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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Trump Vs. Cruz, High Stakes Poker Not 'Brokered' Convention

by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: There is a rising discussion about whether there may be a “brokered” GOP nominating convention in Cleveland. Might a party faction be able to deny the nomination to the front runner or, even, to any of the leading delegate holders? Rumors abound that the Party Establishment is looking to hand the nomination to the 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. Not a credible scenario.

A scorched earth attempt to deny the nomination to the leading contenders would be political suicide for the GOP. The Trump enthusiasts, and the Conservative Faithful (among whom I proudly am counted), would be alienated by such a move. The GOP would go to historic defeat.

Of course the Party insiders wish to retain their control… at all costs. As Satan, formerly known as Lucifer, said, in Paradise Lost: “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.” Saul Alinsky call your office. Won’t happen.

Speculation about a brokered convention may be a parlor game. Either Donald Trump or, just remotely possibly, Ted Cruz yet might secure the requisite 1,237 votes to secure a first ballot nomination or become so dominant as to be unstoppable. Farewell Establishment! Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

In the event of a technical shortfall Trump will and Cruz just might, have sufficient delegates to “broker” the convention themselves, adding the delegates of a rival sufficient to put one of them over the top. Period.

The next step will be to achieve party unity. Trump has proved himself — over the course of a lifetime — a shrewd negotiator. He does whatever it takes to win. Will he — can he — provide sufficient credible assurances to pull the bulk of conservatives back from the #NeverTrump brink?

What to do? As I wrote here previously:A plurality of voters see [Trump] as a Superhero.

... Alternatively, not a few see Trump as a Supervillain.

... Donald Trump recently said, on Fox News’ Hannity, “I mean, everything’s negotiable.” This perfect ambiguity is entirely consistent with how Donald Trump has lived his entire recorded life. That causes observers to see him, depending on their point of view, as Superhero … or Supervillain.
Trump could reach out to Cruz (or, possibly, Kasich's delegates or even Rubio's) to put himself over the top … perhaps in return for the vice presidency, no small prize. (Marco Rubio, who failed to endorse Ted Cruz when it might have changed the electoral calculus, and who as widely anticipated lost his native Florida, alas does not now appear likely to be much of a factor.)

In a contested convention with Trump leading Ted Cruz would offer, as VP-designate if he will take it, the powerful advantage of bringing with him the conservative base. Unless rank and file conservatives are stoked to turn out to vote on November 6th Republican victory prospects in the general election are diminished. Cruz would seem to be holding the high cards in the Veepstakes.

John Kasich has the advantage of bringing with him Ohio’s electoral college votes plus impressive Congressional experience and a distinguished track record of executive branch public service as governor of Ohio. These are not inconsiderable assets for the general election. Yet the impressive Kasich somehow does not excite the conservative base.

It may be that Ted Cruz will have enough delegates to make a deal with Kasich, sidelining Trump and creating a right-center-right unity ticket. Such a ticket would, of course, require a heroic effort to bring in the Trump enthusiasts. Possibility.

Let it be noted that Trump — however ruthless in the course of negotiation — has a long history of not being a sore loser. He does not, win or lose, typically conduct vendettas against his opponents. He pivots to his next opportunity. This has served him very well.

The apparently probable scenario places Trump solidly in the delegate lead. In that case he will face a conundrum in seeking to unite the GOP behind him while pivoting to pocket the presidency. As my above-referenced column observed,The evidence on the nature of Trump’s character is ambiguous. Superhero? Or Supervillain? … Nominating him for, and electing him, president would be a high stakes riverboat gamble.Trump alone would have the power to provide assurances to the conservative base that nominating him would not, in fact, be a high stakes riverboat gamble. Can he do so? Will he?

Trump already has begun at attempt to pivot to the general election. As Megan McCardle noted at BloombergView, his initial attempt proved clumsy:It was as if he’d read that you’re supposed to pivot to the general, and failed to understand that you were supposed to selectively tack toward the center on key issues, rather than randomly retracting things you had previously said, some as recently as 30 seconds ago.

His closing statement, delivered in the same half-asleep voice, was probably his most electrifying moment of the evening: “So I just say embrace these millions of people that now for the first time ever love the Republican Party. And unify. Be smart and unify.” Essentially: I broke your party. Now surrender.
Uniting the party, toward winning the presidency, may be the greatest challenge yet in Trump’s storied life. It might be a challenge he relishes. As I have written elsewhere:Wayne Barrett, a reporter for the Village Voice once upon a time — in 1992 — wrote an extensive biography of Donald Trump. Nestled among many other fascinating nuggets of reporting about Trump’s life is something, a rare unguarded moment, that might cast a ray of light on the inner workings of a complicated mind.

Consider if you will:

... "Donald liked to recall his favorite 'Twilight Zone' episode, which featured a venal man who died in an accident, was offered any wish he wanted, and declared: 'I want to win, win, win. Everything I want. I went to get. I want to get the most beautiful women. I want to get the beautiful this and that. I want to never lose again.' Then, as Donald recounted the story, the man was shown playing pool, winning every time. 'Everything he did, he won,' said Donald, until the godlike figure who’d granted his wish came back to the man. 'And the man said, ‘If this is Heaven, let me go to Hell.’ And the person said, ‘You are in Hell.’” (Trump, HarperCollins, pp. 31-32)

... As if the agon, rather than the ecstasy, is what truly is most dear.
Reading between the lines: Trump does not covet loss. He burns to confront an authentic challenge, one of the highest magnitude. A challenge worthy of his powers.
Trump has created just such a challenge for himself.

Some profound and influential conservative thought leaders, among them William Kristol and Erick Erickson, have joined #NeverTrump never to return. If Trump arrives in Cleveland with a decisive delegate lead can he provide sufficient assurances to the GOP conservative base to unite the party … not as a matter of unconditional surrender but in a principled conservative way?

This will not be easy.

Trump does not crave easy.

It just might be possible.

Is Trump up to the challenge? Perhaps not. Yet Trump has demonstrated that he is formidable, not to be underestimated. If it comes to a “brokered” — meaning contested — convention, with Donald Trump in the delegate lead, choosing Ted Cruz as his running mate would be one step toward the goal of party unity. If Trump aspires to unite the GOP, however, more, will be required of him.

If we arrive at a contested convention and if Trump, in the lead, can provide credible assurances to the conservatives, advantage Trump. If he cannot and if -- at this juncture a big if -- Cruz has enough delegates, the negotiating advantage in Cleveland will pass to Cruz.

If we get to Cleveland without any candidate possessing 1,237 delegates, but with Trump and Cruz each holding a substantial bloc, do not expect a “brokered” convention. Expect the highest stakes poker game in living memory, with the presidential nomination as the stakes.
-----------------
Ralph Benko is senior advisor, economics, to American Principles in Action's Gold Standard 2012 Initiative, and a contributor to the ARRA News Service. Founder of The Prosperity Caucus, he was a member of the Jack Kemp supply-side team, served in an unrelated area as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House. The article which first appeared in Forbes.

Tags: Ralph Benko, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, high stakes poker, not brokered convention  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 4:00 PM - Post Link

1 Comments:

Anonymous Letty Bromenschenkel said...

After 25 years of being exploited and abused : the People took charge.
JUSTICE ::::::: Cruz like JEB will NEVER ~ NEVER be POTUS . NEVER !

Because the CRUZ supporters who are exactly like CRUZ BECK only hate, smear and lie
they have zero solutions.

3/26/2016  

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