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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Establishment panic over Trump was fully predictable

You had to figure it was only a matter of time before the establishment came to get Donald Trump and it’s beginning to look as though a potential intra-party coup is actually forming.

According to news reports on Wednesday, the top brass at the Republican National Committee isn’t happy with their nominee’s penchant for fighting back against the left – or failing to rubberstamp endorsements of Paul Reince PriebusRyan and John McCain – and they’re considering doing something drastic about it.

Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner reports, “Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was furious about Trump's decision to snub Ryan and Arizona Sen. John McCain, two of the highest-ranking GOP lawmakers, by declining to endorse them ahead of their upcoming congressional primaries. Priebus reportedly called Trump's staff on Tuesday night to vent his frustration with the billionaire's latest setback in achieving party unity.

“Reports were also surfacing this week that some Republicans are openly wondering how they might replace Trump if he were to suddenly drop out of the race, and that voting against Trump was suddenly an option for many Republicans.”

Trump’s troubles don’t end with Reince Priebus and the higher-ups at the national party, either. Dedicated Trump supporters Newt Gingrich and Bill O’Reilly have also been intensely critical of the Republican nominee the past couple days for failing to dial it back on the Khan family controversy.

The anxiety has even gotten to the point where apparently Republican leaders are talking about what they’re going to do if Trump leaves the race.

Alex Pfeiffer of the Daily Caller reports, “Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is ‘furious’ with Donald Trump and senior GOP officials are ‘actively exploring’ about how to replace Trump on the ticket if he were to drop out, ABC News reports Wednesday…

“’I am told that senior officials at the party are actively exploring what would happen if Trump dropped out. How to replace him on the ballot,’ ABC’s Jon Karl said on Good Morning America. ‘They can’t force him out, he would have to go out voluntarily. And then it would be the 168 members of the RNC through a complicated process they would pick a new candidate.’”

I’ve seen no indication Trump plans to get out, but in this craziest of all campaign seasons, who knows?

Compounding all of the above problems is reported discord within the Trump campaign itself. Apparently campaign chief Paul Manafort is frustrated that Trump won’t listen and has quit trying to advise him.

Manafort denies there’s any difficulty with the campaign or that an “intervention” is being planned. He points out 50 state directors have recently been hired and the campaign raised $80 million in July.

With vastly divergent accounts on the health of Trump’s candidacy coming from sources inside and outside the RNC and Trump campaign, it’s very difficult to see where the truth lies.

The only thing that appears certain is there are an awful lot of unhappy people in Republican-land and correspondingly a ton of gleeful Democrat fools looking on with delight. All it took for the socialist party was to drag out a Muslim father with a sad tale and all you-know-what’s broken loose among the elephants.

I think everyone agrees Trump needs to get back on message, but the talk of replacing him at this point is just crazy. It’s not only the fact there would be no consensus on who would take over the top spot, but what about the voters?

Establishment Republicans may be furious that Trump isn’t playing nice with Ryan and McCain, but there’s no evidence the voters who supported Trump during the primaries and still like his no-nonsense message are equally perturbed. Judging by the overflow turnout at his rallies, there’s still quite a lot of grassroots enthusiasm for Trump.

It’s hard to see if all of this is serious or just the latest iteration of the dump-Trump movement that’s been going on for over a year now.

Ask ten people about this matter and you’ll likely get ten different opinions. If Trump truly isn’t listening to anyone’s advice, that is a problem. But if it’s just the party establishment panicking over a media-generated controversy in early August, I would suggest everyone take a step back and breathe into a paper bag.

The poll numbers have sunk but you’re still facing an intensely disliked, borderline criminal opponent in Crooked Hillary Clinton.

If Trump can stay on message, there’s no reason he can’t compete and win. The country is hungry for a change – it’s time the Republican establishment recognized it and stopped freaking out.

Hey #NeverTrumpers, this is what victory looks like

I didn’t think I’d ever be saying this, but I admire Marco Rubio.

It’s not because Rubio reversed his decision to run for reelection to the Senate for the good of the party or because he’s convinced me he’s no longer for the amnesty he championed as a leading member of the Gang of Eight.

No, it’s because Rubio has recognized the central theme of this year’s election and isn’t afraid to publicly support Donald Trump because of it.

Chris Deaton of the Weekly Standard reports Rubio said at a candidate forum, “’We have got to come together as a party. We cannot lose to Hillary Clinton. We cannot lose the White House,’ Rubio said on Saturday, reports the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Then came the money line: ‘We have to make sure that Donald wins this election.’

