Professional Republicans do not want Donald Trump to be the nominee. Like, they really do not want him. And they’re starting to pull out the best dirty tricks they can to derail his candidacy… but they may have met their match with a man whose dirtiness outdoes even theirs.
This week saw the launch of a new ad in upcoming primary states that highlights Trump’s worst misogyny (video below). Women from all different backgrounds repeat the worst things that he’s said about women, shaking their head in disapproval. There’s only one problem: these words might actually encourage voters to support Trump.
To a certain audience, the misogyny makes the candidate look strong, unafraid and kind of funny. His horrible words will strike some as brave and honest. And that goes for another video (below) also making the rounds in which Trump is shown reaction to protestors with violence. Again, the attempt is to make him seem unhinged and mean, but for voters who want to see a commanding jerk in the white house, the footage will be irresistible.
Those voters will likely also be excited by Trump’s threats of violence at the convention. He sees the writing on the wall and knows that the establishment will probably be unhappy about allowing him through the door. One Republican delegate went on TV to explicitly explain that the party, not the voters, get to choose the candidate. When Laura Bush was asked if she’d vote for Trump, she answered, “Don’t ask that.”
So this week Trump essentially gave his supporters permission to riot if he doesn’t get the nomination: “I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically. I think you’d have riots.”
And his supporters, insanely, are super excited by the idea. “Riots aren’t necessarily a bad thing,” said one campaign leader.
So now the party and Trump are staring each other down in a game in chicken. The Republican party might decide to implement some last-minute rule changes that would make it harder for Trump to cruise to the nomination. But that would be a risky gambit, since it would definitely anger his supporters — who have already shown themselves to be capable of violence — and might not even successfully stop Trump. But they might try it if they’re worried of a Trump candidacy potentially sinking the chances of other Republican congressional candidates up for election.
If Trump fails to gather enough delegates at the convention, we’ll be looking at a series of ballots in which there are increasing options for delegates to switch their votes. It’s possible then that one of the candidates who earned second-choice in the primary could wind up being the nominee if the establishment coalesces around him.
That could certainly backfire, though. The party might wind up with an unexpected candidate who might even be more gimmicky and unpredictable than Donald Trump. That’s hard to imagine — but Sarah Palin sure has been making a lot of noise lately.