Friday, May 06, 2016

THE ESTABLISHMENT GOP PLAYS ITS USUAL LONG GAME (AND HILLARY THINKS SHE'S GET TO KICK THE FOOTBALL)

Donald Trump fans who've been bracing themselves for a stab in the back from the Republican Establishment are getting just what they expected:
House Speaker Paul Ryan said he's "just not ready" to support Trump, becoming the highest elected Republican official to raise concerns about Trump since he became the party's likely standard-bearer this week....

CNN reached out to 16 Republican elected officials, leaders and major fundraisers associated with former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Speaking on background, none of them said they were planning to go to this summer's Republican convention....

2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney declared he'd skip the convention, joining at least three prior Republican nominees -- John McCain and both Presidents Bush -- in declining to attend the event....

Looming over it all is the prospect of a third-party campaign by a conservative intent on hewing closer to traditional Republican principles than Trump.

[Erick] Erickson, the conservative blogger, told CNN -- without naming them -- that members of Congress have joined influential Republican members of the #NeverTrump movement in seeking out a candidate.

"Planning is continuing for a third party," he said.
Bill Kristol may still be hoping that Mitt Romney will run third-party, but the plans for that third-party campaign seem to be centering on Gary Johnson, the eccentric former New Mexico who's likely to be on the ballot already as the Libertarian Party candidate. Putting a little establishment GOP muscle behind Johnson isn't going to tip the race into the House -- it just might deplete Trump's vote total a bit more and give Hillary Clinton an even bigger victory. That seems to be the likely outcome of all this Republican refusenik activity.

Clinton's reaction? Well, it's disturbing -- and also naive:
Hillary Clinton’s supporters in recent days have been making a furious round of calls to top Bush family donors to try to convince them that she represents their values better than Donald Trump, multiple sources in both parties told POLITICO.

The moves come as Clinton and the Democratic Party try to take advantage of deep unease among establishment Republicans on Wall Street and elsewhere with Trump’s emergence as the presumptive Republican nominee....

Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin did not deny the calls were happening. “There's no official outreach from the campaign but I would not be at all surprised if our supporters are doing it on their own.”
Billmon thinks this is a slick sellout of Democratic voters:



Well, if that's the plan, I think the Clintonites are in for a surprise. Maybe some of the donors will give to the Clinton campaign. But ten minutes after Trump concedes, D.C. Republicans will turn on Clinton, exactly the way they turned on Obama just after he was elected. The GOP right won't be marginalized -- it's going to be all hands on deck as Republicans freeze Clinton out and work hard to make her a one-term president.

(And no, a Sanders victory would make no difference, because marginalization is exactly what his fate would have been.)

Ryan and the other refuseniks are writing off the top of the ticket for this year. For this year, they want to sell an Establishment message to persuadable voters who are turned off by Trump. The hope is that angry voters will vote GOP downballot in solidarity with Trump and non-crazy voters will vote GOP in solidarity with the Ryan refuseniks.

And then, soon enough, the party hopes that everyone will forget the whole Trump thing and remember that they all really, really hate Hillary Clinton. She's being teed up to be the embodiment of evil in a thousand attack ads in 2018 and 2020. To fight back, she's going to have to learn that there won't be any grand bargains, and she'll have to grind out any policy wins the hard way -- precisely what Barack Obama learned.

Or maybe we'll luck out and the Two Faces of Republicanism strategy won't prevent a congressional bloodbath. But in any case, Republicans won't play nice once this election is over. They never do.

9 comments:

AllieG said...

The search for defectors is pretty SOP in the early stage of a general election campaign, particularly in this case before the party has rallied around its nominee. Trump, in his own style is trying to woo Sanders voters, too. I can't imagine anyone whose experience would leave them with fewer illusions about Washington Republicans (as opposed to donors and voters) than H. Clinton.

Victor said...

Appealing to the Bush's!
FTW!

If Hillary is elected, we can all hope that she'll serve as Obama's 3rd and 4th terms.

My fear is that she'll serve as a 4th Bush term - and maybe a 5th.

And yeah, the GOP won't go quietely into the dark night, even if she does perform like a Bush...

Yastreblyansky said...

Note the Politico piece is mostly about money people, for whom it's normal to spend on both parties, just as Trump himself has always done. And the way they try to suggest that Clinton herself could be involved is pretty roundabout and not very assertive.

One person close to Clinton said supporters of the former secretary of state drew up a list of Wall Street donors who supported Jeb Bush and other unsuccessful Republican candidates months ago but wanted to wait until Trump locked down the nomination before beginning to make the calls.
“When you think about it there is no downside to making these calls, including for Hillary herself to make then,” this person said.


I suspect some of what's afoot here is more standard Politico drama-creating mischief than anything else.

Ten Bears said...

"Disturbing"? ROTFLMAO

Pragmatic Idealist said...

If you read Trump's comments about how the national debt should be bigger because if the US falls on hard times it'll just break its contracts to pay, can easily understand that Hillary as Obama 2 is MUCH to be preferred by many business people.

Lawrence said...

Gary Johnson. I love it. He's probably still poling eight points behind Deez Nutz.

Tengrain said...

Nice analysis, I think you nailed it. If a Democratic Presidency occurs, no matter what, the GOP will declare it to be illegitimate. It's tribal and reflexive.

As for the GOP Establishment: the only constituency that they serve is Multinational Corporate America. If the GOP fractures, you can bet that the same people with the same policies will manifest themselves and let the base have the old party. The conservative principles are just a side show, and the movement conservatives (think Jonah) are too dense to see it.

Rgds,

TG

freemansfarm77 said...

To fight back, she's going to have to learn that there won't be any grand bargains, and she'll have to grind out any policy wins the hard way -- precisely what Barack Obama learned."

Um, I think if anyone on Planet Earth knows the truth about the Republicans it is Hillary Clinton. That, to me, was the real difference between Clinton and Barack Obama back in '08: President Obama had to "learn" what being on the receiving end of GOP insanity, intransigence, insult and endless "investigations" for 16 years (now it is 24 years) had already taught Hillary Clinton about the chances of bipartisanship and compromise, of "grand bargains," when it comes to the Republicans.

"Republicans won't play nice once this election is over. They never do."

She already knows that.

And Hillary seeking out some GOP funders doesn't change it any. She is hardly likely to be "naive" about the folks who named her "Hitlery," impeached her husband over nothing, opposed every initiative that President Obama presented, shut down the government so many times that it has become routine, accused her of murder, and pored over every phone call she ever made or received, every meeting she attended, every dollar she ever made, every document even tangentially related to her that was ever generated, and every thing she has said, done or not said or not done over the course of a quarter century, in an endless and fruitless attempt to prove serious wrongdoing on her part.

Cirze said...

Your analysis is brilliant. Spot-on, as usual.

With Bernie retiring from the scene as promised, and Hillary advancing toward all sectors, most will concur.

Even David Koch agrees - although his reasoning is a bit different.

Most of us fear the centrist SCOTUS nominees though.

Hope is all we have now?

At least the Bernie run was exciting.

Well, if that's the plan, I think the Clintonites are in for a surprise. Maybe some of the donors will give to the Clinton campaign. But ten minutes after Trump concedes, D.C. Republicans will turn on Clinton, exactly the way they turned on Obama just after he was elected.