By: Jeffrey Newholm
During the present election cycle, the writers at the Inscriber have tried to warn Republican voters about the dangers of voting for billionaire Donald Trump. Well, it seems ours and others’ warnings have fallen on deaf ears as Cruz and Kasich, Trump’s last two challengers, have recently dropped out.
However, some vehemently opposed to Trump’s nomination have pointed out there are still some ways the Republican Party could hand the nomination to someone else. One is to change the rules on who the delegates could vote for to exclude certain candidates, such as candidates who threaten to use violence if they don’t get their way. This would conveniently disqualify Trump. Another is to flat out ban delegates from voting for Trump.
However, for several reasons this wouldn’t be right, and moreover it would not further the interests of the party.
First of all, considering the Republican and Democratic parties have a virtual monopoly on the election process in the US, such a move would disenfranchise the multitudes who voted for Trump. It’s bad enough the Superdelegates in the Democratic race prevent outsider candidates from having a fair shot, but it would be even worse if the Republican Party flat out ignored the voters. Yes, many have argued Trump is a poor candidate, and there are many legitimate reasons for believing so.
But a majority of voters see it differently, and it wouldn’t be democratic for an elite minority to say they know better.
Secondly, the presumed alternative to Trump in Cruz (Kasich is a non-factor at this point), is marginally better at best. It doesn’t make sense to wrong Trump to support another poor candidate. Most of the criticisms of Trump can be levelled almost equally against Cruz—Cruz’s belief the police should “secure and patrol” Islamic neighborhoods comes to mind. Also, Cruz has selfishly hurt the party to further his career in actions ranging from orchestrating the government shutdown to absurd lies that slandered Rubio and Carson.
More important than any ethical concerns to party leadership, however, is the practical matter that denying Trump the nomination would be akin to cutting off one’s nose to spite their face. Trump would surely run as an independent, certainly throwing the general election to dreaded Hilary Clinton, just as Teddy Roosevelt’s 1912 run on the Bull Moose ticket split the Republican vote in favor of the Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Unfortunately for conservative Republicans, there are no ethical or practical ways to deny Trump the nomination now.
The voters may have chosen poorly, but they have chosen all the same.
So what should concerned Republicans do now that their choices are progressive Hilary and ignorant egomaniac Trump? Many insist on always supporting their party’s candidate no matter what, but this red vs. blue dialectic is tearing this country apart and needlessly dividing us. A better choice may be to vote for a third party spoiler. One may argue that a vote for such a candidate is as good as a vote for Hilary, just as progressives argued a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush.
However, such a vote would send a better and subtler message. It would be a stand for conservative principles, while declaring that only principled Republicans are worthy of such a vote. Furthermore, a strong showing by such a spoiler could discourage future primary voters from supporting a candidate who matches up poorly in the general election. Unfortunately, such a gesture will only go so far. Our country is now guaranteed a showdown between two different kinds of elitists: Hilary’s elitism towards powerful financial interests and Trump’s support of longstanding racial and patriarchal control.
Often news outlets attempt to empower voters through slogans such as “you decide”. Well, America has decided: our nation’s legacy of Capitalism that concentrates power in the hands of a few has again been given a vote of confidence.