Trump’s foreign policy views challenge GOP orthodoxy in fundamental ways. ..one group is bitterly digging in against him: the hawkish foreign policy elites known as neoconservatives.
World Affairs Brief, March 4, 2016 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com).
This Week’s Analysis:
Establishment’s Last Chance to Stop Trump
Push to Ban Cash
Justice Thomas Stumps Government Attorney
Feds Going After Bundy Protestors with a Vengeance
North Korean Bluster Over Nukes
Best Review of Military Situation in Syria
ESTABLISHMENT’S LAST CHANCE TO STOP TRUMP
The results of Super Tuesday were a major setback for the establishment for two reasons: 1) neither of the top two winners, Donald Trump, who won in 7 states, and Ted Cruz, who won in 3 states, are acceptable to the establishment and, 2) the lone remaining establishment candidate, Marco Rubio, is a distant third with little hope of making up his growing deficit. So where does that leave the Republican kingmakers? They have to produce a win by March 15 for Rubio in his home state of Florida, and another for Gov. John Kasich in his home state of Ohio in order to deny Trump these key winner-take-all delegates—a total of 167, which would help delay or stop Trump from reaching the magic number of 1237 needed to win the nomination. The powers that be (PTB) are still hoping for a brokered convention, where delegates become free to vote for another candidate. The establishment is so scared they have even called upon Mitt Romney to help them “save the Republican Party from Donald Trump.” Amazingly, Romney is still more than willing to carry water for them. There is even talk of drafting Paul Ryan.
Never before has a party fought so hard against their own frontrunner. This week Mitt Romney’s staff called up the University of Utah on short notice for a forum to speak to students. Some speculated that Romney would announce for President, but his main topic was to heap criticism on Trump. This was extremely hypocritical of Romney given his seeking out Trump for financial support and saying some very complimentary things about Trump’s business acumen. He also took timed to attack Hillary, which sounded like a campaign speech.
On cue, John McCain held a press conference supporting Romney’s criticisms and calling Trump “dangerous” for the country. If that wasn’t enough, Michael Chertoff and other officials from the two Bush administrations penned an “open letter” denouncing Trump and his positions.
Romney called Trump “a phony, a fraud” and said that voters are being played “for suckers.” He condemned Trump’s statements that Muslims should be banned from entering the United States, saying his “bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies.” -Not so. In reality, as most Americans agree with Trump and know that the establishment is the one playing them for suckers. Fully 60% of Republican voters back Trump’s plan to halt immigration until the government can properly vet them, and 47% want illegals deported, which is the law. The Salt Lake Tribune had these details:
In recent days, Romney, who lost to President Barack Obama in 2012, has grown increasingly combative with Republican front-runner Donald Trump… A source close to Romney says the former governor of Massachusetts won’t be endorsing a GOP candidate and he isn’t joining the race [yet].
But a head-on criticism of Trump may be targeted more to the Republican establishment than those already backing the celebrity billionaire. Romney spoke cautiously at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., on Feb. 24, describing the political mood by harking back to the famous line from the movie “Network.” We’re just mad as hell, and won’t take it anymore, Romney said, before broadly criticizing political leaders for failing to address major challenges from poverty to education. [This is odd—Romney wouldn’t be trying to act like a critic of the Republican establishment unless preparing for another run. Unfortunately he is criticizing them for not going far enough in the big government agenda of “solving” liberal problems.]
Romney briefly considered running in 2016, but he decided in January 2015 that a younger, lesser-known politician would be better suited to defeat Hillary Clinton, the expected Democratic nominee. [He’s regretting that now]
While he has said some kind things about Rubio, Romney hasn’t endorsed a candidate or given any indication that he’s close to doing so. That has led some to speculate that Romney may be holding himself out as a potential GOP savior if no candidate wins the nomination before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July. [Very possible.]
Even on Wednesday, shortly after news of Romney’s impending U. speech became public, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told a group of reporters at the U.S. Capitol that Romney, who now lives in Utah, may still get in the race, though it would be difficult at this late stage.
Indeed, it would be difficult now since he is not on any of the ballots and does not qualify to enter the debates. Romney may present himself before a brokered convention, where he would be more palatable than Rubio, who isn’t even going to match Cruz in popularity. But, it would be difficult for Romney to heal the party after having bashed Trump so mercilessly. Everyone who has done that thus far has alienated a large part of the party.
If Romney were consistent with his own run for president, instead of trying to carve out a new niche for himself, he should be endorsing Ted Cruz, whose policies are very similar to his own. Both are moral conservatives (though Romney has compromised key principles at times), and, unfortunately, both have bought into the neocon foreign policy of military intervention around the world, and surrounded themselves with CFR policy advisors courtesy of Chertoff and Associates.
