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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Is it time for #NeverTrump to seek terms for surrender?

Looking back on last week’s meetings between presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and various Republican establishment leaders in Washington, it seems fairly obvious that some sort of consolidation between the two sides is going to occur somewhere down the line.

Party Chairman Reince Priebus and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are already publicly onboard with Trump and while Speaker Paul Ryan is not fully committing at this point, common sense says it’s only a Lee Surrendermatter of time before he’ll leap head first onto the Trump bandwagon as well.

There’s a good argument that Trump and Ryan are better off without each other’s support, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Meanwhile, with establishment Republicans and even some conservatives coming to grips with Trump reality, many in the #NeverTrump movement are holding out in hopes that some stroke of fate will turn things around and The Donald will return to reality TV as his preferred method of killing time in his retirement years. Some would call the #NeverTrumpers’ cause a principled stance, others might call it delusion. Whichever side you choose, they’re busy weighing their options.

Josh Hammer of The Resurgent writes, “It’s every man for himself out there in this post-Trump conservative movement.  Defiant warriors of the Resistance, and most particularly my platoon mates in the #NeverTrump brigade, are largely lacking a singular leader around whom to rally.

“We watch in anguish as Rick Perry—who previously called the orange-hued demagogic clown a ‘cancer” on conservatism—comes around to not only endorse the charlatan, but to proffer himself as a potential vice presidential running mate.  We squirm as we watch Paul Ryan slowly raise the white flag of surrender to the ‘alt-right’ dear leader.  We are agonized as we watch Marco Rubio painfully double down on his vow to support the eventual nominee, whomever he or she is.  Even the great Mike Lee, who (accurately) noted that the orange-hued clown ‘scares [him] to death,’ could not quite bring himself to join fellow constitutionalist Ben Sasse on team #NeverTrump.”

“Orange-hued clown” insults aside, it’s clear the #NeverTrump people are getting a little desperate. Again, I’m not knocking them, as I myself have harbored serious reservations about Trump and what he really intends to do if elected, but there comes a time when you realize you’re beaten and for the good of your cause, call the other side for negotiations to end the bloodshed.

At the end of the Civil War, for example, Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia battled until it was evident there was no possible escape route. The “cause” was lost. All hope was gone. Lee met with Grant at Appomattox and the rest is history.

I’m not suggesting it’s time for a “surrender” for #NeverTrump, but their avenues for success are becoming increasingly limited, especially since several high-profile conservatives or Republicans who might otherwise have been their leaders are now going over to the Trump side.

In order to have a movement, you need a leader. As Hammer noted above, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse has semi-fulfilled the role along with Erick Erickson, George Will and other media personalities. But there must be some sort of central figure to rally around. This is where things get somewhat unrealistic for the #NeverTrump movement, as it’s not clear who that one person could be.

Trump dispatched a good many of the viable prospects during the primary process. Other possibilities include Mitt Romney, Sasse, John Kasich or even Ted Cruz, but there’s absolutely no indication Romney would be widely welcomed by the disgruntled #NeverTrumpers and Cruz probably wouldn’t do it in any case, thinking that leading a band of frustrated folks almost certain to lose could very well sink any prospects of getting the GOP nomination sometime in the future.

Ronald Reagan realized in 1976 that to actively oppose Gerald Ford after the convention would have been a mistake. Cruz will probably follow a similar path to Reagan. He may not vigorously campaign for Trump, but he won’t be a thorn in his side, either.

In other words, it’s bad enough that #NeverTrump doesn’t have a clear leader, they’re also running out of alternatives.

Again, Hammer provides what he calls the “cheat sheet” for the movement:

1. #FreeTheDelegates
2. Run Multiple Third-Party Candidates
3. Run a Single Third-Party Conservative Candidate
4. Vote for the Libertarian or Constitution Party
5. Write in Ted Cruz’s Name
6. Don’t Vote
7. Take Cyanide
8. #ImWithHer

None of these options are likely to achieve what the #NeverTrumpers ultimately desire: the election of a conservative president in 2016.

Hammer states that he sees their best chance as option one, but in order to unbind Trump’s delegates, you would need a significant amount of rule-bending gymnastics on the part of the RNC to accomplish it – and I just don’t see it happening, especially with Priebus, McConnell and many establishment Republicans already bowing to the inevitability of Trump.

The problem all along for the establishment is there hasn’t been a “White Knight” to swoop in to save the faltering party from the legions of Trump.

