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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Is Newt Gingrich the key to ending #NeverTrump?

Conservative blogger and radio host Erick Erickson was one of the earliest signees to the #NeverTrump cause, voicing extreme displeasure with Donald Trump’s candidacy long before there was any organized effort to swear off the New York reality TV star’s presidential campaign.

I recall last August when Erickson pulled Trump’s invitation to the influential RedState gathering over the candidate’s “blood from her wherever” comments on Fox News personality Megyn Kelly after the first Republican debate. At the time Erickson said he liked Trump personally but didn’t think what The Donald said Newt Gingrichwas appropriate for the national discourse.

I think most of us agreed Trump went way over the top in dealing with Kelly. Longtime advisor Roger Stone even left the campaign shortly after the incident. Trump’s said a lot of things he shouldn’t have and hasn’t exactly been contrite in taking the utterances back. But reality also says Trump’s the voters’ choice and going to be the official figurehead of the Republican Party in two months.

Erickson certainly hasn’t changed his mind on Trump, but he did see fit to comment on the rumors of Newt Gingrich potentially becoming the presumptive nominee’s running mate. Writing in The Resurgent, Erickson said, “Gingrich is the one guy Trump could pick who would ameliorate a lot of the concerns of the establishment, the donors, and the grassroots…

“…Though Newt has had a rocky relationship of late with some of the GOP Establishment, the man who got the GOP out of the wilderness in 1994 is someone to whom they would not turn up their nose.

“Gingrich would be a smart pick for Trump.”

It almost sounds like Erickson is coming around to the possibility of joining the winning side, though he did double down on his opposition to Trump just the other day. If Erickson’s so adamant against Trump, why is he weighing in on Gingrich as a possible VP choice? Why would he care?

The post was positive sounding, too.

I wonder if Trump made one of his famous overtures to Erickson if the latter would at least consider chiseling out of his #NeverTrump prison cell. Something to consider, I guess.

Or perhaps Erickson is sending a signal that Gingrich would be the key to unification with a portion of the #NeverTrump folks. Trump might not be able to talk them back into the fold, but Gingrich likely could. We’ll have to keep an eye on this one to see how it develops.

Republicans are warming to Donald Trump because he’s the voters’ outsider of choice

As I look back to early March (after Super Tuesday) when the Republican primary race was at full speed and tensions were at their highest between the respective forces behind Donald Trump and the rest of the field, I wondered whether anything could possibly bridge the ever increasing divide between the “outsider” insurgent candidate and everyone else.

These were the early days of #NeverTrump when people stopped talking about Marco Rubio as the “candidate to beat” and started realizing that Ted Cruz was the only competitor who had a chance to best Trump. The effort to consolidate behind Cruz was in its infant stages and truthfully, never fully got off the ground.

At about the time when Rubio ceased making fun of Trump’s hands and hair, tensions seemed to calm a bit. I thought maybe unity would again be possible, especially if Cruz were to pull ahead of Trump and eventually take the nomination.

Rubio then pulled out of the race after Florida, John Kasich stayed in for no recognizable reason and Trump let fly with his vile vindictive tirade against Heidi Cruz. Ted responded by taking the gloves off against Trump and it looked then like the wounds would never heal.

Fast forward to the present, when Trump looks to secure the nomination with delegates to spare, #NeverTrump has shrunk to a collection of whiney petulant complainers and most Republicans are behind The Donald out of necessity, if not with full-throated enthusiasm.

Cruz hasn’t told us what he’ll do but all signs indicate he will eventually support Trump, even if tepidly.

Ditto for Speaker Paul Ryan. The holdouts are dwindling rapidly.

Eli Stokols of Politico reports, “Having bested 16 Republican primary rivals, Trump now looks competitive in a general election matchup with Hillary Clinton, according to a number of recent polls. Several members of the GOP establishment and its consultant and donor class who led the fight against Trump are now working directly on his behalf, motivated by a desire to win, the prevention of further splintering within their own ranks or the jingle-jangle of their next lucrative contract — and, in some cases, all of the above.

