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Presidential Horse Race 2016: #NeverTrump’s convention mutiny is destined to fail

It goes without saying that I’ve been hard on the leaders of the #NeverTrump movement in the past couple months, questioning their arguments, their judgment and at times, regretfully doubting their personal integrity.

Sometimes we must take a step back and remember that healthy disagreement among colleagues is a good thing and often leads to increased wisdom on all sides. It’s a lesson I relearned during a recent trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, the birthplace of American liberty. The Founding Fathers certainly didn’t agree on every Mutinyaspect of the quest for Independence, but in the end, fostered an admirable unity that’s resulted in well over 200 years of freedom for Americans.

#NeverTrump is entitled to their opinions and the means to express them.

I will actually give them credit for something, too – they don’t give up.

That being said, it’s hard to comprehend some of the downright odd things they’re calling for these days, less than a week ahead of the opening of the Republican Convention in Cleveland.

As an example, Erick Erickson of The Resurgent wrote yesterday, “Delegates to the Republican National Convention need to stand up for common sense and stand up for their party. Keeping Donald Trump as the nominee of the party will lead to Hillary Clinton’s election. We must stop that at all costs, which means the delegates must go to Cleveland and prepare to fight against Trump at all costs. They must demand a vote for conscience on the Rules Committee, reject his vice presidential nominee, loudly boo references to Trump, and abstain from casting their vote for Trump.

“The only way to explain Donald Trump’s behavior since May is to view him as intentionally trying to help Hillary Clinton get elected. And we must not let that happen.”

In essence, Erickson is encouraging convention delegates to accept the hypothesis that Trump is surreptitiously working on behalf of the Clintons, toss the rules of order out the window to oust Donald Trump and then take matters into their own hands by choosing a completely new nominee, all while making a vociferous stink in the process (yes, Erickson did ask for loud boos).

#NeverTrump is calling for a modern day mutiny.

I agree that in theory, Republican delegates could do all of these things next week…but I’m guessing they won’t. By suggesting anarchy should reign at the convention, Erickson believes a positive outcome would be the end result of all this chaos, complete with a fresh party nominee who would preside over remarkable new unity in the GOP and go on to defeat Hillary Clinton.

I give Erickson a lot of credit for his continued creativity, though again, it’s hard to see where it will lead him now that the #NeverTrump crusade is about to come to a crushing conclusion when the 1237th convention delegate votes for Trump to be the Republican nominee next week, as most assuredly will happen.

I haven’t heard of any such groundswell of anti-Trump sentiment among the Republican state delegations to prevent that outcome, only about pockets of resistance that will likely shout a lot but find themselves isolated when they begin to fail and no one comes to their rescue.

The scenario kind of reminds me of that scene near the end of the movie Titanic when “the unsinkable Molly Brown” tries to rally her fellow lifeboat mates to defy the crew and go back to save the desperately drowning people in the water.

Everyone stayed silent. There was no mutiny…and Molly Brown shut down her complaints.

Only #NeverTrump warriors likely won’t go as quietly next week…but the result is the same.

Similar to Erickson, leading #NeverTrumper Bill Kristol believes potential “White Knight” candidates should come forward now so as to be at the ready should Trump be dumped by the type of insurrection Erickson advocates for.

Kristol writes in the Weekly Standard, “I think the worry about chaos is overdone and that a series of ballots that would follow a failure by Trump to prevail on the first ballot would be exciting, invigorating, and likely to produce a strong consensus nominee. But there is a lot of (understandable) sentiment that you can't jump off one horse without another at the ready, that you shouldn't abandon one ship without another seaworthy vessel at hand.

“So now is the time for one or more senior figures in the party to address that sentiment and to reassure delegates that they will not be marooned at sea. Now is the time for someone to announce that he or she will allow himself or herself to be put in nomination, so that the convention would have at least one recognized alternative to turn to if it wishes.”

Kristol even stays with our maritime theme. Very helpful…and creative, just like Erickson.

In his post, Kristol urges Mitt Romney and/or John Kasich to be quick to step in when the delegates mercilessly pitch Trump (and his thousands of supporters and his family) overboard. There’s only one problem…I know Romney said he’s not even going to the convention and Kasich hasn’t indicated either way. As far as Kasich is concerned, he’ll probably show up just to generate as much attention for himself as he can muster.

But it will make no difference. Trump and his people (which now include all of the party leaders and top committee members) will quell the mutiny. No “White Knight” will come forward and by the end of next week, we’ll be talking about how silly all of the pre-convention conspiracy theories turned out to be.

The question then becomes which elements of #NeverTrump will turn on the others. Some will likely join with Trump after their convention mutiny fails. Others will head to Gary Johnson, which is the equivalent of not voting at all; a token few will take up sides with Hillary.

And the rest will drift on the open ocean with no wind to propel them, a leaderless crew without a cause and a sinking ship.

Bill Clinton’s extravagant past speaking demands offer a preview of future gluttony

One man who qualifies as #NeverTrump (though he certainly isn’t a Republican) and won’t be anywhere near Cleveland next week is former President Bill Clinton, who along with wife Hillary is clamoring for the chance to get back in the White House to “live it up” for at least another four years.

As is well known by now, the Clintons have milked their political careers for everything they’re worth to pamper themselves beyond most people’s wildest dreams, but some recent revelations have even those “in the know” shaking their heads about how much Bill & Hill can spend on their ilk.

Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner reports, “Bill Clinton's staff demanded extravagant speaking fees and accommodations for several events in California shortly after departing the White House, raising eyebrows among the organizations that had invited the former president to speak...

“One email between organizers of an event indicated the speech hosts were ‘shocked’ at the fees Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright and Al Gore had requested for their participation.”

