Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Ed Kilgore thinks Reince Priebus can't possibly win another term as Republican chair:
... you get the sense Priebus is going through the motions, sure to be replaced the next time his party reaches a resting point. To the Trump and Cruz partisans dominating the GOP presidential nominating context, Priebus is the face of the hated Republican Establishment, eyeing their presidential candidates with bad intent and doing what he can to set the stage for a stab in the back in Cleveland or soon thereafter.... But to anti-Trump and anti-Cruz Republicans, Priebus is an empty suit babbling about party unity when he should be taking a stand.

... No matter who finally claims the tarnished prize in Cleveland, it's hard to imagine Priebus will be kept around unless it's to serve as a scapegoat if things go south.
Obviously, this prediction seems plausible; if Kilgore is right, I won't be surprised. But look at it another way: Right now, many people expoect Donald Trump to win the Republican presidential nomination and then lead the GOP to a horrible defeat. They think Democrats have an excellent chance of taking the Senate and maybe even the House. They think the GOP will be split for a generation. They think there could be riots at the convention if Trump isn't nominated (or, hell, even if he is).

But with all these predictions of gloom, what if the following happens? Cruz is nominated on the second ballot and loses to Hillary Clinton by roughly the margin by which he's losing to her now -- 3 points. There's only a little turbulence at the convention because Trumpites are intimidated by the Cleveland cops and their $20 million worth of riot gear. The House is so well rigged for the Republicans that the Democrats can't come close to winning it, and incumbent Republican senators hang on in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Ohio while Democrats don't pick strong enough candidates for open seats in Nevada and Florida, so the Senate stays Republican, too.

If all that happens -- and I don't see why it couldn't -- Reince Priebus's GOP is going to look as if it escaped from a flaming wreck with only minor injuries. So why couldn't he save his job?

Almost more dispiriting than that is the fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz will probably save her job, too, under these circumstances. She will have elected a president! The Democrats will have won three in a row, the first time they've done that since 1948! Never mind the fact that a year ago everyone assumed that would happen, and never mind the fact that the victory will have come against a party that nearly blew itself up, and never mind the fact that Congress will still be in the GOP's hands. She'll get a pass, too.

Am I saying that this insane presidential campaign might end calmly and with very little upheaval? Yes. And in this and other ways, that could be kind of awful.


Jeff Ryan said...

Hmm. Some unspoken assumptions here.

First, what makes you think Priebus wants to keep his job? Woulld you? Why? He can toddle off to a mega-paying job in a RWNJ think tank or, maybe even punditland.

Second, do you really suppose that once a general election is run, that Cruz will be able to come within even five points of Clinton? 10? This guy is Goldwater without the charm. The electorate barely knows him now. Wait until the campaign - he'll be annihilated.

Ken_L said...

Ed's argument was that the party chair position is in the gift of the presidential candidate, and neither Cruz nor Trump would reappoint Priebus. I've no idea if he's right, but the argument is independent of the actual election result.

Jeff Ryan said...

I don't see how that changes anything. In any Cruz-wins-nom scenario, then, Cruz would have to reappoint Priebus for the post to make sense.

Feud Turgidson said...

We're not the judges. The folks who make the call are 1. the new president, whichever party wins the White House, has at least veto power (tho certainly neither of the last two Dem presidential nominees were all that exercised over who would chair the D party; 2. the party's national board; 3. the biggest of the party's donor class; 4. state and regional party apparatchiks; 5. ...; 2,329. registered party members. 2,330 ... 55,348,926. folks like us.

Gerald Lillpop said...

What if unicorns fly out of my butt.

fqmorris said...

You are continuing to be such a downer...

Steve M. said...

I could say everyone else is celebrating victories (and GOP collapses) that haven't happened yet, and really might not. Depends on your perspective.

I've seen conservatism and the GOP survive Watergate, Iran-contra, the fall of Gingrich, and the failures of two presidents named Bush. The party now holds a greater percentage of elected offices nationwide that at any time in seventy or eighty years. Forgive me if I don't believe Republicans are on their last legs.