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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Without conservatives, Donald Trump has no future in the White House

If Donald Trump doesn’t think he needs conservatives, it’s up to conservatives to show him how wrong he is by unifying against him until he offers concrete assurances that he is who he says he is.

On the day when The Donald is set to park his limo entourage at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill to meet first with Speaker Paul Ryan and then with Chairman Reince Priebus and other Donald TrumpRepublican leaders, the die is cast for a showdown of epic ideological proportions.

Not that Trump, Ryan or Priebus would really qualify as principled conservatives, but the meetings between the most powerful forces in the Republican Party could go a long way towards determining who will support the almost certain nominee and who will remain unmoved on the sidelines.

Ever the unpredictable wildcard, since practically locking down the nomination a week ago Trump has purposely put distance between himself and a lot of the principles Republicans and conservatives hold dear.

First Trump said after winning the Indiana primary that he has his own principles and doesn’t need Ted Cruz’s or conservatives’ support. Then he said he wanted to amend his tax proposal to raise taxes on the rich. Then Trump said he was open to a hike in the minimum wage (but preferred states to do it).

And if those policy apostasies aren’t bad enough, Trump said recently he wants to amend the Republican platform’s abortion plank to include the notorious three “exceptions”.

For those who have been following the primary campaign, none of the New York reality TV star’s flip-flops are truly shocking. Virtually since the beginning Trump’s made it clear he doesn’t have much of an ideological foundation and if elected president would rely almost solely on his ability to “make great deals” to help government run more efficiently and provide better value for the taxpayers’ dollar.

Indeed, his supporters seem to relish the fact government will function more like one of his businesses if he becomes president. Almost every position he’s ever articulated should just be considered the opening of negotiations, and Trump seems proud of that fact.

In other words, nothing Trump’s said recently is likely to shake his already solid supporter nucleus. But in order to win in November, The Donald must bring the balance of the conservative Republican base into his camp.

He simply must work harder to earn conservative votes and unify the Republican Party. David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner writes, “As grassroots Republicans, which includes many ideological conservatives, come to terms with Trump's nomination, they concede that unity is a two-way street, and that the party owes the billionaire some fealty.

“But they say it's also incumbent upon Trump to cool hostilities and do what winners typically do: Reach out to the vanquished inside the party, tell them how much he needs them in the fall campaign against Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, and make them feel welcome and wanted.”

Trump did Tweet out on Tuesday, “I look very much forward to meeting w/Paul Ryan & the GOP Party Leadership on Thurs in DC. Together, we will beat the Dems at all levels!”

Trump’s behavior of the past week merely repeats a very typical pattern. He’ll make an inflammatory statement (which is probably closest to what he really believes), assess the reaction from the public, issue a partial retraction or clarification, and then express hope that the differences can be resolved.

First he’s for party unity. Then he doesn’t care about it. His advisors pull him aside, whisper in his ear that what he just said isn’t the wisest thing he’s ever done, then he hauls out his Ipad and Tweets out what he really “meant to say.”

Trump shouldn’t be surprised that Ryan and so many conservatives aren’t sure about him at this point in time. Until Trump produces more policy positions and then stops contradicting the ones he’s already put forward, he’s going to continue to get a lot of flak and vacillating statements of support in his direction.

One area where conservatives are gearing up for a fight with Trump is over the party platform. Al Weaver of the Washington Examiner reports, “Since Trump disagrees with aspects of the platform and is generally unpredictable, Cruz delegates are setting themselves up for a fight. Taxes, the minimum wage and abortion are considered areas where there could be conflict.

“On Tuesday, Cruz positioned himself to aid a platform fight when he announced he would not release his delegates in at least three states, giving him more pull at the convention. Supporters of the Texas senator are expecting him to be represented on the platform committee, which will bring the 2016 language before delegates on the floor of the convention.”

Weaver also reports that Trump probably won’t make much of a stink over the platform because he wants to add more “show biz” elements to July’s convention.

Of course a showman like Trump would want to make his the grandest and showiest of all party conventions. One can only imagine that “The Donald Trump Republican Extravaganza” will be a four-day long tribute to himself and his greatness.