His failure to endorse Cruz is another telling indicator that he’s looking for an entrance into the race. Part of that is because after his own defeat he has become even more obsessed with pleasing the establishment that rejected him in 2012—despite his bending over backwards to accommodate them. Trying to please the establishment is a peculiar psychological sickness that affects a lot of weak conservatives. Nixon, for example, was stabbed in the back by the PTB on Watergate, and yet spent the rest of his life trying to promote every globalist cause in the hopes that the establishment would take him back into their fold.
I guess Romney will never learn that the establishment won’t let someone be president that they don’t directly control via blackmail over significant misdeeds. Wanting to please is enough for second or third level lackeys in the globalist agenda, but not for top leadership—especially when the presidency might allow an outsider to see behind the veil of the dark side of government.
True as the foregoing may be, times are so desperate for the PTB, they may well accept Romney at a brokered convention in order to derail Trump. As long as he actually doesn’t become president, they don’t mind using (in Lenin’s terms) “useful idiots.”
Cruz, even though a legitimate conservative, shows the same tendencies to compromise as Romney. But even his rabid, militaristic foreign policies aren’t enough to get the nod from the PTB who have an evil moral agenda as well as a globalist world view.
As I pointed out in last week’s brief, Rubio and Kasich don’t look likely to win their home states without some major electoral fraud. And, I don’t discount that. There was evidence of computer vote fraud in one county in Texas during Super Tuesday—switching votes from Trump to Rubio, as outlined by Armstrong Economics.
According to current polls, Rubio is down by almost 20 points compared to Trump in Florida. Rubio claims the 10% Republican Hispanic voters are going to make up the difference, but the numbers don’t add up to a win. In Ohio, Kasich is higher but still falls short of Trump by 5%. Kasich has said he will drop out if he doesn’t win in Ohio.
Right now Trump has 292 delegates; Cruz has 188; Rubio has 98, and Kasich only 23. Ben Carson is finally dropping out with only 7 delegates.
If the kingmakers are able to keep Trump from a first ballot victory, most state delegates are then released to vote as they please. That’s when the PTB go to work to broker a deal and get an establishment candidate nominated. Romney might be the one they go for even though he isn’t an insider. His passion for seeking acceptance from the establishment might keep him in line.
For this reason, state Republican parties (always controlled by the mainstream) try to ensure that only establishment leaning delegates are chosen to go to the national convention—so they will vote in predictable ways. This is why Nevada Republican leaders shut down their state convention prematurely when it appeared that Ron Paul people were going to win the majority of delegates to the 2012 national convention.
However, their chances of stopping Trump are very slim, given Trump’s growing momentum. If the above polling number hold true in Florida and Ohio, I don’t think there is going to be a brokered convention. And, if they did, it would outrage the millions of anti-establishment conservatives who support Trump. As David Scott said, “When your ‘strategy’ involves hijacking your own nationally televised convention and overruling your own party’s primary voters, lots of luck taking that fiasco to November.”
What he means is that denying Trump the nomination would force a rebellion in the Party, leading to a third party alternative or independent candidacy of Trump. Either way, the establishment wins by splitting off the arch conservatives they hate and relegating them to no power at all and handing Hillary a victory.
Conservatives keep lauding the wonders of the Electoral College, but they don’t realize that this political structure ensures that only two parties dominate in the US, because it’s a winner-take-all system. You don’t get any political power unless you get a 51% majority. While that may have worked out OK for a few hundred years, conservatives are soon to become a permanent minority in this country, and the electoral college system will forever work against us. Only by appealing to the broader and unprincipled populism of Donald Trump can the movement get larger—but that won’t lead us back to the Founder’s view of the Constitution.
The only glimmer of benefit to a Trump presidency is that it would alter or skew the globalist agenda. It might even slow it down. Then again, it might not. Trump is so “all over the map” in his statements that he’s utterly unpredictable. This week, for example, a leak emerged from his face-to-face meeting with the NY Times where he said he was open to compromise on immigration and other hard positions. Glen Greenwald comments in the Intercept:
BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, yesterday created a campaign controversy when he suggested that Donald Trump told New York Times editors — in an off-the-record portion of his January candidate interview seeking the paper’s endorsement — that he would be willing to negotiate the more hard-line aspects of his immigration platform, including mass deportation. Trump’s rivals, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, immediately called upon Trump to demand the release of the recording of his off-the-record discussion with NYT editors, insinuating that Trump was deliberately misleading voters.
Trump has repeatedly, and quite recently, said on the record that he regards key aspects of his immigration policies as negotiable, subject to the political process. Asked about this last night, Trump reiterated his oft-stated view that “everything is negotiable.” [That’s right; we have no details, but his lack of principle is worrisome, nevertheless.]
