Many Republicans have awakened after a winter of not paying much attention to politics only to discover that billionaire reality TV host Donald Trump is on the verge of capturing the GOP nomination. What went from slightly amusing months and weeks ago has turned into terror and dread. I can tell you the private reaction of about every GOP strategist I know is, “we will be the laughingstock of the entire world by November.”
There is a way for Republicans to get out from under this mess. It’s not easy. Getting yourself out of a big mess never is. But it’s doable IF…
- Republicans must donate money, time and resources NOW to John Kasich and Ted Cruz in upcoming states where they are likely to do well. Many states have proportional delegates, that means even if Trump wins a majority of votes in the state, he won’t get all the delegates. He needs 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination. Once that happens this plan is over. He cannot be denied after he clinches. So the goal for the anti-Trump forces now is for Kasich and Cruz to pick up delegates and prevent Trump from achieving the magic number. And, while we’re at it, he needs to be way under. Like below 1,100 delegates. If he’s close to the magic number and is denied the nomination you could still have a nasty floor fight on your hands. So everyone who has chips must play them now and keep him as far below 1,237 as possible.
- When Trump arrives at the convention with the most delegates, but not enough to clinch, all hatchets must be buried and all egos must be put aside. If you don’t want him to be the Republican nominee leading the ticket in the fall you must have a consensus candidate. Period. No Ted Cruz. No Marco Rubio. No John Kasich. All failed candidates must unite, but not push their own agenda. Hoping the Trump delegates will magically switch to one of his challengers is a unicorns and rainbows optimism that fails to respect party politics. No, there has to be ONE consensus alternative.
- The strongest consensus name in the Republican Party today is Paul Ryan. The man who has already been through a national campaign as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Without question. He is the George Washington of 2016. I know he says he doesn’t want to be the presidential nominee. Bullshit. Pardon my language. This is the man who insisted he didn’t want to be Speaker. And now he’s Speaker. Ryan has wanted to be president 100 percent more than he ever wanted to be Speaker. He’ll do it. Turn to him. Only Ryan can unite the troops and beat Trump on a second ballot.
Sending Paul Ryan into battle this fall will shield Republican candidates across the country, from congressional to state to local. In addition, I believe Ryan could beat Hillary Clinton in the battlegrounds – Ohio, Florida, Virginia. So if Republicans unite now and start working on this plan they might not only save the reputation of their party…but just might elect a president along the way.