Conservatives must continue to make demands of Trump both before and after the convention. He’s yet to prove in any sense that he’ll keep his campaign promises and govern as a conservative. But it’s also clear we will get a lot more of what we want by fighting on the battlefield itself rather than lofting mortar shells from the outside with the tube pointing straight up.

Obama’s bathroom decree hands Trump perfect issue to run on: de-federalizing schools

When he ran for president in 2008, Barack Obama promised he would transform America.

In that sense, Obama is one of the most successful presidents of all-time, because the America that exists in 2016 looks nothing like the one he inherited in 2008. True, we still have ever-growing mountains of debt and a bitterly divided population like we did back then, but even the once strong binds of American culture has been severed almost irrevocably.

When Obama announced last week he would punish states that would not make provisions to grant “transgender” students the full use of all public school facilities of their choosing (bathrooms, locker rooms, etc…), he inadvertently handed Donald Trump another winning political issue: de-federalizing schools.

David French of National Review writes it’s time to ditch the federal government’s role in local schools. “States should consider rejecting federal education funding entirely (Texas is considering doing just that).

“At the very least, charter schools should be completely disentangled — and not just from public employees’ unions but also from federal funds (in order to insulate them from federal influence); voucher systems should be dramatically expanded — giving every family the option to spend their share of tax dollars at the school of their choice; and private institutions and philanthropists should step up to provide needed funding. Indeed, private citizens don’t have to wait for government reform. Scholarship funds can expand the ranks of tuition-paying private-school students immediately, and coalitions of churches can provide substantial support for their communities’ best private schools.”

The most leftist president in history just can’t resist the temptation to destroy every last foundation of American society in favor of his LGBT constituency (about 5 percent of the population), so a large part of “Making America Great Again” for Trump would involve allowing the vast majority of people in the country to feel empowered in fighting back against this tyranny.

By de-federalizing schools, even the most extremely liberal local school districts could still adhere to such Obama policies if they choose. But objecting parents in those districts would have a choice on where to send their kids to school – and given the possibility of competing, all sorts of “traditional” schools would sprout up like mushrooms in springtime.

Citizens would have a much larger say in who teaches their kids and whether they want potential predators kept out of their gender separated school facilities. Political correctness be damned – Uncle Sam, we don’t need you making sure gender confused people have a comfortable place to relieve themselves.

Donald Trump was given a gift of epic proportions with this latest dictate from Obama. Now we have to see if he’ll act on it by making de-federalizing schools a central point of his campaign.

Does a “suggestion” from Donald Trump equate to a normal politician’s promise?

Everyone knows by now Donald Trump considers himself to be a master negotiator. Therefore, whatever view he expresses on an issue could be his heartfelt belief, but it also could be the starting point for negotiations to try and bring two or more sides together to “make great deals.”

The problem many conservatives had with Trump’s apparent flexibility on principles was evident in the primary campaign, and now that Trump has apparently won the Republican nomination, the uneasiness continues.

In his latest bit of verbal inconsistency, Trump says you can’t really take anything he says as a promise.

Nick Gass of Politico reports, “Calling into ‘Fox & Friends,’ his final television hit of the morning, Trump was asked by co-host Brian Kilmeade about the response to his comment that his Muslim ban was ‘just a suggestion.’

“’Yeah. It was a suggestion. Look, anything I say right now, I'm not the president,’ Trump said. ‘Everything is a suggestion, no matter what you say, it's a suggestion.’”

So when does a campaign statement from Trump turn into a promise as opposed to just a “suggestion?”

Trump has used awful strong language in the past to describe some of the things he’d do as president, probably the most colorful being the “beautiful wall” he’ll construct along the southern border to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

If Trump’s wall is merely a “suggestion,” how are the people who voted for him because of the “promise” he made to build it going to feel if it doesn’t come to fruition?

Another way to look at Trump’s waffling is to see it as just basic honesty. Politicians say things all the time about what they’ll accomplish in office when they know in their hearts that what they’re proposing is either impossible – “I will bring peace to the Middle East” – or politically impractical – “I will cut taxes down to zero.”

Trump’s demonstrated over and over that he’s not well versed in the vernacular of the political realm where people who’ve run for office dozens of times before are used to phrasing things in non-“suggestion” form.

Maybe he needs to say, it was a strong “suggestion.” Would that make it better?

