By: Guest Writer Chris Antonello
In 2014, the American people made a statement. They said Washington is broken and they’re ready for a change. They elected a majority Republican House and Senate as a means of saying, “we’re frustrated because the federal government isn’t working for us.” The midterm elections added, especially to the Senate, the latest wave of prominent GOP leaders. The conservative movement has been reignited. But something seriously threatens its continuation: the Republican primaries.
How do we continue and expand the conservative movement? It looks like about one-third of the electorate think the populist, eccentric, foul-mouthed businessman Donald Trump is the only answer. The problem is, the other two-thirds think those people are dead wrong. They think that someone who has no political experience, does not act presidential, and is too extreme in most regards, should not, and cannot, win in November.
What’s at stake in this election? The image of the United States on the world stage. The character of American society. The security of the nation and its resolve against its enemies. Most importantly, the future of the judicial branch hangs in the balance, and therefore, the future of the Constitution and all who live under it. The passing of strict constructionist Justice Antonin Scalia is only, unfortunately, the tip of the iceberg. As many as three more Supreme Court justices are expected to leave their seats vacant at some point over the next four years. We already can see that the Senate will not confirm any of President Obama’s nominations, so this decision will be left to the forty-fifth president.
How do we get to the next president? Let’s start at November 8, 2016. If Trump is the nominee, we swallow our pride and vote for him. We watch the results, and see that the Electoral College never gave him a chance to defeat Hillary Clinton. The only states that would support him are the more rural ones, which, of course, have fewer electoral votes than the more urban ones, which would undoubtedly support Clinton over Trump. The numbers simply aren’t there for him. If Hillary Clinton wins, we won’t just get “four more years of Obama.” A twelve-year Obama presidency is more than enough to change the face of the United States. Permanently. Especially with those Supreme Court nominations, the meaning of the Constitution will be changed for a generation or more.
Now, if we don’t want to elect Hillary, we have to change the nature of the GOP primary race. Most will agree that it has become a three-man battle: Trump, Cruz, and Rubio.
That brings us to our first obstacle: between Cruz and Rubio, only one can survive. They have their differences, but their campaigns are pretty similar (young freshmen Senators; aided by the TEA Party movement; of Cuban descent; want to grow the conservative movement). The Cruz campaign is in hot water for its multiple accusations of dirty tricks. Almost every day, someone accuses him of lying. It seems that firing his spokesman was not enough to restore the trust that people once had in Cruz. But he has a much bigger problem. In South Carolina, a state where Cruz was supposed to win big, especially with the evangelical demographic, he came in third. Donald Trump has stolen that sector of the electorate from Cruz, the sector he was banking on taking him all the way to the nomination. To add insult to injury, it seems that everybody and his brother has flocked to Rubio and not Cruz. Nate Silver’s “endorsement primary” puts Rubio miles ahead of Cruz for this race. So the question for Cruz is, how long can his campaign survive after Super Tuesday, especially if he can only win Texas, where he has a home field advantage?
The smaller, but even more important, issues with this race are Ohio Governor John Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson. It’s pretty obvious to everyone except them that they will not win the nomination. But together, they take up a sizable percentage of support (nearly 20% nationally) that would otherwise go to Rubio or Cruz. This bodes extremely well for Trump; he has proven to have a high floor of dedicated supporters, but his ceiling is not much higher. In a first-past-the-post system, he benefits from a party that can’t coalesce around one alternative. It is generally expected that most of Jeb(!)’s former supporters will, maybe begrudgingly, settle for Marco Rubio, but that may not be enough to push him to the head of the pack, at least in Nevada. Rubio seems to have become the favored Trump alternative, plus many Kasich and Carson supporters would choose him as their second choice; for the Kasich folks, Trump is too wild and Cruz too conservative; the Carson voters may have, at one time, chosen Cruz as their second choice, but that’s less likely now that he’s threatened Ben to get out of the race and lied to voters that he dropped out back in Iowa.
If Trump becomes the Republican nominee, he will lose the general election, and the conservative movement will end. It will take a generation to restore the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and self-determination to this republic. And you can blame it on the gigantic egos of one karate-chopping governor and one (re)tired pediatric neurosurgeon.
So, I’m calling on all conservatives across the nation to do what they can to change the nature of this race, and change it fast. Be realistic and don’t choose Kasich or Carson. In fact, you should directly contact their campaigns and tell them to quit immediately. Then, make your choice wisely between the remaining two conservatives. If we don’t stop the Trump train, it will be too late for conservatives to return Washington to the people.The