Quick Review of the RNC in CLE: Trump Can’t Deescalate.

It’s been a few days since the Republican National Convention. One glaring fact shined through the rest: Donald Trump cannot deescalate anything. Ever.

Plagiarism: Melania Trump made headlines when several parts of her speech were found to be very similar to Michelle Obama’s speech from earlier campaigns. The issue here isn’t the plagiarism. That’s a minor blip. She isn’t running for office. It should have been caught, but… meh. The bigger story is once again, the Trump camp’s inability to let embarrassing things die off quickly. If they had simply acknowledged what they eventually had to admit from the beginning, this would not have dominated the news cycle for a full day. Instead they denied and lied about the speech. Then they finally offered an apology letter from a speech writer about the lifted bits.

Time and time again, we can see evidence of how a Trump administration will handle criticism. And how they will conduct themselves when they are embarrassed or found to be in the wrong.

Heavy Handed Tactics: A campaign that once proclaimed they were not part of the GOP establishment use the GOPe to crush all opposition at the convention. From the Rules Committee to the Roll Call vote, the RNC pressured and strong armed it’s way to a “unified” convention. Some delegates did in fact attempt to revolt. They were stopped cold. Regarding the Roll Call vote, if the RNC had not hidden from the petitions and then pressured states to withdraw them, if they had just let the roll call happen the party would have been stronger for it. There is no chance that Trump would not have been the nominee. There was no one else nominated. There was no one waiting in the wings. They could have let the roll call happen, nominated Trump, and then moved forward.

Instead of allowing delegates their voice, they crushed all opposition. They alienated delegates, who are in fact voters who care enough to volunteer for the GOP. Not the people you want angry going into the general election.

The Cruz Setup: The controversy surrounding Senator Ted Cruz had nothing to do with what he said, but only what he did not say. Cruz delivered a powerful, solid speech about America and freedom. He reiterated the values that conservatives espouse. Although he congratulated Trump by name, outlined why we cannot vote for Clinton, and encouraged everyone to get out an vote in November, he did not say the magic words, “I endorse…”

The speech, taken by itself, is not controversial. But when Cruz said that Republicans should “vote their conscience” up and down the ticket, right on cue, people in yellow hats began chanting for Trump, and they whipped the crowd into a frenzy of booing as the Senator finished his speech. As Cruz was wrapping up his prepared remarks, Trump entered the crowd. Immediately following the speech Trump surrogates were describing Cruz’s speech as political suicide. Many saying he should have stayed away, and some saying he broke his pledge to support the GOP nominee. Trump himself criticized Cruz and threatened to form a super PAC to run someone against Cruz when he is up for reelection.

This is the sort of reaction you would expect if Cruz had deviated from his prepared marks, and said something unexpected. Cruz told Trump he would not endorse him when he was asked to speak. Cruz submitted his speech long before the event, and the text was given to press 2 hours before he took the stage. He did not say anything that was unexpected. In fact, the Trump campaign and the RNC planned the booing and chanting based off of Cruz’s remarks.

In an alternate reality, let’s imagine Trump did not set up Cruz like this. He lets him speak. He doesn’t incite booing. When it’s over Newt Gingrich does just what he did and says that Republicans who want to vote their conscience have to vote for Trump. This would be a minor blip on the news, and the convention rolls on. But again, Trump cannot bear any slight. He will brook no opposition. He must break Cruz because Cruz will not bend. So he tries to embarrass him, and then releases his talking heads to attack Cruz. Trump even brought up the stupid Kennedy assassination stuff again.

Will this hurt Cruz? I doubt it. Ben Shapiro claims that Cruz was invited to speak during Prime Time at the convention as a result of a deal Trump made with him. Trump asked Cruz not to encourage his delegates to revolt. Cruz agreed, on the condition he could speak, and not explicitly endorse the nominee. Make no mistake, this was a political gamble by Cruz. He probably never expected Trump to conspire with the RNC to embarrass him on the platform. But was it really political suicide? Will voters remember this?

Probably not. Take the pledge; people have already forgotten that all 3 of the last GOP primary candidates backed off the pledge last March. Trump himself said that he didn’t need Cruz’s support. And that Cruz shouldn’t do anything that made him uncomfortable. For anyone to expect the average voter to remember this in 2018 or 2020… I don’t know. On the plus side, if Trump loses- or if he wins and is terrible- Cruz will be the guy that didn’t endorse him.

With Cruz, like so many things, all Trump had to do was let things play out and move on. Instead he turned the whole thing into a showcase of a party division.

This convention shows again that Trump does not have the temperament to be president. He’s petty and vindictive. He will put his own desires over the greater good. Unfortunately, Clinton isn’t a better alternative. And there’s no viable 3rd party candidate running.