Ben Carson hints at Trump’s short list for running mate

Finally today, speculation continues as to whom Donald Trump will choose to run on his ticket this fall against Hillary Clinton and her hand-picked partner for the Democrats.

Little is known about Trump’s criteria for selecting a potential vice president, so it’s up to surrogates to reveal what he might be thinking about this far in advance of July’s Republican convention.

Kyle Balluck of The Hill sheds a little light on the subject. “Ben Carson says in a new interview that former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is being considered as presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate, along with a host of the real estate mogul’s former challengers.

“Carson told The Washington Post that Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), Sarah Palin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ‘are all people on our list.’”

In another piece of news that should put conservatives’ fears to rest that Trump will make a sound decision on his VP choice, controversial Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is reportedly heading up the search for The Donald’s running mate.

Okay, the “put conservatives’ fears to rest” part was tongue-in-cheek, in case you’re wondering. If the strong-armed Lewandowski is running the VP review committee, the process probably involves some sort of polygraph machine and coercive tactics.

I find it interesting that Carson would include Ted Cruz’s name on the potential running mate list. I suppose it’s perfunctory to say Trump’s closest rival is being given consideration, but would Trump really be daring enough to run alongside Cruz after all that’s happened between them?

It would be one way to show conservatives he is serious about governing, that’s for sure.

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constitution party

I know the Constitution party is running Darrell Castle for President and Scott Bradley for Vice President. See constitution
I want to vote my conscience and not party. Will we answer to God on how we voted for a person who believes in abortion? Donald Trump likes Planned Parenthood so it is really hard to vote for him. Will he make many deals with Democrats? Can we really control Donald Trump? We can stop Hillary but can we stop Donald when they go against what we want.

Don't fear Lewandowski

Having worked with him on a variety of events, including a tenth amendment convention, I can testify that Corey's policy outlook is indeed conservative.
I would feel much more comfortable with Lewandowski setting the criteria for VP than Ben Carson, who is subject to random flights of fancy.

Many of us here would be thrilled with Cruz as VP, but it's a stretch after all the name-calling.

Before her rather strange endorsement speech for The Donald, I would have thought Palin a great choice, too - somebody to take on the corruption without flinching.

Ultimately, the question comes down to "Will Trump hire 'A's for his team?"
Strong evidence of that will bring a lot of people on board.

Surrender to Whom?

Mr Rendall's comments, like sirens beckoning sailors to their death, sounds like the voice of sweet reason. But to whom are we really surrendering when we surrender to the "reality" of Trump? That's what principled conservatives and people of conscience need to think about long and hard.

Speaking of principles, here are a few from God's Book: Shall we do evil that good may come? A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Touch not the unclean thing. Make no friendship with an angry man, and have nothing to do with a furious man, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul. Do not cast your pearls before swine. Etc.

I well understand that these directives apply largely to our interpersonal relations. But they are not without application to our political choices, either. They teach us that you cannot touch the fire of Trumpism and hope to avoid getting burned.

To whom then do you surrender? You surrender to God, righteousness, truth, and principle. You do the right thing no matter what, and leave the consequences to the High King of heaven and earth--who can raise up presidents from the stones if he is so inclined.

I do, however, agree with Mr. Rendall that we need a leader, likely a respected Someone from within the Republican establishment; someone who, with no evident self-interest, would call upon the delegates at the convention to do their duty before God and man, reject the manifestly unfit Trump, and give us a nominee loyal to traditional Republican principles and the party platform. Moreover, this leader would call upon Republicans everywhere to contact their delegates and urge them, for the sake for principle and the future well-being of our country, to give us a truly worthy candidate.

The poet wrote, "These are the times that try men's souls." I am absolutely appalled at how many men are failing the test of our time and profoundly damaging their souls; men who long ago should have risen up to lead us out of this ethical morass, educated and rebuked the thoughtless followers of Trump and his enablers, and called us to do the right thing by rejecting so unworthy a candidate and deciding upon a decent, competent, conservative to lead our nation in the dangerous days ahead.

But as we learned from the Reagan era, such leaders are, in fact, a gift of God. Therefore, let us all search our hearts to see we are worthy of one; and then, even if we find that we are not, let us pray that in mercy and grace He might give us one anyway.

Surrender? Nonsense. Advocate.

While praying is certainly a strategy that can do little harm, I fear that limiting ones effort to such is most likely to lead us to the same outcome as a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.

