WASHINGTON, DC – The Republicans are one of the two major political parties in the United States, who have elected more presidents than any other party, including two deemed so great that their likeness was captured on Mount Rushmore – Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt – and two others who are often ranked in the top ten by presidential historians, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. Yet this “Grand Old Party” is now being portrayed by political analysists throughout the media as being fractured, dysfunctional, and even on the brink of implosion.
But the Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman, Greek-American Reince Priebus, sees it otherwise.
When Donald Trump entered the presidential race last June, the RNC was concerned that at some point if things didn’t go his way, Trump would take his candidacy elsewhere – to a third party or run as an independent – which would, they estimated, split the anti-Hillary Clinton vote and essentially hand over the election to her on a silver platter. To prevent such a scenario, Priebus compelled all of the Republican candidates at the time – 17 of them – to sign a twofold pledge, promising that if they were not the party nominee, they would 1) support the Republican nominee and 2) not run for president via any other manner (third party or independent).
At the first Republican debate, on August 6, Trump made headlines by refusing to affirm that he would absolutely sign such a pledge. A few days later, however, he signed it – as did all of the others.
But now, with Trump clearly the frontrunner and with only a small risk that he will not secure the nomination by July – the time of the Republican National Nominating Convention – a fair number of establishment Republicans, not least of all writers David Brooks and George Will, and 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, have spoken out against his candidacy.
The prevailing theories about why the Republican establishment is so averse to Trump being the nominee is also twofold: 1) some believe he is not electable, i.e., that he cannot defeat Hillary in a national election; and 2) others think he is electable, and that is precisely the problem for them, because they think his policies are too populist – an anathema to trickle-down corporatist Republicans – to an even greater degree than Hillary.
There is constant talk in the media about a “brokered” or contested Convention, in which Trump would not amass the necessary 1237 votes for nomination on the first ballot, and the establishment would step in with their own candidate of choice, maybe even Romney – even as he has repeatedly dismissed such a possibility.
“100% BEHIND NOMINEE”
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on his Sunday Morning Show This Week, Priebus said on March 6 that the party will be “100% behind the nominee,” and so there are no plans, or desires, to contest the Convention. When Stephanopoulos pressed that, given the split in primary wins (two for Trump, two for Ted Cruz) on March 5 might mean Trump would not gain the 1237 votes by July, Priebus said, while that is not impossible, “I highly doubt” that would be the case.
Priebus emphasized that “I’m not going to do anything to prevent someone from getting the 1237; that’s not an appropriate role for the Chairman, and I’m also not going to help anyone get to the 1237. That’s up to the delegates and to the primary voters. There should be no activity that alters or plays games with that process.”
That same day on Face the Nation, Priebus told host John Dickerson that the record turnout in the voting – up 70 percent from previous years – is evidence that the Republican Party is not in trouble. “We’re crushing the Democrats,” Priebus said, pointing out they are down 30 percent in primary voting.
Priebus said more Republicans hold elected office now than at any time since 1900, and he is confident that “we’ll come together and win the election in November.”