The effort to deny Democrat Donald Trump the Republican nomination for president continues. It most certainly remains a long shot, but it is not an impossibility.
I spoke with one of the #FreeTheDelegate leaders here in Wisconsin, Dane County’s David Blaska. He’s an alternate delegate from the 2nd Congressional District and has long fought the good fight for conservatives from the heart of ultra-liberal Dane County.
Blaska’s zeal for a fight is not echoed by his onetime boss, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert:
“It would be a catastrophe to try and deny him,” said former Gov. Tommy Thompson, an at-large delegate to the convention. “You can’t split the party any more than it’s been split and expect it to be successful. Any more splitting is tantamount to a total disaster.”
I hate to break it to the Governor, a man I greatly admire, but Donald Trump has already brought the catastrophe to Cleveland. If he becomes the party’s standard bearer, the damage to the party will be far greater than if delegates exercise their discretion.
Even if Trump were to parlay his cult of personality and Hillary’s unfavorable numbers into a squeaker of a victory, the down-ticket carnage to Republicans will be monumental.
But the odds of a Trump victory grow dimmer by the day.
Consider the latest:
Weeks of provocative and outlandish behavior have hurt Donald J. Trump’s standing in two new national polls of registered voters, which showed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee falling further behind Hillary Clinton.
A Washington Post-ABC News survey had Mrs. Clinton with a double-digit lead: 51 percent to 39 percent.
A Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll had Mrs. Clinton with a smaller advantage of five percentage points.
Both polls, released on Sunday, showed Mr. Trump in worse shape than he had been a month ago, as voters in the latest polls expressed doubts about his preparedness and qualifications to lead the nation.
Blaska’s fellow Dane County Republican, delegate Roger Stauter explains to Matt DeFour of the Wisconsin State Journal:
“I think there is a real concern that Trump is going to lead the Republicans to a Barry Goldwater-type 1964 defeat,” said Roger Stauter, an RNC delegate from Monona. “It just does not seem to be taking shape as a credible presidential campaign as far as content is concerned or the technique.
“This is not going to be won through tweets and speeches at rallies. Republicans who are in responsible positions have endorsed Trump and are trying to make the best of a bad situation.”
Stauter, who is currently bound to vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at the convention because he won the most votes in the 2nd Congressional District, said he won’t vote for Trump or Clinton in November.
“The thought of Hillary for four years is indeed depressing and I certainly wouldn’t vote for her,” Stauter said. “I’m not a happy camper.”
Kudos to Blaska, Stauter and the others who are standing up to relentless pressure to bow down to Trump. The pressure is only going to build. As the New York Times reports:
The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are moving quickly and aggressively to head off the fledgling effort to stage a revolt at their convention next month in Cleveland, hoping to spare the party an embarrassing spectacle that could deeply wound the presumptive nominee.
They are employing hard-nosed tactics, warning delegates that attempting to undermine Donald J. Trump’s claim to the nomination violates party rules, and threatening to deny speaking slots to Republicans they deem disloyal for not backing him…
The R.N.C. and the Trump campaign are also installing loyal party stalwarts in key party positions to help ensure that they maintain control of the convention if rogue delegates attempt a disruption. And they are trying to discredit Republicans who are advocating an interpretation of party rules that would allow delegates to vote for anyone they want on the first ballot.
Their moves are intended to buttress Mr. Trump as he confronts a faction of Republicans who, emboldened by his recent missteps, say their efforts to stage a convention coup are gaining more support. In the last week, prominent Republicans like House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin have breathed new life into these efforts by saying that delegates should be free to follow their consciences instead of being committed to back a candidate.
Dear delegates, you are not drones and you didn’t sign a political suicide pact with Democrat Donald Trump. You have been empowered with the ability to set the rules and offer a course correction for the sake of our party and the nation.
To be continued…