The Republican establishment is in full battle array against Donald Trump, saying that his nomination will ensure the party’s defeat in November. Fox News has been discussing the future destruction or split in the party that is imminent. Even foreign globalist publications like The Economist are demanding that Trump be defeated. David Brooks fed the line to NPR listeners this week that the Republican Party is bordering on self-destruction.
As pundits considered how the party could heal itself, it becomes apparent that the current attacks on Trump make that nearly impossible, as the Republican debate in Detroit made quite clear. Even though all the candidates agreed to support whoever wins the nomination, that’s unlikely given the barrage of insults thrown around.
Some Trump supporters might support Cruz, and a few might support Rubio, but not if it appeared Trump was wronged. They would be hopping mad, and tend to back an independent candidacy for Trump. Yes, Trump has committed to stay with the party, but only if treated “fairly,” and that certainly isn’t likely.
Trump said Sunday that the opposition was the latest slight against him from party insiders and a “total violation” of the Republican National Committee pledge each candidate signed vowing to support the party’s eventual nominee. [He’s right—the pledge was worthless and disingenuous.]
Some party leaders are openly wondering how Rubio, after labeling Trump a “con man,” could show up at the convention in Cleveland and endorse him. “I’m not sure that he can — or that he’d be invited, for that matter,” said Trent Lott, a former Senate Republican leader from Mississippi who is backing -Kasich. “It won’t be easy to get all the forces back together.”
But Lott added: “I don’t think people have any idea what Trump would do. He might wind up being the most magnanimous, inviting and generous person you could imagine. Who knows?”
“There is an overwhelming understanding in our party that we have to be united against Hillary Clinton, because there is too much at stake, if you just look at the Supreme Court alone,” Sean Spicer of the RNC said. “After the last eight years, everyone on the Republican side understands that.”
Richard Wadhams, a former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said there has been a growing acceptance of Trump in recent weeks among party leaders and rank-and-file activists alike.
Donald Trump is seeking a face to face meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan trying to assure Ryan that Trump can grow the party. It’s doubtful Ryan will be open to working with Trump now that a major donor has funded a PAC to draft Ryan. Trump’s appeal to a wide range of independents is not the kind of pro-Hispanic growth that the mainstream wants (by giving in to amnesty), but to a certain extent Trump has a point.
Trump’s base of support in the Republican party is at least 30% and rising. In some states, as shown on Super Tuesday, he is above 40%. But that would only equate to less than 20% of the national electorate. And so establishment pundits keep saying that Trump has a hard ceiling, and that’s all the higher he is going to go.
And yet, when pitted against Clinton in national polls (if you can trust them), Trump comes out losing but not by much: 47% to 52%. What that really tells us is that Trump is pulling in a vast amount of independents and even a lot of Democrats, in spite of the fact that some mainstream Republican elites and neocons would defect and vote for Clinton, as Politico.com noted:
Even more than his economic positions, Trump’s foreign policy views challenge GOP orthodoxy in fundamental ways. But while parts of the party establishment are resigning themselves or even backing Trump’s runaway train, one group is bitterly digging in against him: the hawkish foreign policy elites known as neoconservatives.
In interviews with POLITICO, leading neocons — people who promoted the Iraq War, detest Putin and consider Israel’s security non-negotiable — said Trump would be a disaster for U.S. foreign policy and vowed never to support him. So deep is their revulsion that several even say they could vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump in November. [That’s because neocons are actually globalists more than Republicans.]
Summary: If Trump wins the nomination outright, I predict that many of the establishment Republican leaders will cross over and secretly vote for Hillary in order to defeat him. Whether or not that will be enough to offset the millions who will come over to Trump is not known at this time. Even if Trump does have the votes to win the election, I expect the establishment would make several million votes disappear in order to defeat him, as they did to Romney.
If the GOP uses a brokered convention to stop Trump, there will be a major rebellion in the party and Trump will probably run as an independent. He might actually win if the outrage against the establishment is big enough, but most likely it would still hand the race to Hillary.
If Trump does not run as an independent after a brokered convention, I don’t think there would be enough impetus to mount a major third party movement. The existing conservative third parties (Constitution and Independent American) have too many religious mandates in their platforms to gain any broad traction. Without an independent run by Trump, most Republicans would bury their disappointment and get behind Romney, or perhaps Ryan, for example, just to avoid a Clinton presidency. Breaking: Romney just told Matt Lauer of the Today Show, after being pressed numerous times, “I’m not running for president, and I won’t run for president.”
We’ll see… But ultimately, I’m convinced the PTB won’t let a true reforming conservative win.