The Republican Party’s delicate situation is well documented at this point. The frontrunner was supposed to be former Governor Jeb Bush or maybe even Senator Marco Rubio, both hawkish neoconservatives with an affinity for the police state. Instead, the Party is facing a crisis where the frontrunner is controversial businessman Donald Trump and the only viable opponent is a Texas Senator who is widely disliked by his colleagues.
It really couldn’t get any worse for moderate and establishment Republicans at this point.
Or could it?
It’s been widely discussed to this point that major Republican donors are seeking a third party bid to challenge their own party in the event Donald Trump does win the nomination, as discussed in Undercover Porcupine a month ago. This would have seemed outlandish four years ago, when these same mainstream Republicans were telling conservatives and libertarians that they cannot go third party, because dividing the vote would give us another four years of Barack Obama as President.
Maybe they don’t believe Senator Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is as bad as President Obama?
Statistically, the libertarian voting bloc within the Republican Party has never been large enough to have an impact. The tea party bloc, which is a more conservative element at this point, has some more sway, but not to a groundbreaking degree. This is still a moderate’s party.
So while the argument that devout conservatives and libertarians would divide the vote for Mitt Romney was nothing more than a scare tactic, the idea that an exodus of establishment donors and moderate Republicans would divide the vote is very real. They are the life of the Republican Party.
What happens if Donald Trump wins the nomination? Establishment and moderate Republicans leave the party. What happens if Donald Trump walks into the convention winning, but loses in a brokered situation? Conservatives and libertarians leave the party, as well as many newly registered Republicans who joined to support a candidate they perceive as outside-of-the-box.
All the Republican establishment is doing at this point is preparing for failure.
Because another election storyline involving the Republican Party is that of Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s appointee to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Since before Judge Garland was revealed as the official pick, Senate Republicans have led a crusade to oppose any nomination and refuse to even have hearings.
Given President Obama is widely seen as a member of the fringe left, it was logical to assume he’d pick a fringe left candidate to tilt the balance of the Supreme Court. While hardly conservative, Judge Garland is not what any expected and it was a well-played maneuver by the President.
Opposing Judge Garland seems like a no-brainer for the base, because if the Republican Party wins big this general election, they can appoint their own right wing Justice and swing the balance their way.
The only problem here is that the Republican Party, as previously noted, is working to undermine the frontrunner for it’s own presidential nomination. This is where the strategy makes no sense for the party. It’s opposing Judge Garland in order to leave the nomination for the next President. At the same time, the Republican Party is attempting to undermine what appears to be their likely candidate for the Presidency.
Does the Republican establishment prefer a Hillary Clinton or Senator Bernie Sanders Supreme Court nominee over Judge Merrick Garland?