“Rubio's call for Republicans to rally to Trump comes after the one-time White House hopeful ripped Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention in real time Thursday…”

Rubio became known during the primaries for his flowery rhetoric and as a master of the robotic “25-second speech,” but he’s narrowed down the general election to a simple choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – and the country can’t afford to have the latter in the office of the presidency, so we must choose the former.

It’s the type of message discipline Democrats appear to have mastered but Republicans can’t seem to grasp. In addressing the media, many Republicans can’t get past commenting on everything Trump says rather than just stating the obvious: Hillary must be defeated.

Kudos to Marco Rubio for recognizing the binary choice and actually speaking of Trump by name. That actually takes some courage these days, with the media in an anti-Trump frenzy and wimpy Republicans like Paul Ryan and John McCain calling out Trump over the Khan incident.

For their part, #NeverTrumpers aren’t impressed by Rubio’s pro-Trump stumping. Streiff writes at RedState, “[T]he fact remains that either Rubio was correct back in February when you listed Trump's manifest deficiencies or you weren't. Because the February critique was not policy based, it was a catalog of character defects that simply can't be remedied.

“What exactly has happened to make him feel more comfortable with Donald Trump being able to nuke Andorra after a bad taco salad at Trump Tower? It can't be the knowledge that Hillary is this Democrat nominee. That has been known since July of last year. When one combines this with Rubio's embrace of the Gang of Eight immigration plan we now have real questions about Rubio's judgment and consistency.”

On the contrary, Rubio’s judgment just jumped several notches in my estimation. His open backing of Trump is not only a smart move for his own reelection chances but also a signal to other Republicans that it’s okay to come out from hiding and say nice things about the nominee rather than joining the left in trying to score political correctness points.

Far from waffling, Rubio’s actually taken a principled stand, much more so than fellow senator Ted Cruz (it still pains me to say that). Like Cruz, Rubio took more than his share of personal body blows from Trump (who called him a choker and derided him as “Little Marco”) and has emerged as a better man for it. Rubio’s taken campaign rhetoric for what it is and looked past it to see the bigger picture.

It’s a lesson Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Cruz and #NeverTrump could stand to learn.

Since #NeverTrump has seemingly gone from merely begging people not to participate in this year’s election to openly cheering for Trump to lose, it’s not exactly clear where they stand in the race. They claim to have as much contempt for Hillary Clinton as they do for Trump himself, but don’t offer much in terms of a solution rather than just continuing to pop off on the internet.

Perhaps all they really need is just a little demonstration on what victory looks like…and somewhat surprisingly, Marco Rubio provided it.

Looking past this November’s election, what will happen to #NeverTrump?

In covering the 2016 Republican presidential race, I’ve spent a great deal of time speculating on what the disgruntled band of Republican/conservative Trump bashers would do once he became the official nominee and they were left shouting alone in an empty tunnel, able to hear only their own echoes.

I’ve often wondered whether conservatives would welcome them back into the fold if they came crawling back. I think they would. As former compatriots, we’ve fought alongside the #NeverTrumpers in the past and likely will do so again in the future, but probably only if Trump wins in November.

But astonishingly enough, the #NeverTrump people might not want us back. Joe Cunningham writes at RedState, “We have a lot of good people, good conservatives, who have sworn to fight Hillary Clinton and have therefore aligned themselves with Donald Trump. Prior to 2016, these were people we were proud to call our allies, and it's perhaps their support of Trump that stings the most in all this. If Donald Trump does indeed lose this race, what happens to these people? Will we still consider them allies? Or will the stench of Donald Trump continue to haunt them?

“…When this election is over, do we allow the good conservative politicians, thinkers, and writers back into the fold? It's a tough choice. This election is already tearing us as a movement apart. If we continue to let it divide us after it's all over, we could lose any chance to recover in the near future. But, if we reward their bad behavior with continued support, what happens when the next Donald Trump comes through?”

I’m not often surprised by anything I read about the presidential race, but this one floored me. Who gives the #NeverTrumpers the right to determine who gets readmitted to the conservative movement when they’re the ones who are all but advocating for a Hillary Clinton victory by bashing on the overwhelming choice of most conservatives and the guy the voters chose in the primaries?

I don’t know Cunningham, but this line of thought is going a bit far. Should we laugh or cry?

