What Will The Republican Party Do When Trump Quits The Race?
Impossible? Not at all. He has already charged that the election “is going to be rigged” against him.
Here’s the scenario. People of stature and substance continue to rise to public pulpits to denounce him. His massive ego starts to fray. Support from the GOP is negligible and grudging. Contributions slow to a dribble, leaving the campaign short of funds, putting intolerable pressure on his own exaggerated worth. Polls all predict he’s heading for perhaps the worst defeat in presidential history, rivaling Charles Pinckney’s loss in 1804 with just twenty seven percent of the popular vote, to Thomas Jefferson with seventy three percent. And going down to a woman! The horror!
It’s just over two months to the election. If Trump is expert in anything it must be in reading results and projections from quarterly statements. He can see where it’s going. He knows a lot can happen in sixty days. Lehman went down in a week after a century and a half, mostly because of big miscalculations in real estate.
Real estate can be a bitch. All of Trump’s wealth is in real estate. As his name is increasingly associated with political and reputational loss, his business brand is diminished and the various Trump towers, casinos and hotels start to shake. The entire Trump edifice could collapse, or at least he could make it seem so. He quits, pleading the need to rescue the family business.
Is Trump a quitter? Almost surely he is. Is it not quitting to go bankrupt, as he has done several times? He secured five deferments from call-up to serve in Viet Nam. Is not serving at all a step up or a step down from quitting? In the same ball park, anyway.
So what should the Republican Party do in such an eventuality? Can’t reach back for the last standing runner in the primaries, Ted Cruz. Worse than Trump would be the universal cry. Further right. More extreme. More crazy. No one else stands out from that primary crowd. And of course the deadline approaches. Could it be the first uncontested election ever?
That’s unlikely. Of course I can’t pretend to know what the GOP will do in this most unusual circumstance. But if they are not simply wandering in dazed disbelief at the Trump betrayal, if they would like to snatch triumph from disaster, I have a modest proposal. They should recruit and nominate Bernie Sanders as their candidate. Bernie’s Right For America! could be the rallying cry to attract independent voters, a cohort that now accounts for nearly forty percent of the electorate, according to a new study from Pew Research. Bernie’s Right! Would take a bit of shape-shifting but what-the-hell, he’s seventy-five, there’ll never be another chance.