Remember when Donald Trump was cajoled into pledging Republican loyalty by promising not to run as an independent?
I really couldn’t believe my ears when I heard this on the radio.
Mark McKinnon was the chief media strategist for President George W. Bush. As far as I’m concerned, that means he is well-connected and experienced inside the Republican establishment. NPR’s Robert Siegel called him up to ask him about Donald Trump’s popularity and what it means. They had the following exchange:
SIEGEL: Do you think this can go on for another year, or do you assume that it peters out sometime in the spring?
MCKINNON: I think there’s three scenarios. Scenario one is the conventional wisdom, which is that Super PACs will unload on him; Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush and others will beat up on him and that that will ultimately mean that he fades away. If that was going to happen, it would’ve happened by now.
I think a more likely scenario is that he sustains now, goes all the way through the nominating process and actually gathers enough delegates – not the nomination, but enough delegates – to be a real nuisance at the convention where he can leverage some agreement or get something out of it so that he can walk away with a win.
Scenario three is wild and improbable, but think about it. He starts to gather enough delegates where it actually looks like he could win the nomination. The Republican establishment completely freaks out. They get together and say, this is unacceptable, but it looks like it’s going to happen. So we go off, and we create a new Republican Party as an Independent candidacy and draft somebody who’s tanned, rested and ready to go and with a lot of money, somebody like Mitt Romney.
SIEGEL: Can we just revisit one phrase you just used? You said the Republican establishment. If you were to just name three people who are part of that group, whom would you say? I’m trying to figure out who the establishment of either party is at this point.
MCKINNON: Well, that’s a good point, Robert. I mean, the fact is that it will be the big-money donors who get together and say, we need to figure out an alternate solution. And it will be all about the money and who they back.
It astounds me that this scenario is already being contemplated. And, of course, if “the big-money donors” decide to pursue this path, they can’t possibly hope their candidate will win. They will be intentionally trying to give the Presidency to Hillary Clinton.
The establishment demands Republican loyalty, but they don’t have any themselves!