GOP delegates: Dump Trump

Brian Fraley has a message for Republican National Convention delegates, starting with a clever graphic of a building I’m familiar with:

Having gained the most pledged delegates, Donald Trump wants you to now enter into a political suicide pact with him. Please do not oblige him.

My grievances with this repugnant, vulgar authoritarian, major donor to the Democrats are well known, but let’s take his personal shortcomings off the table.

His general election campaign is a disaster in the making.

  • Trump has the highest unfavorable rating of any candidate for a major party on record — 70% in the latest Washington Post-ABC poll. His unfavorables with Hispanics is 88%, with African Americans 87%.
  • Here in Wisconsin, voter enthusiasm among Republicans is plummeting. It’s down nine points since March according to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll.
  • Whereas the GOP had a 10 point advantage in voter enthusiasm four years ago, we’re presently suffering a six point deficit and trending in the wrong direction.
  • This enthusiasm gap puts the seat of our own Ron Johnson, the Senior US Senator and chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, in jeopardy.
  • Trump continually says he does not need you…does not need us…does not need the Republican Party. Rather than reach out and attempt to unify the party, he continues to push a divisive and dismissive tone, which damages the brand and hurts down-ticket candidates as they seek independent voters.
  • As of last month, Trump had only $2.4 million in the bank, raised a mere $14 million and refused to build a small-dollar or large donor operation. Instead, he floated his primary efforts through $44 million in personal loans.  In comparison, in 2012 Mitt Romney had already raised nearly $100 million by that time.
  • Trump’s cult of personality and earned media advantages got him this far, but have reached their limit. He now refuses to build a data operation that would help him and our fellow Republican candidates in November. In 2016, we Republicans were in a position to bridge the digital divide between the parties, but Trump refuses to invest in the nuts and bolts of data collection and analysis. As you know, data is the key to fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts.
  • Still, it’s not just a data team Trump eschews. His campaign has less than three dozen paid staff working on its behalf across the country. That’s not a typo. He’s ‘estimated’ he has ‘about 30’ employees. Hillary Clinton has more than 730.
  • Trump proclaims he’s growing the party, that his record number of votes this Spring is evidence. Yes, he did bring more voters out this Spring, but have you seen an increase in donors on the county level? Do you see a surge in volunteers showing up for party activities in your area? Where are the Trump voters?
  • Despite the raw numbers, Trump’s 44.7 percent of the GOP Primary vote represents the lowest percentage for a presumptive nominee in more than three decades. Then, to make matters worse, he has done nothing to unify this party. Because it’s not HIS party. He doesn’t care about the GOP, but expects you to do his bidding nonetheless.

You’ve spent years, in many of your cases decades, working to advance the principles and electoral goals of the Republican Party. You’ve stuffed the envelopes, licked the stamps, walked the parades, knocked on the doors, made the phone calls, rallied your communities, proselytized on social media. You’ve earned the right to be an RNC delegate and the responsibility that goes with it.There is a reason our Party empowers delegates like you. The primaries and caucuses are not national semifinals where each division champion automatically advances to the finals. No, here in Wisconsin at County and District caucuses across the state, party activists like you campaign for the right to use their discretion in Cleveland. You cast the votes that determine the nomination process and the nominee.

The choices you have before you are not pro-forma, ceremonial votes. You’ve been empowered by the grassroots Republicans across the state to do what is best for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, the national Republican Party and indeed what is best for the United States of America.

Right now, the Trump Train has merely happened to you. But if your votes elevate him to become our party’s nominee, you’ve not only bought your ticket, you’ve become one of the engineers.

Do the right thing. Promote and advance rules that free the delegates in every state, and then vote your conscience on the first, and all subsequent ballots in Cleveland.

The Party of Lincoln was founded here in Wisconsin. Now, it’s Wisconsin’s turn to save it as well.

One would have thought Wisconsin had already saved the GOP by (1) a majority of self-identified Republicans not voting for Trump in the April primary and (2) a majority of self-identified Democrats not voting for Hillary!, but others apparently didn’t take the hint.