Why #NeverTrump?

If you follow me on this blog or any social media, my opposition to Donald Trump’s bid for President isn’t a surprise. Recently a hashtag has been in use on Twitter: #NeverTrump. It’s used by people who promise they will never vote for Trump, no matter what. According to some polls, 37% of GOP voters will never vote for Trump. I’m one of those people. I began using twitter to explain why:

Why #NeverTrump? I will never place party above principle. Not now, not ever.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve better. Conservatives deserve better. America deserves better.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve a leader who respects women.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve leader of principle, not one who promises to compromise on core values.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve someone who supports the constitution. Trump has shown he doesn’t care about the Constitution.

Why #NeverTrump? Because I won’t put party over principle! America deserves better than lesser of 2 evils!

Why #NeverTrump? Because his tariff policies would hurt our economy.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve leader who values all life. Not one who threatens kids for crimes of parents and supports Planned Parenthood.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve a man of courage. Not someone afraid to defend their views in a debate, or to hold to an unpopular position.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve a man of integrity. Not one who says laws/rules are bad for USA but he uses them anyway.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve someone to look up to. Not a crass, foul mouthed jerk. Someone who can represent us well.

Why #NeverTrump? You can’t govern by polls. We need a real leader with core values.

Why #NeverTrump? Because Presidency isn’t reality TV. We need a real leader.

Why #NeverTrump? Because we deserve a leader who values the truth. Not one who lies casually, continually.

Why #NeverTrump? I won’t let the media decide who I vote for.
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People claim that a vote for someone besides Trump in the general election is a vote for Clinton. I say, based on the number of GOP voters who will never vote for Trump, a vote for Trump in the primaries is a vote for Clinton.

#NeverTrump now, #NeverTrump forever. It’s not a bluff, #NeverTrump. If he is nominated, we won’t get behind him. The GOP will lose. This is a choice GOP voters and leadership is making now. We have already made our choice.

Follow me on twitter: @scottlinkpol. Feel free to retweet anything above.

I don’t Care About the GOPe or the GOP

This morning someone told me I was dumb for thinking a vote for Cruz was not a vote for the Republican “Establishment”.

I could not care less about the GOP Establishment, or the GOP at all.

The Republican Party is a vehicle for candidates that hold my conservative views. Period. If it stops being an effective vehicle I will look for candidates that hold those views elsewhere.

People, myself included, are annoyed with the GOP and the “establishment” for foisting candidates upon us that are actually not conservative. They do not work toward limited government, but instead are a part of the Washington system that doesn’t actually accomplish anything conservative. At best the establishment slows down the march of progressive left political will.

What exactly is the GOPe? It’s this nebulous group of people that provide leadership to the GOP. It’s not a defined group, it’s just a useful generalization. People aren’t actually members. But if you are in leadership in the Republican party and you think Romney and McCain were good candidates, you probably are a member of the establishment.

I don’t care about the GOPe. Look, I voted for McCain and Romney. I have accepted establishment Republican candidates as the lesser of two evils at the voting booth for a long time now. But the GOP or the GOPe mean very little to me. I wanted conservatives to have a new party back when Romney was running. I hoped the Tea Party would become that political party, but it got sucked into the GOP. Political parties in general, mean little to me. They are just a mechanism to vote for candidates that I like, or at least dislike less than others. I do not like the 2 party system we have. But since we have it, I participate as best I can. I vote for the candidate that will do the least harm and might lead us back toward more limited government.

This election cycle, the frustration over the GOPe has boiled over. Now people want a candidate that isn’t a part of it. Although he was very liberal before, and admits to being a part of the establishment until he decided to run for office, Donald Trump has emerged at the poster child for anti-establishment voters. Now, like this morning, when any who is annoyed with the GOP says they plan to vote for anyone else, the Trumpkins lash out. How stupid can we be? Don’t we know that every other candidate is part of the GOPe?

What they are saying is that I (a conservative) should only vote for a blow hard, blustering buffoon who cannot articulate even simple policy positions in most cases, and who when he does actually state a position clearly he flips on it within 24 hours, who thinks insults are the way to defeat his opponents, who has a history of supporting liberal Democrats and leftist positions, who admits he personally takes advantage of laws that are bad for the USA, who literally holds positions based on poll numbers, who has promised to open up libel laws so he can sue people who criticize him, who has promised to expand laws so that he can order the US Military to kill women and children who are related to terrorists, who embodies values and behavior that I would never want in any elected official much less the President of the USA… I should vote for him because he is the only candidate who is not controlled by the GOPe.

I don’t care who is or isn’t a GOPe favorite.

