News & Politics

The Magical Thinking of the Dump-Trump Crowd

Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. As harrowing a prospect as that might be for some of us, the reality is that Trump can’t be stopped. He needs a mere 43% of the remaining delegates up for grabs to get to 1237 and a first-ballot victory. Given that he is far ahead in California, a state that awards the winner of its primary all 170 of its delegates, the Golden State will almost certainly put Trump over the top if he wins there.

So what is George Will talking about here? Will penned a column with the curious title “If Trump is nominated, the GOP must keep him out of the White House,” which is about as incoherent as Will has ever been.

Were he to be nominated, conservatives would have two tasks. One would be to help him lose 50 states — condign punishment for his comprehensive disdain for conservative essentials, including the manners and grace that should lubricate the nation’s civic life. Second, conservatives can try to save from the anti-Trump undertow as many senators, representatives, governors and state legislators as possible.

This is magical thinking. So conservatives should work to give the Democrats all 50 states and “try to save” as many down-ballot candidates as possible? But earlier in the column, Will informed us that ticket splitting was rare in recent elections:

Ticket splitting is becoming rare in polarized America: In 2012, only 5.7 percent of voters supported a presidential candidate and a congressional candidate of opposite parties.

How, pray tell, are conservatives to “save” good candidates if they’re working to elect a Democratic president?

If Trump is nominated, Republicans working to purge him and his manner from public life will reap the considerable satisfaction of preserving the identity of their 162-year-old party while working to see that they forgo only four years of the enjoyment of executive power. Six times since 1945 a party has tried, and five times failed, to secure a third consecutive presidential term. The one success — the Republicans’ 1988 election of George H.W. Bush — produced a one-term president. If Clinton gives her party its first 12 consecutive White House years since 1945, Republicans can help Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, or someone else who has honorably recoiled from Trump, confine her to a single term.

Just one question for Will: Who will be doing the purging after the election? The pro- or anti-Trump camp?

I sympathize with Will regarding Trump’s toxic effect on political discourse. But if he’s going to get the nomination — and he is — why should conservatives work to bring about the exact catastrophe that the writer is warning against?

Trump has apparently made George Will incoherent. And the rest of the #nevertrunp crowd isn’t far behind.