Unfortunately, Trump’s idea of proving he’s a real Republican will probably involving entering the convention hall riding on an elephant.

All of this helps underscore the point that Trump needs to bend to the desires of conservatives to know more about what he actually believes – and more importantly, what he’ll do once he’s put his hand on the Bible and sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

America has already suffered through eight years of a leftist dictator and eight years before that under a hapless principle-free Republican establishment figure. We simply cannot afford to risk the future of the country on a man who’s not even willing to meet potential supporters halfway.

It’s safe to say many who were not-Trump during the primaries have become tepid supporters under the banner of #NeverHillary. But if Trump keeps it up, many, many conservatives just might take the advice of Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens and sit the election out entirely.

Is the #NeverTrump crowd now saying never say never?

As argued above, there’s a lot Donald Trump must do to convince uncommitted conservatives to support him. So logically speaking, there must be even more to do to convince the #NeverTrump people to do the same, especially since they’ve vowed to stay away from him permanently.

But there are signs that the #NeverTrumpers’ resolve could be changing, though their demands of Trump are still pretty high.

Self-described #NeverTrumper Ben Shapiro writes in National Review, “But there is a flaw in #NeverTrump. Its name implies that Trump cannot do anything to win over conservatives who don’t support him now. That’s not the case. #NeverTrump simply means that if on November 8 Donald Trump is who he is today and who he has been during this campaign, we cannot vote for him. We can still be wooed by real change. New evidence provides the basis for revised decision-making…

“Trump would have to spend the rest of this campaign proving that he has the capacity to change his character — and the capacity to listen to his advisers. Then, he’d have to prove his conservatism by surrounding himself with the right people…”

This is just a short list of Shapiro’s demands, but you get the point. The #NeverTrump people are just as opposed to Trump’s candidacy today as they’ve always been, the difference being they’re at least cracking the door open for possible forgiveness should Trump show some contrition and ask them for it.

I don’t think Shapiro’s demands differ markedly from anyone who supported Ted Cruz or any other conservative candidate (granted, there weren’t many) that found himself steamrolled by Trump’s wild antics and gestures.

Conservatives’ requirements can basically be narrowed down to three things: accountability, responsibility and humility, or what I like to call the three “itys”.

First, Trump has to take hold of his outlandish behavior and own-up to his mistakes (accountability).

Second, Trump must take responsibility for the things he knows and doesn’t know. Much as he would like to think it, Trump doesn’t know everything. It’s time he admitted it.

Lastly, Trump must humbly concede that he needs others’ help to win the presidency and promise to consider the counsel of conservatives once he gets there.

It’s still far from certain that a complete personal makeover would win over the #NeverTrumpers. But even if it didn’t, Trump would leave a much more positive legacy for the next “outsider” to run for president.

Trump won’t release his tax returns, Romney pounces

As if Donald Trump hasn’t already provided enough juicy fodder for Democrats to smear him on come this fall, the New York reality TV star’s now saying he won’t release his tax returns prior to the November election (note: Trump had said in February 2015 that he would release them if he decided to run for president, so he’s flip-flopped again).

You may recall the Democrats hit Mitt Romney hard over the “rich out-of-touch guy” charges in 2012, so Romney knows how damaging the claims can be to a Republican’s reputation. As would be expected, the former nominee and prominent member of #NeverTrump isn’t staying silent on this one.

Nick Gass of Politico reports Romney said in a Facebook post, “It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service. Tax returns provide the public with its sole confirmation of the veracity of a candidate's representations regarding charities, priorities, wealth, tax conformance, and conflicts of interest.”

The tax return issue was brought up a few times during the Republican presidential debates in late February but didn’t seem to be much of an issue for Trump’s core voters who admittedly don’t appear to hear anything negative where The Donald is concerned.

The fact Romney is complaining about it now is just a preview of what Hillary Clinton is going to be saying a lot after Labor Day. Of course she’s got reams of ethical issues to explain for herself, so who knows if people are even going to pay attention to this matter.

Simply put, failing to release tax returns makes Trump look bad. But again, does he really care? If anything, defying the normal rules of political warfare and thumbing his nose at the IRS will only help bolster his “outsider” image.

