Can Anyone Replace Trump

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Which dictionary definition of the word “conservative,” as either an adjective or a noun, applies comfortably to Donald Trump?

Is he “traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness”? (Please stifle your laughter).

Does he count as “cautiously moderate”?

Would he even describe himself as an individual who is “disposed to preserve existing conditions and institutions, or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change”?

Trump’s defenders insist that his flashy, shameless, non-conservative style will help him win support for his conservative substance. But where, exactly, do we find that substance?

His much-heralded hard line on immigration discards pragmatic reform policies favored by the two most popular conservatives of the last half-century, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Building a yuuuuge wall along the southern border hardly qualifies as a “cautiously moderate” approach, nor would uprooting 11 million current residents (and, presumably, millions more of their US citizen children or spouses) in the greatest forced migration in human history.

Even those who support Trump on the immigration issue will search in vain for his conservative policy prescriptions on other social, economic and security issues confronting the country. A desire to “make America great again” is an admirable aspiration, but not an agenda.

Worst of all, Trump’s brawling, blustery, mean-spirited public persona serves to associate conservatives with all the negative stereotypes which liberals have tried for decades to attach to their opponents. According to conventional caricature, conservatives are supposed to be selfish, greedy, materialistic, bullying, misogynistic, angry and intolerant. Those of us on the right find ourselves portrayed as privileged and pampered, reveling in the advantages of inherited wealth while displaying only cruel contempt for those less fortunate and powerful. The left tried to smear Ronald Reagan in such terms but failed miserably because none of the stereotypical traits ever applied to him. In contrast, Trump offers a living, breathing, bellowing and shameless representation of all the nasty characteristics Democrats instinctively employ to denounce the GOP.

And then there’s the uncomfortable, unavoidable issue of racism. Even those who take Trump at his word, accepting his declaration that he qualifies as the least racist individual in the nation, can imagine the parade of negative ads the Democrats are already preparing for black radio stations and Spanish-language television. Even if Trump won a crushing majority among self-described white, Anglo voters, he could hardly improve on Romney’s 59-39% advantage. The great Reagan himself, in his epic 1980 landslide against Jimmy Carter, got only 56% of the white vote –but whites represented 88% of the electorate that year. In 2016, whites will comprise at most 70% of the rapidly changing voting population so that Trump would need a significant improvement on Romney’s 24% of the non-white vote. Considering opinion polls showing him with record negative ratings approaching 90% in both black and Latino communities, this would be a tall order.

The problem goes beyond the certainty of losing one election and relates to the survivability of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.  If Asians and Latinos come to reject Republican candidates as automatically and overwhelmingly as African-Americans do, the party will lose not only all chance of capturing the presidency but inevitably face the disappearance of its Congressional and gubernatorial majorities. The certain strategy for such self-inflicted wounds involves the nomination of a presidential candidate who exemplifies the most unpleasant—and un-conservative—characteristics that mainstream media and liberal pundits invariably impose upon the right.


This column appeared first in National Review. 

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Comments (15)

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  1. Nani  •  Mar 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Sigh Michael. Honestly, you MUST realize that each Trump win added paint to the canvas of bigotry that the nativists painted. EVERY time Trump got away with something, that painting got more and more defined. At this point, the brand of conservatism and the party of Republicans is so sullied, that it cannot be recovered. And after the Dem ads hit the air waves and social media, no decent person will want to claim association with the party of Trump.

    I hope that every Republican will learn from this. The next time a group claims to be the base of a party they hate and have zero respect for…the next time media claims to speak for a party they refuse to support…these people need to be told to take their poison and go else where. If they are SO ANGRY and feel SO BETRAYED, LEAVE and create a party they can HONESTLY support. These people MUST be told this constantly; relentlessly confronted. The new party MUST have loyalty among its principles. It must be civil. Most of all, it must understand that unity is necessary to accomplish anything and that compromise is the NOT a dirty word or even a weak one. It is the first word spoken by this country as states gathered together to form a UNITED country.

    • NoRightToNotBeOffended  •  Mar 24, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      Yes, because it worked so well when we held our nose and pulled the lever for McCain.
      Worked even better when evangelicals stayed home and did not vote for Romney.
      And now it is Trump. Don't vote and stay home and then Whine for the next 4 years or more.
      Today Medved said we have to put someone to beat Hillary according to polls that is not Trump.
      If you want to look at the polls, only Kasich beats Hillary and Bernie beats everyone. So let's just appoint Bernie president. I mean he wills the polls after all.

      • Ty  •  Mar 28, 2016 at 11:41 pm

        I agree with Jonah Goldberg, whether Trump is nominated or not, the republican party is doomed.

        pick a side and destroy the other side, the aftermath will leave shattered remnants that even Bernie Sanders could topple with ease after barrages that highlighted how far towards the socialist direction he wanted to go.

        This will be like when the Persians and Greeks/western peoples clashed in those costly devastating wars, leaving each side weak and easier to be assaulted by the Islamic hordes that never would have had a chance if those civilizations were at full strength. Perhaps Persia would still be Zoroastrian or whatever other more noble pre islamic religion dominated.

