By: Jeffrey Newholm
A popular meme shared on Facebook by Donald Trump supporters is a train with Trump’s name on it.
The gist of the meme is Trump has all the momentum and winning the presidency is a matter of inevitability. Indeed, of the 16 would be Republican challengers to Trump, 14 are already done, leaving only Cruz and Kasich (with Kasich just playing spoiler at this point).
But how did the Republican establishment mess up so badly that a complete outsider with no political experience could now be so far ahead?
The first mistake was trying to put up Jeb Bush as the establishment choice. George W. Bush’s favorability ratings, according to Gallup, went consistently down after 2001 to a low of 25% in 2008. Jeb presented well but clearly people were tired of the Bush family dynasty and were in an anti-establishment mood. Between June and September, Trump and Carson’s favorability ratings (according to RealClearPolitics) skyrocketed until they were way ahead of the field.
But we were assured that Trump’s success would be fleeting. Surely as many other candidates dropped out, their supporters would turn to a different candidate other than Trump. But Carson and Christie foiled those hopes by endorsing Trump (likely for their own political gain).
As for the other candidates, too many of their supporters jumped on the Trump bandwagon out of what psychologists call conformity, which has been confirmed by studies going back to Solomon Asch’s pioneering line study in 1951. People conform because they want to fit in, and they believe the group is better informed than they are.
Feeling foolish for picking a loser, many of those voters wanted to go along with the crowd.
Meanwhile the establishment didn’t seem to know what they were doing. They got behind Rubio at one point, but between Rubio’s poor debating and Kasich stealing many of his votes, he never gained traction and quit after a humiliating loss in Florida. Now Cruz is their last ditch effort, but it’s probably too late for him to catch Trump, especially with Kasich still drawing away votes.
Conservatives’ only hope to deny Trump the nomination is to go to a brokered convention in July and throw it to someone else-basically a dirty trick. But to do it, Trump can’t have more than half the delegates. Right now he has 49%.
So, conservatives: now’s the time to act. It’s now or never.
Should Trump win the nomination, those knowledgeable of Trump’s danger to America will have a difficult decision to make. There’s a lot not to like about Hilary Clinton. She’s corrupt and is clearly in it for the “one percenter” banking interests that devastated this country just a few short years ago.
But for an honest conservative, even Hilary may be better than Trump. Hilary may not have the best platform, but at least she presents like a leader and has a platform to present in the first place. What does Trump have to offer? Read Trump’s talk with the Washington Post if you haven’t already. All he does is swerve and evade, and his weaseling his way out of a question on whether to use nukes against terror cells is extremely concerning.
But in Trump’s defense he had some hard hitting tweets on Wednesday. One has 13,000 retweets and 30,000 likes. It reads: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” That’s it. That’s the tweet.
True, Obama was also overhyped by slogans, but at least for Obama there was something behind those slogans, however disappointing it may have been. Trump is nothing but empty bluster and rhetoric. Also on Wednesday (just a day after the terrorist attack in Brussels mind you) Trump found it fit to retweet a side-by-side comparison of his and Cruz’s wife, just to show his wife was better looking.
It’s appalling millions of Americans are taking Trump seriously. Whether it’s Trump, Cruz, or Hilary, there are no good options left. But Trump would be unthinkably bad. The Trump express is heading towards the last stop in November, and there are still a few opportunities for us to get off.
If not, the Trump express will hurdle into the abyss, taking this once great country down with it.