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Presidential Horse Race 2016: What will an unshackled Donald Trump really look like?

I don’t need no Civil War,
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor

I don’t normally credit the controversial rock group Guns n’ Roses with being poetic voices of a generation, but I can’t help but think their song “Civil War” speaks to what’s going on in the Republican Party right now.

Donald TrumpIn the wake of the now infamous Donald Trump “locker room banter” audio tape leak from last Friday, GOP establishment politicians are practically pushing each other to the side in order to be the next one to jump off the Trump bandwagon.

Their hasty actions and disavowals are certainly revealing all the telltale signs of a flat out intra-party civil war.

In addressing the rift that’s developed between Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan (who said he would not campaign with or for Trump), W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner writes, “The biggest problem for the GOP is that this isn't entirely a Trump-created problem, though he has been a vehicle for those most disaffected with the party. Trump is a symptom of a crisis of legitimacy within the Republican Party, a split between its voters and the donor/consultant/governing class.

“Trump's GOP is talking to itself and offending everyone else. The establishment's GOP can't even talk to itself.

“The Republicans who are best at outreach are often worst at inreach to the party's base. The opposite is also true. Until that basic conflict is resolved, Trump is a bright, orange warning sign that the GOP's circular firing squad isn't going to disband anytime soon.”

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve never been a big fan of Paul Ryan, but this is ridiculous. The Speaker’s all-but repudiation of Trump on Monday was shocking in its short-sightedness and practically amounts to an establishment concession of the presidential race to Hillary Clinton.

Everything those of us who have been arguing for months in trying to get people to see the #NeverHillary big picture instead of petty personality conflicts has gone out the window. The establishment is dying. They have control of the party leadership positions but at the grassroots level, no one trusts or believes them anymore.

It’s impossible to have a party without voters, but the GOP top brass is attempting to do it anyway.

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are shining examples of politicians who have been in Washington so long they’ve forgotten about the “little man” outside of the densely populated coastal areas. They’re so concerned with preserving their own political power fiefdoms (in the form of congressional majorities) that they’ve lost sight of the fact they were sent by their constituents to do a job.

You know, like represent them in the federal government. Limit government. Enforce the law. Protect the borders. Fight the liberal social agenda. Balance the budget…is that really too much to ask?

In all of this it appears Republican leaders have decided that Trump’s words from over ten years ago are more threatening to them personally than Hillary and Bill Clinton’s three decades’ worth of sleaze, corruption, self-dealing and yes, adultery.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at National Review, “In other words, Hillary (yawn) is revealed by WikiLeaks as a hypocrite, intellectually dishonest, cynical, rich from ill-gotten gains, and willing to use any means necessary to win. Liberals can overlook likely felonies a lot easier than conservatives can tolerate Trump’s mouth…

“Only a candidate of Reagan or Eisenhower proportions could now reunite the two factions. Without both on board, no future Republican nominee retains even a slight chance of winning the presidency.”

The two factions Hanson was referring to are the Republican Trump supporters versus the establishment Republican ship-jumpers, the same ones who were hubristic enough to demand conservative obedience to mushy-moderates John McCain and Mitt Romney the past two election cycles but are unwilling to look beyond Trump’s personal foibles to support him against the tragically corrupt Crooked Hillary Clinton now.

There are no more shining examples of what Republicans are supposed to fight than Hillary and Obama. If some Republicans can’t see their way to oppose Hillary, they might as well join her.

Hanson sees the divide in GOP-land and argues the party is breaking apart right before our very eyes. Anyone who’s been following the presidential race closely knows the cracks that existed prior to the 2016 campaign have now widened into a yawning chasm.

Going back a little over a year, the party establishment was so convinced that this election would be politics as usual that they didn’t even see the need to outwardly coalesce around their chosen candidate – Jeb Bush – over the other elitist go-along-to-get-along competitors in the race, namely John Kasich, Chris Christie and their candidate of last resort, Marco Rubio.

Bush quickly assembled a big money-driven campaign war chest of around $100 million, which was intended to frighten conservatives into accepting their usual submissive posture. Only after Jeb won the nomination would the establishmentarians demand obedience. There was no need to do it months before the first votes were even cast.

Well, they lost. Polling from the beginning not only favored Trump as the frontrunner, it consistently hovered in the 65-70% range for the “outsiders” (Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina) in national surveys.

The establishment quickly became a party without voters. They didn’t learn from the drubbings the GOP took in 2006, 2008 and 2012. They kept on spending, conceding more and more legislative ground to the Democrats and sacrificed their souls to keep their special interests happy.

Even when conservatives delivered Republicans wave elections in 2010 and 2014, the party establishment was back at their old tricks again come the next January.