        Ah well, paradise lost. I'm not a conservative, so I am not the one who needs to pick up the pieces.

  2. Rizzo  •  Mar 24, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    What a surprise…. Nani spewing more nonsense.
    The ONLY people who hate The Republican Party is you Nani, and Democrats.
    I will support our Candidate. Because NO REPUBLICAN believes Hillary is better for America than our candidate. NONE.
    You can NOT claim to be a Republican and also help Hilliary win The White House.
    These actions are incompatible.

  3. Robert Spanfelner  •  Mar 25, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    I don't see Trump having a chance in hell of winning the general election. On the other hand Kasich or Cruz could beat who ever the democratic candidate might be in 2016 and a better than 50/50 chance it will not be Clinton. Sure a disappointment to see the republicans basically blowing this opportunity.

    • Rizzo  •  Mar 25, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      I agree with Cruz, but Kasich…. come on?
      He could barely even win his home state.
      He needs to get the hell out!

  4. Phillip Silver  •  Mar 25, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Can Anyone Replace Trump? Where is this answered in your column? I really want to read your answer to the question you posed. Where can i find it?

  5. Rizzo  •  Mar 25, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    His answer is a contested convention in which his RINO leadership can handpick their puppet, bypassing the will of the people and the consent of the governed.

  6. Jim Bird  •  Mar 26, 2016 at 12:52 am

    Ref: Conundrum
    Please Michael, why try to apply the past stats him to Trump's success? You're not as wordy or convoluted and incoherent as Nani, but you must realize that The Donald doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks about him, what he says or his way of doing things. There is a huge segment of the Republican Party that feels, whether genuine or not, the same way. That is, after being screwed for so many election cycles by the GOP, WE DON'T GIVE A DAMN WHAT TRUMP SAYS OR NOW, WHAT THE BACK-STABBING REPUBLICANS DO. WE HATE WHAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAS BECOME AND WE DESPISE THE LIEING COWARDS ACROSS THE AISLE.
    Stupid question: Did Reince vet Trump before accepting him as a nominee? The answer of course is "no." AND THE GOP THINKS I'M STUPID TO CONTINUE VOTING FOR LIARS. The GOP has continually dug this hole until it has rendered the Party impotent and completely irrelevant. Now we get a Queen dictator, who is only second in line of the most corrupt and disgusting people that America has produced. This is going to be 16 consecutive years of tyranny, death and destruction.
    Do you really think our anger is unreasonable? The Republican Party is literally run by imbeciles who have no concern for their constituency and now they have destroyed the Party of Lincoln. How do they lose to a person who has a trillion felonies and even far worst atrocities than that against her?

  7. John Train  •  Mar 26, 2016 at 4:17 am

    THIS IS HILLARY:Don't Give Iran Another Pass
    by James Conway  & Charles WaldUS NEWS AND WORLD REPORT 3-25-16

    • Gen. (Ret.) James Conway is former commandant of the Marine Corps. Gen. He co-chairs the Iran Strategy Council. Gen. (Ret.) Charles Wald is former deputy commander of United States European Command. He co-chairs the Iran Strategy Council

    The Iran nuclear deal, negotiated last year, is trumpeted by its defenders as the only alternative to war. However, Tehran has chosen a different way to commemorate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. When the time came in October to begin rolling back its enrichment capability, Iran tested nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in violation of a legally-binding U.N. ban. Then, right before the deal was officially implemented in January, its Revolutionary Guard Corps seized ten U.S. Navy sailors, paraded their images in public and staged mocking reenactments nationwide.

    The Iran Strategy Council of senior U.S. military leaders, which we co-chair, was commissioned by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs to provide analysis of the deal's strategic implications and recommend actions to mitigate them. As we predicted in our initial assessment in September, the strategic balance in the Middle East has already begun tilting dangerously toward Iran, its allies and its proxies, making conflict more likely. Now, the pace and degree to which shift is occurring exceeds even our prior analysis, and threatens to overwhelm the ability of the United States to correct course.

