With Donald Trump does so incredibly well in the very-early polls, it's gotten leaders of the Republican Party concerned because they know how incredibly divisive he is. They know he might play well with the base, but unlike others who play for the base, it's highly unlikely that he can expand beyond that with Independent voters and grabbing any Democrats. (Other than Mr. Trump, the GOP candidate with the lowest like-dislike rating with Hispanic voters is -7. Donald Trump is at -51.)
It's still incredibly early, though, and polls mean next to nothing at this point. That doesn't mean Donald Trump won't get the nomination, but who you tell a pollster is your preference eight months before voting, and who you actually vote for are two different things. So, I still think Donald Trump is not going to get the Republican nomination for President of the United States, no matter how far ahead he is in polls. Of course, given the crazed lunacy of today's GOP, I don't put anything past them -- but I still don't think it will be him.
But that's one thing, getting the nomination. If he gets it, it's a massive problem for the Republican Party, and risks dragging down Republican votes in other races. But even if he doesn't, Republican problems don't stop there.
Because the question that can't be ignored is -- what do you do about the Republican Convention??
At one point, when Donald Trump was just starting out and was sitting at 5% in the polls, it would be easy to exclude him from the convention. But not, he has 25% -- at a minimum. Even if he doesn't rise above that -- in fact, even if he plummets by have to 12% -- how can you keep from inviting him to speak at the Republican Convention?? Even a "mere" 12% is a huge percentage of the party, especially since it largely comes from the base.
If you don't invite him, you not only risk disenfranchising a huge part of your party's voters, at the base, but you risk infuriating Donald Trump himself. And though it might be too late at that point for him to mount a third-party campaign, it's not too late for him to go on the petulant warpath which he tends to live on anyway. And might go around suggesting people write him in.
But if you do invite him to speak, you risk having his bombast been seen as the face of the Republican Party brand. And it says to the public, "we embrace this man." And you can pretty much write off almost all Blacks, Hispanics and most minorities -- if you're already at risk of losing most minorities already. And most women. And more Independents who you were trying to get.
It's a problem. In fact, it's a big problem. The only hope that Republicans have is that Donald Trump crashes and burns all on his own and discredits himself in some huge, career-ending way. With Trump, that's certainly possible. The problem is, if he hasn't done it yet, with his racist, misogynistic, crass bombast already to turn off the Republican base, it's hard to imagine how much deeper he'd have to go to do so.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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