It’s hard for me to claim that I’m not a straight-ticket Republican considering that the last time I supported a Democrat was David Boren in the early 90s. However, there are a handful of occasions when I abstained from voting. If the GOP nominee comes as a result of a brokered convention that supersedes the will of the voters, I will be abstaining.
I’m a #NeverTrump guy, so there’s a chance I may abstain, anyway. However, as much as I do not want Trump to be the nominee, I would never support the nomination of someone who is propelled by anything other than the vote of the people. That seems to be the plan in the Republican Establishment’s camp as they decide which of their two remaining candidates have the best chance at the convention. It may come down to which one, if either, can pull out a victory in their home state.
Neither of you have a path to the nomination that doesn’t include a brokered convention or the strangely convenient deaths of the two frontrunners. If you’re not going to call for double homicides, then you’re pushing for a brokered (aka stolen) convention. That is not acceptable. It’s not American. It will do nothing but destroy the party and hurt the country. If you choose to go down this path, you will be directly responsible for willful acts of destruction to the Constitution and the GOP.
At this point, there seems to be only three possible motivations to stay in the race:
- A Stolen Convention: You will lose the general election and you will destroy the party in the process if you are able to scheme your way to the nomination. If that’s your motivation for staying in, then you do not believe in the right of the people to select our leaders in a Democratic fashion as guaranteed for this Republic by the Constitution.
- You Support Donald Trump: If you’ve cut a backroom deal with Trump to block Ted Cruz by staying in, then you’re even worse off ethically than had you pushed for the brokered convention.
- Working a Deal with Ted Cruz: This is the only acceptable motivation for not suspending at this point, not because I’m a Ted Cruz supporter but because it’s honorable. Parlaying your position in the race to earn a spot in a Cruz administration is an unfortunate part of politics but it’s a proper use of your positioning and something that is done all the time (looking at you, Chris Christie and Jeff Sessions). We’ll know within the next two weeks if this is reality.
In case anyone is wondering why working a deal with Trump is different from working a deal with Cruz, it’s because the Trump deal would be a smokescreen to divide the party by keeping the anti-Trump vote diluted while a Cruz deal would be an attempt at unifying the party to coalesce around conservatism. Helping Trump keep Cruz down is different than helping Cruz rise over Trump. One is divisive, the other is unifying.
Then, there’s also the fact that a Trump nomination would be almost as bad for the country as a brokered convention, but I digress.
Some will say that abstaining to vote, whether it’s for Trump or the brokered convention dynamic duo, is a vote for Hillary Clinton. As Americans, we are given the privilege of helping to decide our leaders. That privilege is tainted when it becomes a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. Moreover, it comes down to two perspectives regarding this particular general election. First, I’m not convinced that a Trump Presidency really would be the “lesser” of evils compared to a Clinton Presidency. Under no circumstance would I want to see Clinton as President and under no circumstance would I want to see Trump as President. When seen through that perspective, abstaining is a righteous choice because it becomes a zero-sum game.
The second situation – not voting for someone who stole the nomination at the convention – is a matter of long-term principle for the country. I would support either Rubio or Kasich if they won the nomination outright, but stealing the nomination through convention is, in my opinion, equal to a Constitutional crime. We cannot as a country reward those who circumvented the system for personal gain. If Cruz was not a valid option to defeat Trump, then an argument can be made that Rubio and Kasich were acting out of patriotism against a force opposed to American values. With Cruz positioned to win the nomination if they drop out, it’s no longer a matter of helping the country but rather helping their egos. They can say what they want about their patriotic duty to stop Trump, but the argument doesn’t hold unless they also believe that Cruz is an existential threat… which he’s not.
At this point, Senator Rubio and Governor Kasich, you are obstructing and scheming. Stop lying to the American people by pretending that you can win the nomination. Admit that you were considering destroying the party through a brokered convention, then drop out. Otherwise, you’re traitors to the party and representatives of corruption.