Jennifer Rubin reports that the delegates-dump-Trump movement is gaining momentum:

The RNC delegate revolt is reaching the boiling point. As unprecedented as it might be, and as far-fetched as it might have once sounded, it is becoming the logical solution to the Republicans’ conundrum.

Aside from Trump and his true believers, fewer and fewer Republican operatives, activists or donors think Trump can win. As CNN reports, “Interviews with more than a dozen donors, party, campaign and congressional officials make clear the concerns have moved beyond bruised feelings over personal slights — and even beyond the top donors who simply won’t give to the New York billionaire.” The report quotes a former Jeb Bush donor who intends to give to Trump as saying, “This isn’t a triage-type of situation. This is a massive, full body surgery type deal and we just don’t have much time for that.”

If there were a simple fix to the problem, a delegate revolt would not be needed. But that is not where things stand right now. Tim Miller, former communications director for Bush and for the Our Principles anti-Trump PAC, says, “My view is an extremely unqualified candidate calls for an unprecedented response.”

The Post reports on the Free the Delegates effort:

Having started with just a few dozen delegates, organizers also said Sunday that they now count several hundred delegates and alternates as part of their campaign. . . .

The group is led by delegates seeking to block Trump at the GOP convention next month in Cleveland by changing party rules so that they can vote however they want — instead of in line with the results of state caucuses and primaries. It is quickly emerging as the most organized effort to stop Trump and coincides with his declining poll numbers.

Concerned Republicans also are increasingly alarmed by Trump’s rhetoric, including his racial attacks on a federal judge, a fresh call made Sunday to begin profiling Muslim Americans, and his support for changing the nation’s gun laws in the aftermath of a mass shooting in Orlando.

The group is starting to organize and raise money. (“Chris Eckstrom, a Dallas-based businessman and founder of Courageous Conservative PAC, an organization that once supported Cruz’s campaign but is now backing the new movement. . . . Steve Lonegan, a Republican consultant from New Jersey who is advising the campaign on fundraising and media outreach.”)

Other groups involved in efforts to stop Trump and field a third candidate tell me they are now willing to help fund the delegate effort. However, it does not appear the original #NeverTrump groups are running the operation. The #NeverTrump groups may have made the case for getting rid of Trump, but the delegates now seem to be driving the train.

“I am delighted to see so many delegates insisting that they have a right to vote their consciences,” says conservative columnist and #NeverTrump advocate Quin Hillyer. “I think they may well succeed — and if the RNC tries to quash conscience, the blowback against the party will be enormous.”

On one hand, there is not much time to pull off such an effort. On the other, Trump is making their job infinitely easier. “My view is the worse the polls get, the more courage people will have to take this action,” Miller says. “Trump’s behavior has already met the threshold for preventing his nomination; it just takes the will and convincing delegates that his candidacy is not viable.” Trump’s serial missteps and his minuscule fundraising ($1.3 million cash on hand compared with Hillary Clinton’s $42 million) have shaken party regulars. More and more, Trump’s campaign looks like a Little League team trying to play in the Major League — or a garish Trump hotel with cheap fixtures trying to masquerade as a truly posh Four Seasons.

Moreover, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has, intentionally or not, assisted the delegate revolt in two ways. First, he declared that he wouldn’t tell anyone to violate their “conscience” — the magic word for delegate rebels — when deciding whether to support Trump. Second, his complete and reform-minded agenda gives a substitute nominee a ready-made platform on which to run. (“In the first four of the six policy papers, Ryan has released 137 pages of proposals on battling poverty, bolstering national security, easing regulations and scaling back executive power. Those have included new ideas on improving retirement plans, cybersecurity defense and offense, and imposing regulatory limits on each agency, and stepping up enforcement of congressional subpoenas of agencies.”)

There is no question that Hillary Clinton would be a disaster to this country generally, and conservatives specifically, as president. There is no question that Donald Trump would be a disaster to this country generally for different reasons as president. It is the GOP delegates’ patriotic duty as Americans to dump Trump and nominate a presidential candidate to defeat Hillary Clinton.

 

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