Donald Trump is the direct result of the GOP establishment’s failures to keep promises to the voters. And now when it comes down to joining with the people’s choice, the elites are saying they’re going to focus on congressional races. Or vote for Lindsey Graham.

Lisa Hagen of The Hill reports, “During an Arizona Senate debate Monday night, Sen. John McCain (R) was asked who he’ll vote for in the presidential contest.

“’I might write in Lindsey Graham,’ said the Arizona senator, who is running for reelection against Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.”

This coming from the man most of us worked so hard to get elected in 2008. Big thanks, John. All the pandering in the world to Hispanics hasn’t improved McCain’s lot with that Democrat constituency while the conservatives who supported him are tossed under the bus.

Meanwhile, Crooked Hillary, the Democrats and the media are busy ignoring the latest Wikileaks email dumps which only further reinforce what a thoroughly corrupt bunch they all are. If they haven’t popped the champagne corks already, they’re getting the ice buckets ready for a huge celebration on Election Night.

From the Republican Party’s standpoint, all of this could have been avoided by simply allowing the voters to select the nominee, accept him or her and move on to the really important matters – like defeating Hillary. In this sense, they could definitely take a page from the Democrats’ book.

For the Dems, it’s “Just win, baby.”

What will an “unshackled” Donald Trump really look like?

For his part, Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be taking rejection from the Republican establishment too harshly, taking to his favorite venting mechanism – Twitter – to share what he really thinks about the way things are going in the GOP.

Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner reports, “Donald Trump declared himself a free man Tuesday morning, in a series of tweets indicating he's had enough of trying to work with Republican leaders who don't support his campaign.

“’It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to,’ tweeted the Republican presidential hopeful.”

It’s really hard to tell at this point what an “unshackled” Trump will look like since it’s never exactly been clear what those “shackles” have been in the first place.

It’s true that ever since bringing in Kellyanne Conway and Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon to manage his campaign that Trump has practiced a lot more self-discipline as a candidate, delivering several policy packed speeches, reaching out to minority communities and more than anything else, agreeing to tether himself to a teleprompter during rallies.

Now it appears that all bets are off with the Paul Ryan snub. The Republican civil war could be starting now instead of after the election and Trump may begin by waging a scorched earth campaign of destruction against not only Crooked Hillary and the Democrats, but the GOP establishment as well.

Which leaves the obvious question: are there enough voters in the “middle ground” between the parties to join the Trump coalition of most conservatives, populist voters, most Republicans and otherwise anti-Hillary voters to actually win on Election Day?

At certain points I’ve speculated that Trump might even do better without the blessings of the party establishment, but I’m not quite sure that’s the case now. Assuming that the GOP machine under RNC Chairman Reince Priebus continues in its get-out-the-vote efforts, there probably isn’t much to lose in terms of Ryan and others falling off the presidential race radar.

But Trump will certainly lose some support if he goes too far over the edge in beating up on his own party members. These are votes that he can’t afford to miss if he truly is behind in the race.

Meanwhile, there are many signs that Trump voters are furious with Ryan as well. If there is no longer popular support to keep him on as Speaker, will Ryan step down? Will he even win his race for re-election?

Assuming the House remains in Republican hands, who steps into the power void created by the meltdown of the party establishment?

Trump’s “unshackling” conceivably represents the best chance conservatives have had to finally dethrone the GOP establishment – but only if he wins. Like the rebels in a coup, the insurgents only get to keep their heads if they’re successful in knocking off the ruling class.

Either way, I think many in the party establishment are finished. By repudiating Trump, they’re telling his voters to go to you-know-where (hint: it’s really hot there and there’s a guy running around with a pitchfork).

In a year that’s already featured so many “firsts,” we’re truly reaching uncharted territory; never before has a major party candidate run against the other party and the leaders of his own at the same time.

One can only wonder how this is all going to end up, but again, the Democrats are probably sitting back watching all the fireworks and pulling out their cameras to catch the melee before it dies down – or implodes in on itself.

I hope I’m wrong.

Marco Rubio joins Ted Cruz in continuing to support Trump

With several prominent Republicans announcing recently they’re no longer going to vote for Donald Trump, you might think several of Trump’s former rivals for the party nomination would be among those joining the exodus.

Thus far it hasn’t happened (of course John Kasich and Lindsey Graham have already said they won’t vote for Trump). First Ted Cruz said he would not pull back his endorsement and Marco Rubio similarly said he’s still in it for Trump on Tuesday.

Marc Caputo of Politico reports, “Sen. Marco Rubio reiterated his support for Donald Trump on Tuesday, bucking a wave of fellow Republicans who have withdrawn their endorsement or called on him to quit the presidential race after video of his sexually aggressive comments about women were disseminated last week…

“’I disagree with him on many things, but I disagree with his opponent on virtually everything. I wish we had better choices for President,’ Rubio [said in a statement]. ‘But I do not want Hillary Clinton to be our next President. And therefore my position has not changed.’”