I will never vote for Donald Trump for any elected office, Ever. I will never vote for Hillary Clinton, either. Before you say a vote for someone else is a vote for Clinton, let me stop you. It’s not. It’s a vote for someone else. If enough people vote for someone else, that person gets elected. If Clinton does get elected, which she undoubtedly would in a general election versus Trump, at least then we know what we are going to get. She is a known factor. A bad one, but we know her. We don’t know Trump. He has changed his views so often I can’t be sure he has any core values… except to do things that benefit him and post crazy stuff on twitter.

So, no. I won’t vote for Trump. I will vote for the candidate that will do the least harm. If that is a GOPe candidate, fine. If that is someone else, fine. I will not vote for Trump to stop the GOPe because I don’t care about them. If the GOP puts up Trump as the nominee, I won’t vote GOP in the election. And I won’t consider myself a part of the GOP until such time as it dies off and is replaced, or comes to its senses and started nominating conservatives again.

There are rumblings about the GOPe conspiring to steal the nomination from Donald Trump at the Republican convention. The rules are pretty clear. If no candidate has the needed number of delegates prior to the convention, during the gathering they will do multiple delegate votes until a nominee is selected. If Trump has the most delegates, but not enough to secure the nomination, some fear that this will shatter the Republican party if he is not the nominee. Assuming the rules are followed, the candidates enter this process knowing that this could be the outcome. I’m not a fan of ignoring the votes of individuals in a brokered convention. I’d rather see voters select a conservative candidate before the convention. But if the GOP comes out of the convention with Trump as the nominee, no matter how that happens, I won’t be joining them in support of Trump.

I don’t want to save the GOP. I don’t care if the GOP splinters. I don’t care if a new party rises from the ashes of the GOP. I will vote for the candidate that is most likely to return us to a limited government. One who is actually a conservative, and will do the least harm to our nation. I will not place party over principle.

2 Serious Questions for Trump Voters

I don’t want to try to argue you into my way of thinking I seriously just want to know the answer to these two questions:

  1. Is there ANYTHING that Donald Trump could say or do that would make you not vote for him?
  2. Is there ANY revelation about his past that would cause you to not vote for him?

That’s it. I’m trying to better understand what motivates people who support him.

Watching the reactions to last night’s debate, and other events… just reading Trump’s twitter feed the past couple of months… and the reactions of those who support him if you criticize him… I fear that the answer to both of those questions is no.

I don’t think there is any reasoned-out rationale behind your support of Trump. I think it’s just an emotional response, frustrations brought to light. He resonates with you. His rhetoric is what you have been waiting for. And nothing he says or does, or has done, or has said will ever make you change your vote.

If that is true, then it doesn’t matter what he stands for, what he actually does, because he just makes you feel like you want to vote for him.

If the answer to those two questions is no, heaven help us.

 

IowaCaucusGate: What Cruz Should Do

Is that a thing? Are we calling this controversy that yet? Caucus-gate?

I wrote before about Trump’s twitter melt down over someone in Cruz’s campaign telling potential voters Carson had dropped out before the Iowa Caucus. This boils down to 1 delegate. Just one. Cruz won 7, Trump won 6 in Iowa.

If I was Cruz I would agree that if it can be shown to mutual satisfaction that just one precinct would have voted for Trump over Cruz if this information had not been shared by the Cruz campaign, I would give that delegate to Trump. I don’t know if that is actually possible, but if it is, then so be it. He can have it.

Or, in a bolder move, just give him the delegate outright, right now.

This election will not come down to 1 delegate at the Republican convention. If Cruz could do this, it would deflate the bluster from Trump. It would show that Cruz is above the petty junk of the campaign, and is taking the high road. In the end, Trump loses.

Trump Melts Down Over Iowa Caucus, But He Should Move On

During the Iowa Caucus the other night twitter was full of reports that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. For some reason they felt it was necessary to announce that Carson was taking a few days off. Getting clean clothes, or something, is how they put it. immediately everyone was speculating that he was about to drop out of the race. There was so much speculation that the Carson campaign had to send a memo out telling everyone that they were still in the race.

This all happened about the time that the Iowa Caucus was getting going. Evidence has come to light that someone from ted Cruz’s campaign seized on the speculation that Carson was dropping out, and sent out emails to the “reps” at the caucus sites, encouraging them to announce this information and try to get Carson voters to switch over.

Maybe you didn’t know that was how the Iowa Caucus worked. People show up, and before they vote, someone speaks for each candidate. Every candidate had the chance for someone to speak for them.

Today, after an unexpectedly civil initial reaction from Trump losing to Cruz, he used twitter to sort of melt down about “fraud” and lies and deceit. See the tweets below (latest to earliest):
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So, a couple of things about this line of thought.