What could he possibly have to gain by releasing his taxes? Conservatives’ respect, for one.

Another poll shows Clinton and Trump virtually tied

Finally today, Donald Trump has boasted for months that he would beat Hillary Clinton if he won the Republican presidential nomination and most recent polls certainly show him moving in the right direction.

Yet another new national poll shows the two almost certain party nominees virtually tied.

Lisa Hagen of The Hill reports, “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are in a statistical tie in a head-to-head match-up for the presidency, a new national poll released Wednesday finds.

“The Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Clinton with 41 percent support to Trump’s 40 percent. Nineteen percent of voters are still undecided.”

The same poll had Clinton with a 13-point lead just last week. Democrats dismiss the results, of course.

I’m not sure these recent polls show a surge for Trump as much as reflecting the public’s continued skepticism towards Hillary as the Democrat standard-bearer. Bernie Sanders took another state away from her on Tuesday evening when he won in West Virginia.

For those who are counting, that’s 20 states that the decrepit old socialist Sanders has won this year.

Fact: Hillary Clinton is not popular, even among those in her own party. Everybody likes to talk about the “impossibility” of Trump winning in November. Well, popular opinion seems to indicate there’s a reasonable chance of it actually happening.

And should Trump wise-up and embrace conservatives, he’ll have an even better chance of defeating Clinton. What will Donald do? Time will tell.

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I am distressed by the inclusion of Boehner, Romney, Ryan, Mcconnell, and other Members of the GOPe as "conservitives" that Trump needs to either Bring along, or Get along with before the General.
This is more cover for the GOPe and a way to avoid their part of the responsibility for the rise of Trump himself, and also hope to slide by this November.
The GOPe is not the same as rank and file conservitives,and although I have to realize that in this primary season that Our candidate Cruz, only got about 35% popular support in the popular vote.
I think that Constitutional conservitives need to stress the differences that we have with the "Establishment" at every opportunity or we risk losing our voice inthe future.

Political Parties; registered voter and voting.

As a 65 year old registered democratic voter who has voted in every election since 1972 but has NEVER voted for a democratic Presidential candidate and considers my self as an independent thinker/voter I can say that this will be the most interesting, scary and decisive election in my lifetime.
I do not disagree with much of what Trump says about the border, the wall, immigration enforcement, deportation or keeping out the muslims. What I am very concerned with is that when pressed on these issues he gives no specifics and appears to indicate that what he said is not as it may appear.
If he was as smart as he is supposed to be he would begin now to connect the dots of his positions on these issues of the economy, jobs, and immigration. Begin to point the conversation toward those American citizens who support open borders and increased immigration just how it damages our future.
For every foreign worker who is working in the U.S.A. legally or illegally there is one American citizen not working, not contributing but rather receiving government benefits of one kind or another, via unemployment, welfare, Medicaid etc., etc. or perhaps just out committing crime to survive. The same $$$$ impact that the open borders, let them all in crowd claims that foreign workers add to the economy the same could be said of putting unemployed American citizens back to work and off of government assistance.
It would be interesting to see trump point the finger at those who support open borders, an increase in the H1B and H2B visa programs are the same politicians who support cutting what they refer to as entitlements but never do they ever discuss cutting their entitlement programs, their retirement benefits.
I have always believed that if the center left and the center right ever got together it would be the beginning of greatness.

Don't hold your breath

I think there is probably a 50/50 chance that Trump will attempt to woo the conservative wing of the party. And there's approximately zero chance that anything that he says or does in that regard will be sincere. If Trump was ever truly going to embrace the principles that conservatives hold dear, he would have already done it. He isn't going to truly change now—but he may try to fool us into falling for him anyway.

So when I say I'm #NeverTrump, I mean never, ever, ever. If Trump did actually have the necessary change of heart to be a man I could vote for, in his new humility he would also have to realize that he was too inexperienced and ignorant to be the right leader for the country at this time. He'd give a speech at the convention resigning from his candidacy and urge the delegates to elect Ted Cruz instead. If that one in a billion chance ever did happen, I'd gladly change my view of Trump. I'd also support the nominee—but then of course, it wouldn't be Trump. :-)