    This is because the JCPOA actually encourages Iran's destabilizing ambitions. It allows Iran to bolster its military capabilities through the lifting of sanctions and renewed access to international arms markets and advanced technologies. Already thousands of Iranian soldiers backed by Russian airpower and Hezbollah have turned the tide of war in Syria, outpacing even the Islamic State group in the number of Syrian civilians killed or forced to flee.
    By tolerating these and other provocations, the U.S. may have abrogated its own obligations under the JCPOA. Unless this trajectory changes, Tehran's increased belligerence of the past few months will accelerate over the course of the agreement. It is therefore imperative to develop a comprehensive strategy to counter the fallout from the agreement, and past U.S. inaction.
    First, we must rebuild fraying ties and improve coordination with our regional allies, many of whom are already voicing serious concerns for their own security and the future of U.S. leadership in the wake of the deal. To maintain our commitment to Israel's qualitative military edge, a new memorandum of understanding is needed to raise defense assistance significantly from the current ten-year $30 billion agreement.
    [OPINION: Obama's Iran Nuclear Deal Is a Bad Deal Off to a Worse Start]
    Simultaneously, we must improve regional defense coordination with our Arab allies. This requires a coherent shared strategy and the expeditious transfer of appropriate U.S. weapons and technology, including theater missile defense, maritime defense, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. In tandem, we need to reengage wavering partners that have been pulled into Iran's orbit, foremost Iraq.
    Second, we must ensure credible military options to deter and deny Iran's progress toward nuclear weapons capability. the strategic balance in the Middle East has already begun tilting dangerously toward Iran, its allies and its proxies, making conflict more likely. Congress should pass a resolution declaring U.S. policy to prevent Iran from achieving this goal, and authorize use of military force against its nuclear infrastructure under certain clearly-defined breaches of the JCPOA.
    Third, we must recognize Iran as the prime mover of conflict, rather than an honest broker, throughout the region. Most importantly, the U.S. and its partners cannot hope to stabilize Syria if it gives credence to Iran's proposals for ending the conflict by re-entrenching Bashar Assad's regime in power.
    Fourth, we need to preserve the U.S. military edge through recapitalization, investment and modernization of our forces. Otherwise, given sequestration and other spending cuts, the U.S. military will be trying to counter Iran's growing expenditures and modernizing forces with fewer soldiers, antiquated platforms and decreasing readiness.
    [READ: Political Cartoons on Iran]
    Fifth, U.S. credibility must be restored. This is the bedrock of deterrence and can be strengthened through unequivocal assurances of protection for our allies, clearly-articulated penalties for Iranian belligerence and sophisticated diplomacy to leverage other countries' shared concerns over the potential for regional instability generated by expanding Iranian power in the Middle East.
    Though not without cost, these efforts are minimal compared to the severe and accumulating consequences of continuing passivity in the face of Iran's hostility. These efforts are also urgent. Just as Tehran has already begun exploiting the nuclear agreement's flaws, so the U.S. and its allies must move equally swiftly to redress them.
    We must act now to mitigate the negative strategic consequences of the JCPOA. 

  8. American  •  Mar 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    No one should even try. Trump's socio-economic and socio-political platform is perfect. Trump 2016!

  9. Caroline Kent  •  Mar 30, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Sometimes, I think that I have woken up in the "Twilight Zone," as I wonder how any Republican can support a man whose political comments have been crude, sexist, racist and without substance.

    Trump has not offered anything new. Building a wall and immigration reform has been talked about for years. The problem is not the wall. It can be built, but most likely without any help from Mexico. The real problem is how to deal with the twelve or more million people already here. Trump has no viable solution. Does anyone think that the US would really invade people's homes, deport their parents and leave their American children in the custody of a state's child welfare department.

    Sadly, the number of candidates running for the Republican nomination caused such a split in the vote that some of our best choices were forced to suspend their campaigns. Many feel that since Trump has won the support of about 40% of the Republican vote that he should be our candidate. He is still the candidate of the minority of Republican voters and those that think he should be given the nomination because he has more delegates, than the remaining others, might want to think about this again,

    This may be the most important election of our life time. Do you really want to take a chance on someone with the giant ego who shows ignorance of the most important issues facing our country. And by the way, I am not a member of the so called establishment. I have always tried to vote for the candidate that I believed would be best for the job. However, if you consider anyone against Trump an establishment voter, I suppose that I am with this group this year.

  10. john Kelso  •  Mar 31, 2016 at 12:00 am

    From Reagan to Obama immigration enforcement has been a lie. So reform means not stopping the problem. Mexico and the Middle East have had more than their share of people allowed amnesty. they get to go without immigration for a few decades. they got 20-30 million in love the past 4 decades! So no reform is necessary at all.
    When the silly term mean spirited is used it is always against someone whose policies mean business. Why should my family lose its place in America with laws that force companies and public entities to hire newly amnestied illegals? No other candidate in this race has the strength to stand up and lead. everyone of them owes favors to donors and lobbyists.
    Donald has never been called a racist in 5 decades of being a public figure! so that name calling garbage is stupid and will be used against any nominee of the Republican party. The racist label itself is used as a bullying tactic.
    Really Maybe it is time for the Republican party to fade. we didn't start the country with it we don't need to keep it. If we have to worry about peoples feelings over what is the right thing to do then this party is weak and no longer is viable. Let us start a new party, like the Revolutionary Party. after this coming game in Cleveland No one will go for the Republicans anymore anyway. They will realize that the elections are just a big false meant to give the plebes the appearance of democracy. I can not vote for any candidate who has accepted money from any Pacs or Lobbyists.

  11. jeff  •  Apr 29, 2016 at 1:19 am

    So GOPe Medved advocates surrender. What is the point of winning an election when you run as a democrat? In other words, because of republicans like yourself, we have lost our country. Thanks Mike! Any wonder your ratings tanked in our area and your radio show was replaced by Savage.

    • James  •  May 28, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Jeff you have the best comment on the thred so far. You are completely correct

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