The article notes that the former First Couple has generated over $100 million in speaking fees since exiting the White House in 2001. I wonder if anyone’s ever done a calculation on how many dollars that equates to per spoken word – but then again, we’ll probably never know because Hillary hasn’t published her speeches and even attempted to hide how many she’s been doing by burning her daily schedules while at the State Department.

So much for transparency with these people -- if you want it with the Clintons, you’d better figure out a way to reconstitute ashes. Perhaps the nickname “Crooked Hillary” is being too kind to describe her (them).

Of course American taxpayers have been on the dole for the past eight years of Barry and Michelle Obama’s lavish vacations and it looks like we’ll be paying at about the same level should the Clintons win again in November.

To be fair, Donald Trump already lives quite a lifestyle and I’m guessing he’ll pay for most if not all of his own expenses while in office, so there’s already a savings built into a Trump presidency.

You can call Trump any number of names, but I don’t think “freeloader” is one of them.

Trump campaigns today in Indiana with Mike Pence. Is there an announcement in order?

With several Republican committees meeting this week in Cleveland to determine the near-term direction of the party, there’s something just as potentially consequential going on next door in Indiana.

Donald Trump is throwing out just enough hints about his potential choice for a running mate to keep the media on edge and said yesterday he would announce his pick in the next few days.

Or, it could even be today – if that man is to be Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Trump and Pence will campaign together in The Hoosier State today and many are predicting there could be more than the normal amount of significance to it.

Adding Pence to the ticket would have quite a few advantages for Trump. But what would Pence be looking to gain from it?

Eliana Johnson of National Review writes, “… Several of the governor’s confidants spoke on the condition of anonymity, agreeing to shed light on what could be the most significant decision of his political career. In many cases, they asked not to be quoted directly.

“Their accounts paint a portrait of a devoutly religious man paying close attention to how he can best serve the country, but also of a battered governor who believes a spot on the national ticket could simultaneously lift him out of a tough reelection campaign in Indiana and make him a top prospect for the Republican nomination in 2020 or 2024.”

Conservatives tried to talk Pence into running in 2012 to provide a well-spoken limited-government alternative to the establishment favorite, Mitt Romney. Pence declined, keeping his promise to return home to run for governor instead.

Pence has been in the middle of a couple different tough fights as governor and some think it’s not a given that he would win reelection to his current office in November. Therefore, running with Trump might be a good opportunity for him.

Some conservatives are still stung by Pence’s failure to stand up for a religious freedom bill he signed last March, but I can’t help but think his elevation to the national ticket would be well received by most in the conservative movement (not by Erick Erickson, apparently). And as a Republican governor, I think the establishment would be accepting as well.

Pence wouldn’t offer the tidal wave-like splash of a “shock” nominee, but Trump doesn’t need that kind of immediate impact to generate a lot of buzz.

It could be that the convention’s biggest story is already on its way…we’ll see.

Jeb Bush proves he still doesn’t understand what people really want from Trump

Finally today, while many in the #NeverTrump movement are unsure of what’s going to happen next week at the party convention, former Trump rival Jeb Bush isn’t the least bit uncertain about Donald Trump’s prospects of future success.

Nick Gass of Politico reports, “People supporting Donald Trump's presidential bid will ‘feel betrayed’ should the presumptive Republican nominee's campaign promises go unsatisfied, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush predicted Monday…

“There will be no wall built, Bush [said], and Mexico will not pay for it, nor will there be a ban on Muslims.”

Bush did give Trump credit for the nominee’s unmatched ability to use the media to his advantage. But as to the content of his criticisms of Trump, Jeb proved he’s just as clueless as he was during the campaign season.

People are not necessarily expecting Trump to build a physical wall or that Mexico will be sending checks to cover the cost of construction. They are expecting Trump, as president, will follow through on stemming the flow of illegal immigrants through whatever means available and that Mexico will no longer be able to export its problems into the U.S. with a willing president standing by the open door.

And Trump may not succeed in banning all Muslim immigration, but he will put a much more stringent vetting process in place.

In other words, Americans will be satisfied Trump will actually act on the issues rather than cater to special interests like the establishments of both parties. Under Trump, the law will be enforced.

People didn’t trust Jeb Bush would do anything about immigration if he was president – or, in the alternative, he would do the WRONG thing.

Americans don’t expect perfection of results but perfection of principles and effort. Donald Trump will address the problems. Hillary Clinton won’t. It’s that simple.

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Erick Erickson and the "Never-Trumpers"

Donald Trump's opponents are no closer to rallying around an alternative candidate than they were a few months ago when Ted Cruz had a fighting chance at the nomination. At this point all they have to offer is anti-Trump vitriol, of which I've already had my fill. I used to respect and often agree with Erick Erickson, now I delete his emails without reading them. As far as I'm concerned, Erickson has turned into a fringe nut-job.

What is it about NO that Jeb doesn't understand?

The Republican voters overwhelmingly throughout every primary election said they did NOT want him as the presidential candidate. Talk about a sore loser...

Barbara Bush was right when she said 'no more Bushes' at the beginning of the election season before Jeb popped up. Barbara Bush has shown she has a much greater understanding of the American electorate than any of her 'boys'.

I am especially put out with W since he has sat quietly for the last 7-1/2 years as the current occupant repeatedly blamed him for all of the current woes...which is a blatant untruth...and then decides he must speak out against the candidate Republicans all across the country voted to be OUR choice.

American voters are getting more than a bit tired of being ignored...or treated as if we don't know what we want in a leader. The entire Bush clan should gather together and publicly endorse Donald Trump...the candidate the voters chose! It would certainly be good for the future of the Republican Party - for the good of America.