. Talk show host Glenn Beck has compared the Republican frontrunner to Hitler, while Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse has thundered that he will never support Trump if he is the nominee.
The problem for these Trump haters is that he has garnered an impressive 7.5 million votes to date, along with 679 delegates. In the process, he has won 19 states, more than double the number for his nearest competitor, Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He is clearly energizing Americans across the country and winning in every region of the country.
While winning, he is bringing in new voters who have not supported a Republican candidate in decades. The old “Reagan Democrat” coalition of blue collar, working class and union members see Donald Trump as a champion for their values and a candidate with an answer to their ever growing economic woes.
The problem is that the elite of both parties have been perfectly comfortable relegating millions of working class Americans to the dustbin of history. In this campaign, Trump is enticing these voters with his demand to stop illegal immigration, horrible trade deals, corporations abandoning America and millions of jobs being shipped overseas.
As a result of this message, Trump’s support has been growing ever since he entered the race in June. Not only Republicans, but Democrats and Independents have been attracted to his campaign themes and his politically incorrect style. Despite being a first time candidate, he defied convention wisdom and withstood withering criticism and $63 million in vicious attack ads to unquestionably lead the GOP race for the nomination.
This development is not sitting well with the establishment in both the Republican Party and the conservative movement. To say there is uproar among the elites is an understatement. Many of these so-called leaders claim they will never support Trump if he is the nominee.
On Thursday, a group convened by Republican blogger and commentator Eric Erickson met in Washington D.C. in a desperate move to stop Donald Trump from securing the GOP presidential nomination. This effort did not impress former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who said that the group, “ought to at least be honest and say to people, ‘You know, I’d rather have Hillary Clinton than the Republican nominee,’ because that’s what they’re doing. They ought to just form ‘Lost Republicans for Hillary’ and be honest about the effect of what they’re doing.”
If elected President, Trump will threaten the cozy relationships, high priced contracts and insider deals of the Beltway power brokers. He does not need their money and, if elected, will walk into the White House owing no one. He can truly act for the American people instead of the special interests. It has been decades since the American people have had a truly independent President.
All of this potential change is also too much for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who has been a total disappointment to conservatives. Ryan is clearly hoping for a contested convention. At this point, he believes that none of the three remaining contenders will have enough delegates to secure the nomination so that a contested convention could “very well become a reality.” Nonetheless, Ryan claims that he is not offering himself as a potential GOP presidential nominee and “unity” candidate, which was the idea floated by former House Speaker John Boehner.
Among current Trump opponents, Ohio Governor John Kasich is remaining in the race to position himself as the establishment alternative if the convention is brokered. Republican delegates are bound to support their candidate on the first ballot, but may switch support on a second ballot.
In the end, the race will likely come down to only two choices, Trump or Cruz, who will eventually be the beneficiary of establishment discontent with the frontrunner. Cruz has already lined up significant establishment support with endorsements from former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, presidential sibling Neil Bush, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Even though the establishment does not like Cruz, they are starting to see him as a better alternative than a wild card like Donald Trump.
While Cruz may do well with party leaders, he has not been able to match Trump’s success at the ballot box. According to Gingrich, Trump is an “unusual phenomenon,” who has “mastered popular communication,” and if elected President “would be an absolute outlier in the trajectory of American politics.”
With 19 trillion in debt, 94 million Americans outside of the workforce, a growing trade deficit, a wide open border, 15.7 million illegal immigrants, a struggling war against Islamic terrorism and anxiety throughout the country, it is time for “an absolute outlier” to be elected President.
To date, Trump is attracting many more voters in the GOP presidential primaries and caucuses than any other candidate. As noted by Florida Governor Rick Scott, “Donald Trump is the will of the people. We need to listen to the people, back his candidacy and win in November.”
The consultants, experts, analysts, party bosses and purists have not gotten anything right in this year’s Republican Party presidential race. What they have gotten wrong and continue to overlook is the popularity of Donald Trump, who has withstood the fiercest political attack in modern history and is still the frontrunner.
These critics should realize that someone with such broad and loyal support deserves the nomination and has a real chance to be elected President. Unfortunately, the sad, but disturbing, truth is that many in the Republican Party leadership would much prefer President Hillary Clinton to President Donald Trump.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].