Of course Rubio wishes there were different choices on the ballot. He wanted to be there himself.

But it’s still good to see that Rubio isn’t folding like a cheap tent along with other Republican elites. I didn’t give Rubio a lot of credit during the primaries for sticking to principle, but in this case I think he deserves it. As one of Trump’s competitors that frequently clashed with the would-be nominee, Rubio could jump ship and conceivably many of his supporters would “understand”.

But I also think Rubio’s fate is somewhat tied to Trump’s this year. If Trump loses badly in Florida it likely means Rubio loses too, though I’m not positive the two correlate. Polls show Trump slightly behind in the Sunshine State while Rubio has been consistently ahead.

At any rate, it’s always refreshing to see someone who recognizes that Crooked Hillary is really the opponent here, not the guy with the “R” after his name that will still have an administration full of conservatives and Republicans that were loyal to him.

Looks like calls for Trump to step down will keep coming, no matter how fruitless

Finally today, even though Donald Trump now feels free from the “shackles” that have artificially restrained him since becoming the Republican nominee, it looks like there will still be calls from the establishment and #NeverTrumpers to step down.

Though it is not possible to replace Trump’s name on the ballot at this late date, technically it is still feasible to “replace” him.

Law Professor Derek T. Muller writes in National Review, “And while there are even wilder scenarios — involving competing slates of electors from a single state, disputes before Congress, contests lasting well past inauguration day — the crucial fact remains that it’s not too late for the GOP to replace Trump. While it is too late to remove his name from the ballot, fortunately for us, the real election takes place December 19, when the Electoral College meets. There’s plenty of time to replace a candidate before then.”

It doesn’t really matter whether it’s still within the realm of possibility to run someone other than Trump as the Republican nominee in next month’s election because the simple fact remains that Donald Trump is in control of his own political destiny and he isn’t going anywhere.

If anything, it’s a complete waste of time to keep up the hopes of some of the most disgruntled anti-Trumpers that he will somehow disappear.

As I’ve argued a lot lately, even if Trump were to take himself out of the equation, it would not solve the Republican Party’s main problems in this election. Donald Trump alone has managed to motivate the kinds of voters who could possibly give the party a victory this year.

Take him out of the equation and a lot of these people bail. Period. I’m guessing it would be millions – the people who are voting to break up the system in Washington. It couldn’t be accomplished by other candidates in their view.

It’s time to wake up from the pipedreams some are having that Trump will magically go away. The time is now to realize there’s only one choice on the ballot. Otherwise, get ready for the second coming of President Clinton.

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The only way to find out how far down the chain of Washington the corruption goes is to elect Donald Trump! I believe that the corruption of our government goes right down to the very core! The only way we the people, are going to find this out, is to vote Donald Trump in as our next president! I know that he will do the right thing and bring up all the dirt on the Washington elite, and see who is honest and who are taking hand outs! If you want our country to be great again, vote Trump/Pence!

The Donald must CHOOSE

This is a reprise of a comment made repeatedly, here and elsewhere, aimed @ those who could perhaps reach the candidate.

He must atone for what he said about his 16 GOP-competitors ASAP.

He must be specific, he must be humble, he must state why he will adhere to the best that they proffered...and that he ignored.

He must tether this APOLOGY [now that he knows how to do it] with commitment to preaching constitutional rule-of-law for the next month.

He must ABANDON the sleaze and focus solely on policy.

During Debate #3, he must QUOTE from the Wikileaks revelations [after having memorized them, with Ted Cruz's assistance].

He must NOT repeat himself so often, for 90 minutes will be fleeting.

If he continues to diss the base [and this is NOT the same as the GOPe], he will have only himself to blame.

He cannot depend upon SCOTUS-based extortion to motivate people to come to the polls.

And he must prompt all of his surrogates to co-adopt this focused message.

No amount of rationalization for his past will suffice, under these dire circumstances.

If he won't convey heartfelt contriteness, then he should immediately get out of the way and allow Pence to lead the charge.


What a load of nonsense rsklaroff. You need to atone! Trump has nothing to apologize for and it is fools like you and the establishment asses who need to apologize. Just a post of ravings and how in the world do you think anyone within the establishment is going to do anything any different than they have always done. And look where that got us and we will blame them if they cause it to continue with Hillary. Idiots, traitors, liars, cheats and thieves in DC. Washington is really one party and one cabal of power. Trump has challenged it and little minds like yours sprout these jews of reason for idiots, dem wits, and establishment minions. Get a clue. This post and this author know what is happening, you obviously are one of the never Trump fools message boys!