The PJ Tatler

Republican Donors to Walker, Rubio and Bush: Boycott the Debate if Trump Participates

The Republican Party’s donors have a brand new idea: let’s boycott those we disagree with! Will they never learn?

I’m no fan of Donald Trump. Not because I think he’s a loudmouth (which he is), or because he’s extremely rude (ditto), but because he ain’t no conservative. Conservative hero Andrew Breitbart (one of my mentors and friends who, sadly, passed away at a very young age, leaving a beautiful family behind), said so years ago, and what he said back then is still true today. Trump is anti-illegal immigration… and that’s just about everything that’s “conservative” about him.

Having said that, the guy naturally has the right to try to win the Republican nomination. It’s up to the base to see through his act and support an actual and reliable conservative. I’m convinced that, in time, they’ll do just that. Yes, some sympathize with him, but they’ll support other candidates when they find out who Trump really is.

This means that those other candidates and the Republican Party’s leadership have to be smart about the way they deal with Trump. The best strategy is to … take him seriously. Yes, even when he’s bullying everybody else and saying outrageous things about them.

You see, Trump’s current popularity isn’t about him, but about conservative anger. Conservative voters are pissed beyond measure: they feel ignored by their party, they believe amnesty for illegal aliens is all but a done deal, and they’re angrier than heck about it. Who can blame them? I know I don’t.

Instead of vilifying Trump, other Republicans have to make clear that they understand conservatives’ anger and concerns. They have to start talking about the issues he has raised — illegal immigration and the crime related to it, first and foremost. That’s why I was glad to see that Senator Ted Cruz did exactly that:

Great, but — sadly — a large part of the GOP’s donor class and establishment don’t quite understand this:

Many national Republican officials are increasingly resigned to Mr. Trump’s looming presence. At a meeting of the Republican Governors Association this week in Aspen, Colo., donors and operatives mused about how to prevent him from hijacking the debate.

One idea that came up was to urge three leading candidates — Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor; Mr. Walker; and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida — to band together and state that they would not participate in any debate in which Mr. Trump was present, using his refusal to rule out a third-party bid as a pretext for taking such a hard line. The thinking, according to a Republican involved in the conversations, was that the lesser-funded prospects who have been eclipsed by Mr. Trump would follow suit, and the TV networks airing the debates would be forced to bar Mr. Trump in order to have a full complement of candidates.

Obviously those other candidates wouldn’t follow suit — why would they? It’d mean more free airtime for them. And, luckily, in the end the campaigns decided not to go along with the idea. Great. However, it’s amazingly — breathtaking, really — stupid that the donors would even suggest this idea. You think that, by ignoring and boycotting Trump and with him a significant part of the party’s base, you’ll actually win the general election? Have these people learned nothing from 2012 and 2008? Mitt Romney and John McCain lost because the conservative base stayed home, not because they had insulted some wishy-washy moderate voters.

With this kind of stupidity at the higher echelons of the party, the Republican Party is set to lose again. Can someone, anyone remove these people from powerful, influential positions?