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September 15, 2015

How The GOP Can Kneecap Trump (But Won't)

Trump continues to climb in the polls. While I'm not convinced that will translate to votes, I'm less sure of that than I was a few weeks back.

For the most part Republicans (at least on Twitter and cable talk shows) have responded to this by attacking his supporters. He's a fascist! He's a liberal! He supports Planned Parenthood! He's lying to you (as if Republicans aren't). And anyone who supports him is an idiot and maybe even a racist.

It's easier to pretend the polling and arena filling crowds are simply a reflection of a few hundred Twitter racists with little to no following.

Oddly enough, it's not working.

Trump is the symptom. The underlying disease is the GOP and its manifest failures combined with a sense of "We don't care you'll vote for us no matter what because...Democrats!"

I have no dog in this fight because I'm not a Republican and I can't vote for Trump or anyone in a primary and I'll likely vote Libertarian in the general.

That said, here's some free advice for the GOP on how to start to neuter Trump.

1. Get rid of Boehner and McConnell. Now.

Even if their replacements can't do much better, at least the message will be sent that the GOP gets there are legitimate problems and they get that people are angry and disappointed.

Baseball managers are fired all the time because you can't fire the whole team. By sticking with the current congressional leadership team and attacking Trump's supporters as trash, while ignoring their legitimate concerns, the GOP has made it clear they do in fact intend to fire the team or at least the parts that are unhappy. I was unaware the GOP was so popular they could afford to do this but I guess they think they are.

2. Co-opt Trump on immigration:

This is trickier for a number of reasons.

First, the GOP doesn't want to do this. The establishment and donor classes want amnesty and by God they are willing to crash the party on the rocks to get it.

Second, no one running has any credibility on the issue. A candidate who comes out against amnesty and in favor of border security, internal enforcement and attrition of illegals will be viewed as a pandering liar. And probably rightly so. Still, voters have shown a remarkable willingness to play along (McCain and Romney for example). The GOP has decided the future is in pandering to liberals (aka Hispanics) and keeping the sweet, sweet Chamber of Commerce type money flowing.

And third, no matter how ridiculous Trump's "deport 'em all" plan is, even if he only delivers on half of it, it's more than any mainstream Republican is offering.

Aside from offering what would be seen as empty promises, the GOP could actually try to use amnesty as a wedge issue to either depress black turnout or maybe even win a few points more. They won't win blacks outright or even in large numbers but they just need to offset the Democrats edge with pro-amnesty Hispanics.

Two simple steps that would at the very least stem Trump's momentum and help more palatable (to most Republicans) candidates get back in the game.

Right now otherwise reasonably solid candidates are being swamped by Trump because no one believes they will mean a change of direction. Lots of voters seem to figure anyone with an R after their name will be more of the same old-same old GOP, so there's no point in bothering with them. If not Trump, they will go with Carson or Fiorina. Anyone who doesn't have the stench of career Republican on them.

But the GOP won't do any of this because they don't want to. They are convinced everything is fine with them and that you are the problem. Republican leadership types, in and out of government, want what they want. They don't care if you don't. They will just scare you with "but Democrats" and bet it works again.

And if they lose, so what? They still have jobs, the donor money will still roll in and the Democrats will deliver a lot of what they want for them.

Who needs you icky conservatives? Certainly not the GOP. And by their words and deeds, they don't care if you know it.

But don't say I didn't try to help.


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posted by DrewM. at 09:52 AM

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