  1. We’re talking about the difference between Trump (or someone else) getting 7 delegates or the 6 he has now. Iowa doesn’t award all of their delegates to the overall winner, but splits them up based on what precincts they win. If this race comes down to one delegate at the primary, this might be something to bring up then. But it won’t.
  2. The Carson campaign had the exact same opportunity to speak to the voters that Cruz did. Easy to set the record straight. “No, sorry, Carson is just taking a couple of days off. He is still in the race.” Why did this not happen? Or did it?
  3. In essence, Trump is saying that Carson voters would move to Cruz rather than any of the other candidates, including himself. Assuming anyone actually switched their votes, do we know they didn’t choose another candidate? Was Rubio’s larger than expected numbers influenced by this Carson rumor? It’s all speculation.
  4. The only reason this is even a discussion is because someone in the Cruz campaign said the same thing that non campaign people were saying, and they said it in an official communication. They didn’t make it up, they repeated a rumor, and if it hadn’t gone through their official network, it wouldn’t be an issue. Cruz should figure out who made that choice (and who ever came up with the mailer that was so dumb) and take the necessary disciplinary steps. Cruz has already apologized to Carson.
  5. I’m about 99% positive that no Carson voter would ever vote for Trump. carson is the anti-Trump, in just about every way a conservative can be. If at some point Carson drops out, none of his voters will ever go to the Trump camp. So long term, this does not affect Trump at all. it’s 1 delegate in the first primary.

No one really knows what might have happened. Carson’s campaign released an ill timed announcement. (Ill conceived? Did anyone need to know this?) Someone in Cruz’s campaign made a poor choice, assumed the rumors were true, and acted without all the facts. In the end, would it really make a difference? One delegate.

What Trump should do (I can’t believe I’m giving advice to Trump…) is leave things as he did after his speech on Monday night and focus on winning NH and SC.

To My Friend Who Supports Trump: Some Questions You Need Answered

Dear Friend,

I get why you like Donald Trump for President. I really do. I have felt the frustration with the current American political process, seen the supposed conservatives be sent to Washington to get nothing done. And Trump appears to be someone who will be different.  That can be very appealing. He is talking about all the right things.

But he’s not saying some things you need to know before you cast your vote for him. Politicians (and that’s what Trump is now that he is running for office) have historically said a lot of things in the election, but not always done what they promised. Remember, that’s one of the reasons we are so frustrated.

Trump is a master at this election thing, it seems. He is very good at getting attention, and getting his message out. But… and you knew there was a “but” coming… many things he is saying in this election are very different from what he has said before. Some of his new positions are radically different from his previous ones.

People change. People see reason. Positions evolve. I’m OK with that. But what Trump is not saying is what led him to his new perspective. Because, if he can’t articulate a reason for his changed mind that should raise some red flags. many of his previous positions would place him squarely outside the realm of conservative politics.

You deserve to know why he became a Republican, because that speaks volumes as to how he will lead he country if elected President. These are just a few questions you deserve to have answered.

2nd Amendment: Previously Trump has said that he doesn’t understand guns, hates guns, and supported banning certain “assault” style weapons. Why did he change his mind?

Healthcare: Trump has previously called for a “single payer” healthcare system, where the government pays for everyone. Why has he changed his mind?

Taxes: Just a few years ago Trump was saying the government should seize 14% of wealthy American’s assets (not income, assets) to eliminate the national debt. That concept is entirely contrary to conservative values. What changed? Why is he now opposed to this sort of government action?

Previous Support: In years past Trump has donated money to many political figures, including many prominent Democrats (Some with the name Clinton!). He has said that he did this in his capacity as a business man. Why would he donate money to people whose political philosophy was so different from his own? He supported people who supposedly have values that are very different from his own for financial gains. As president, will he stand for the things he says he does, or will he make deals and violate his values (and ours!) for other gains?

Killing Terrorist’s Families: Trump has said multiple times that he wants to kill the families of terrorists as a deterrent for terrorism. At first I thought it was hyperbole, political rhetoric. Yet, when pressed on it in a debate, he did not back off of this. Imagine if you had an estranged son or daughter who, God forbid, became a terrorist. Trump would kill you and the rest of your family? How can anyone hold this view and still support the US Constitution and due process?

If Donald Trump cannot or will not answer these questions, and many more, then we must wonder how much of what he says is what a person must say to get elected and how much is what he now truly believes? Trump needs to answer these questions. He is a candidate for the most powerful job in the world. We need to ask these questions, and more. We deserve answers before we vote.

[UPDATE: I found this campaign ad which shows even more issues that Trump has changed his views on. That in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad, but why? He has not clearly explained the process, and why we should accept that he really has changed his mind and isn’t just acting like a politician and saying what he needs to say to be elected:

You may have to be logged into Facebook to see it.