Here’s what I think will happen with the #NeverTrumpers post-election: If Hillary wins, I’m guessing most conservatives who recognized, as Rubio did above, that the number one issue was keeping Hillary out of the White House, will likely blame the #NeverTrumpers and put them on the equivalent of a political blacklist. They may still get in the doors at events, but that’s about as far as it goes.

For those of us who recognize this election is the whole “ball game” in terms of saving our republic from the ravages of liberalism, there’s no room to stay on the sidelines and whine about Trump’s personal deficiencies. There’s far too much at stake to pass #NeverTrump off as just a collection of three-year-olds who refused to join the party because the cake was the wrong flavor.

They will be called before The Man, so to speak. I think they’re ruining their own careers by their actions, but that’s just my opinion.

For too long the GOP has been mislabeled as the conservative party when it’s not. Conservatives vote for Republicans by and large because the GOP is where conservatives go to run for office. But make no mistake, there are a lot of Republicans who aren’t conservatives. This isn’t about party this year.

It’s about the Supreme Court. It’s about the pro-life cause. It’s about preserving Second Amendment rights. It’s about finally getting some semblance of sanity in immigration enforcement. It’s about trying some new policies to try and get the economy going. It’s about energy production and exploration, reigning in the EPA…

The list goes on and on.

If Trump wins, I believe conservatives will let bygones be bygones with the #NeverTrump crowd. As former allies, they’ll have a seat at the table and a say in policy. They’ll take a credibility hit, but since disaster was averted, there’s room for forgiveness.

It isn’t whether #NeverTrump will allow us back in the room…we own the room. If Trump loses because of their pettiness, I’m confident they’ll have plenty of space in their caves all to themselves.

Ben Carson sets the record straight on what Donald Trump thinks of party unity

Finally today, with all the talk of disharmony within the Republican Party, at least one former Trump rival (and now Trump supporter) is telling people to just calm down.

Rebecca Savransky of The Hill reports, “Ben Carson said Wednesday that Donald Trump wants the Republican Party to unify, even as the GOP nominee says he is not ready to endorse Speaker Paul Ryan's reelection bid…

“Carson, one of Trump's former primary rivals, said the real estate mogul will eventually ‘be on board’ with both Ryan and and McCain. ‘I don't think it's nearly as big a bombshell as people are making it out to be,’ Carson said.”

Carson is right. This Ryan non-endorsement thing is just a bag full of hot air created by the media to generate clicks from those who are convinced the GOP is in disarray over Trump.

In failing to endorse Paul Ryan, Trump was merely giving the Republican fence-sitters, including Ryan, a dose of their own medicine. Has anyone forgotten that it took Ryan weeks to finally say he endorsed Trump (even after Trump had all but clinched the nomination)?

And why is it okay for someone like John McCain to spout off about Trump and not the other way around?

Unity is a two-way street. If Reince Priebus wants Trump to conform, he should have a party-wide conference call with all elected Republicans and tell them to publicly support their nominee. And that especially includes backing him up when things are going especially bad in the news department.

In that sense, they should take a page from Bernie Sanders’ book and just get over their loss in the primaries.

Then everyone can concentrate on the real opponent: Hillary Clinton.

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Republican Primary Endorsements

I think it is entirely inappropriate for Trump, Reince Priebus, or anyone else in the Republican leadership to "put their thumbs on the scales" by endorsing down-ticket Republican primary candidates. If the endorsed candidate doesn't win, that can lead to a souring of relationships between the endorser and the winning candidate.

This is especially true in this election, which is a full-fledged revolt against Establishment candidates. Any Trump endorsement of either McCain or Ryan (i.e., "Boehner II") would be a betrayal of his base. Viva Kelli Ward! Retire McCain! Viva Donald Trump! Retire Hellary Clinton!

#NeverMcCain

What's wrong with cheering for John McCain's defeat?
I prefer people who don't commit crimes, much less those who get caught.
McCain is not nice, and does not have a great record of honesty.
Let us never forget the Keating Five, and the McCain-Feingold incumbent protection act.

Never McCain seconded

Don't forget McCain and Flake, both of AZ's senators backed the Gang of Eight abomination immigration bill that died in the house thanks to the reps in the house. McCain needs to go, go Ward and in WI I sincerely hope the other republican running against Ryan wins. Replace the rinos! And GO TRUMP. Do not endorse the rinos in congress at all ever. Vote em out, turn em over at every opportunity. And in CA, why not vote for whomever is running against Pelosi. Anyone but her, she is like McCain and has been in DC too long!