“Take Sen. Lindsey Graham, the also-ran who back in December called Trump a ‘xenophobic, religious bigot’ and said he’d prefer to lose than support Trump but who is now quietly encouraging Republican donors to fall in line behind the nominee. Take former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another former rival who once called Trump a ‘barking carnival act’ and ‘cancer on conservatism’ but is suddenly volunteering himself to serve as his running mate.”

Of course Stokols theorizes Republicans’ change of heart is motivated by either wanting to work for Trump (money), blind party loyalty (we want power) or because Trump has personally reached out to them to say he was sorry (of course, we can only speculate about this).

I think there’s more to Trump’s sudden good favor. Sure, many folks are strictly party people who can’t stomach the notion of Hillary Clinton as the next president. Some want the patronage positions that come along with being part of the party in power. And yes, others appear to have been convinced by overtures from The Donald himself.

But it also appears to me many former anti-Trump Republicans recognized that voters weren’t going to accept the status quo in the party any longer and just meekly rubber-stamp the establishment’s favorite for the nomination this year.

How many times have we been told in the past two decades we had to accept the “electable” candidate who would at the very least run well enough against the Democrat nominee so as to preserve congressional majorities?

We heard the same argument over and over this year as establishmentarians begged conservatives to swear off assisted party suicide and vote to save their own senators and congressmen.

None of it worked.

I honestly believe Republican voters didn’t so much choose Trump this cycle as much as they anointed whomever they saw as the greatest departure from official Washington. Ideology be damned – the people went big-time for an unconventional candidate who spoke in non- politically correct terms about fixing the country’s immigration woes, staying out of expensive and costly wars and making our “allies” pay their fair share.

You know, the things that would help in “Making America Great Again”.

The establishment was horrified at the concept of Japan and South Korea developing nuclear weapons to defend their own countries against North Korea, but apparently the voters seemed okay with it.

They saw in Trump a man who wouldn’t just smile nicely for the cameras when meeting with foreign leaders, then whisper things like “I’ll have more flexibility after the election” when he thinks no one is able to hear. Instead, they see Trump sitting across the table and demanding that foreigners bend to Americans’ will, not the other way around.

If anything, Republican and conservative voters chose Trump because he’s everything Mitt Romney and John McCain were not. Ted Cruz was definitely the most principled candidate in the race this year, but not even he could match Trump’s “outsider” status.

Trump’s reaching out to former rivals has also certainly helped his cause. He’s shown he’ll run a Republican administration with a little different style.

After all this time, maybe that’s what’s needed.

#NeverTrump still isn’t sold, but it looks like a good many people are onboard. For better or worse, Donald Trump will be the nominee and Republicans recognize it, even if they’re unwilling to say his name. That’s a fact that can’t be changed…and voters approve.

If Trump names Cabinet members ahead of the election, he might be breaking the law

Donald Trump’s overtures to conservatives might be going beyond phone calls, providing a list of potential Supreme Court nominees and delivering conservative policy speeches. Some have said he’s considering naming people he would appoint to his Cabinet if elected president, too.

Such an action would certainly have dramatic effect, a perfect move for Trump the showman.

Tim Alberta writes in National Review, “Trump, who is currently vetting vice-presidential candidates, has already said he will announce his running mate at the convention in mid-July. But sources say the presumptive GOP nominee has also quietly begun reaching out to potential cabinet secretaries, with the possible aim of introducing his future appointments to key administration posts — including Attorney General, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and Treasury Secretary — at the convention.

“There’s just one problem: It might be illegal.”

Illegal, really? I thought that had to be a mistake, but the language of the federal statute in question (Title 18, Chapter 29, Section 599 of the U.S. Code) is fairly clear. It’s against the law to offer the promise of a future federal office in exchange for support in an election.