The reason a large percentage of new restaurants fail within a year or two is not just because the owners are incompetent or poorly funded, but because they are founded by owners with a customer mentality instead of an owner mentality... they want to own a restaurant like the one they always wanted to patronize. Everything on the menu is just they way they would like to have it if they were the customer, and they are mystified when they discover months and hundreds of thousands of life savings later that few people have exactly the same taste. If they are smart, they "surrender" and hire a professional restaurateur and give him or her the freedom to "bastardize" the menu and atmosphere in a way that appeals to a maximum number of patrons and not just one.

Hard conservatives, just as hard liberals, believe that the menu of their dreams should appeal to everybody else as well, and if not there is something wrong with them that must be fixed, or at least lectured to. While there may be enough folks on both sides to keep private establishments afloat, the problem is that America, especially when it comes to Federal governance is a single establishment where most folks eat in the main dining area, staunch conservatives may have their own banquet room and the liberals hang out in the bar or bathroom... but there is only one kitchen and one menu for all. The majority of the patrons eat in the main dining hall, they range from very conservative to very liberal, and the main hall is what primarily defines the atmosphere and keeps the establishment viable.

Conservatives usually want more choices on the menu with a wider range of price and quality regardless whether they personally like or want them all, whereas liberals don't want anything on the menu they themselves cannot afford or that they personally consider harmful to themselves, animals or the environment... if they don't like or cannot afford steak they don't want anybody else to eat steak, either. Because there is only one kitchen and practical limits to what provisions can be stored and prepared, accommodation must be made or the atmosphere becomes unpleasant for all, and it is least pleasant when all negotiation devolves to victory and surrender on every menu item. But America is a melting pot and big issues worth fighting over will result in much tension, joy and heartbreak for the activists within us.

But here's the problem... the mechanism by which menu and background music choices are made is via a political process that overwhelmingly divides liberals and conservatives into two parties with a range of ideology that includes more liberal Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and more conservative Democrats like the late Ed Koch. That's what's in the main hall... comparatively few of the Republicans spend all their time in the banquet room discussing the Constitution and the same goes for alcoholic Democrats using it to roll reefers in the bathroom. A two party system, just as having two opposing advocates in a trial court instead of, say five advocates representing "Guilty", "Innocent but make an example", "Innocent", "Guilty but don't punish" and "No controlling legal authority", has proved over time to be the best way to distill important decisions down to the most relevant arguments.

I grew up in a very staunch, old Pennsylvania Republican household where ketchup, "truck driver food" was not allowed on the table. Judge Smails... er, Dad, a Princeton alum sarcastically told us not to worry about not going to college because "the world needs ditch diggers, too". I never did, but instead did very well in medical equipment sales where in years spent on the road I had many plates of steak and eggs at truck stops in the wee hours, me in my suit chatting with my fellow Americans in their overalls. I grew to love and admire these folks who get up early every day and bust their butts, and found that virtually all of them, few who studied Constitutional law, for the most part lived and were grounded by constitutional ideals despite all the misinformation and distortion they may have been subjected to.

And why not? They are Americans, and our unique culture reflects the Constitution, the contract the people made with their government so many generations ago. But just as with faith, there is a wide range of followers who practice or live their faith to varying degrees, and the role of their pastors is not to "surrender" to the shortcomings of the flock but to engage, educate and enlighten. A 50% believer always has a better chance for redemption within the flock and exposed to the message than without, and when I hear elitist pundits talking about the unwashed, "uneducated" masses out there supporting the man who "the only thing he has going for him is a lot of votes" it makes me puke.

The way I see it, the #nevertrumpers should view this not as surrender, but a time of great opportunity to advance their principles and ideology. Trump is cruising the main dining hall attracting millions from the dark side, not just passing down tablets from the editorial staff at National Review... that's been going on for years and where has it gotten us? What is needed is not the high priests of conservatism trailing behind him with a megaphone lamenting the human and ideological sins of the popular evangelist but instead reaching out to his followers and showing them how the future will be even better for them once they join the flock and listen to more sermons.

So, to all you conservative priests out there, I want you to get up. I want you to get up right now. I want you to go put your head out the window... (oops, wrong Mad Prophet) I want you to get up from your banquet room table, I want you to wander into the main dining room, I want you to sit down next to that coal miner, truck driver or roustabout. Engage with him... eat HIS food, listen to HIS problems, shoot HIM in the belly. When you put your hand in a pile of goo that used to be your best friends face... you'll know what to do. You'll know what to do.

That is all.