There are lots of ways to look at the law and Alberta makes it clear no one has ever been prosecuted under it. But the fact it hangs over Trump’s big “show” must give some pause to his campaign team as to the lengths they’ll be willing to go in order to achieve dramatic effect for his “greatest convention on earth.”

Knowing Trump, he’ll push the limits and go ahead and name his people if he feels it will help him win in November. There isn’t a list that will satisfy everyone, but he could earn an awful lot of goodwill with a number of Republican constituencies by naming the right people. Personnel is policy, right?

As is true with everything related to Trump, it will be fascinating to see how he handles this potential dilemma.

Rubio rues his handling of “Marco Roboto” moment in New Hampshire

Finally today, with Donald Trump now firmly in control of the Republican presidential nomination, there’s a fair amount of speculation from some individuals as to how things might have turned out differently but for certain events.

For Marco Rubio, all roads point to New Hampshire and his exchange with Chris Christie during the ABC News debate a few days before the critical early primary.
 
Nick Gass of Politico reports, “Seeking to dispel the notion that his robotic utterances in the run-up to the New Hampshire primary alone doomed the trajectory of his campaign, Marco Rubio pointed to his decision to quarrel with Chris Christie over the point of his repeated lines on the debate stage rather than let it go.

“’I think if we had made a strategic decision in New Hampshire different from the one I made — which was not to engage with Chris Christie, but to try to just ignore it and just stay on message — that would have been a nothing,’ the Florida senator said in an interview with the Guardian published Tuesday.”

They say hindsight is always 20-20 and in this case it’s definitely true. Rubio may think disengaging with Christie at that moment would have made all the difference, but who’s to say Christie would have allowed him to get away so easily?

It likely would have made only 3-4 points of difference in the New Hampshire outcome. Instead of finishing fifth, Rubio might have crawled up to third. Big deal. Ted Cruz finished third and it didn’t help him much in South Carolina a week and a half later.

I find it hard to believe anyone would see today’s situation any differently had “Marco Roboto” failed to materialize. He was still the same candidate and he still would have lost Florida badly to Trump.

Don’t we all wish we could just go back?

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Newt Gingrich

Four years ago when Newt Gingrich ran for president I supported him based on one issue, he wanted to make English the national language. He got hammered from all sides and his candidacy did not take off, well it did take off to the land obscurity.
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Three and a half years later many Americans are ready to have the knock down dragged out fight about immigration and what it is doing to our country.
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So I believe if Trump chooses Newt Gingrich as his Vice President it would go a long way to winning the election.
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If Trump chooses someone like kasich or rubio to oppose Trump on his immigration policies it would only prove that Trump is not serious about securing the border, building the wall and stopping immigration until we can get our own house in order.
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If Trump chooses someone who opposes his positions on the border, the wall and immigration I will not vote for him.

Gingrich Cruz

Gingrich or Cruz would be excellent political picks in terms of healing the republican split, and also in terms of having a serious fighter going out to wage war as the Veep candidate. While Gingrich has far more legislative experience than Cruz, Ted Cruz was no slouch when it came to leading by writing legislation.

Will Trump pick either one? Neither brings a state that probably isn't already going republican, so there's no delegate bump in a blue/purple state. Cruz is Hispanic. Gingrich can tell Hillary she's nuts when she takes credit for an economy that clearly rebounded due to the contract with America and not because of Clinton.

I would be delighted with either one.

Marco Roboto was doomed anyway

That moment when he walked smack into Christie's buzz-saw would eventually pale beside Christie's deer in the headlights act on Trump's stage, but it was a perfect illustration of talking points getting control of the candidate, instead of the other way around, and was the icing on the cake after his lies about amnesty.
James Taranto said it best in his Bye-Kus...

For Christie:
Mr. Roboto
Domo Arigato. I’m
A kamikaze

And Rubio:
No AI breakthrough
A political machine
Failed the Turing test

I illustrated the damage here: http://granitegrok.com/blog/2016/02/robotic-rubio-reamed-in-debate