Republicans have a plan to stop Donald Trump in the next 100 days, using an array of tactics to stop the GOP’s frontrunner from getting anywhere near the nomination that could include calling on a big name in in the party to run for president against him.
As Trump has run away with primaries and expanded his delegate lead over Ted Cruz, there has been a growing movement within the party to stop the real estate magnate and reality television star from actually securing the party’s nomination. Many leaders with the Republican Party see a Trump candidacy as a form of political suicide, a deeply unpopular candidate who will kill down-ticket races and could potentially turn the House and Senate back to Democrats in huge numbers.
Some party leaders have been taking shots at Trump, the most visible of these efforts being Mitt Romney’s speech decrying Trump. But now the opposition is coming together in the most concerted effort yet, with party leaders coming up with what the New York Times calls “a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election.”
The plan could include a run from an independent, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry seen as a potential candidate.
The New York Times noted that William Kristol, a leading conservative mind and editor of the Weekly Standard, has already circulated a memo about how to get the candidate on the ballot.
“Among the recruits under discussion are Tom Coburn, a former Oklahoma senator who has told associates that he would be open to running, and Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who was suggested as a possible third-party candidate at a meeting of conservative activists on Thursday in Washington.
“Mr. Coburn, who left the Senate early last year to receive treatment for cancer, said in an interview that Mr. Trump ‘needs to be stopped’ and that he expected to back an independent candidate against him. He said he had little appetite for a campaign of his own, but did not flatly rule one out.”
There are a number of powerful Republicans already on board with the efforts to stop Donald Trump. Karl Rove, the architect of George W. Bush’s successful runs for the White House, has reportedly been gathering support among the party’s major donors to oppose Trump’s run.
Rove reportedly told donors at a closed-door event last month that Trump’s presidency would be a disaster for Republicans. The speech reportedly inspired some in the room, but it showed almost immediate cracks, the New York Times reported. Maine Governor Paul LePage was one of the most vocal against Trump, but within a week, he had reversed course and publicly endorsed Trump.
Others have laid out the case against Trump. Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and CIA, said Trump’s call for terrorist suspects to be waterboarded and threats to target families of terrorists — which is banned by the Geneva Convention — make him unfit to serve as Commander in Chief.
“If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act,” Hayden said Friday during an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher (via the Huffington Post). “You are required not to follow an unlawful order that would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.”
Some party insiders believe that stopping Donald Trump would be the same as giving up on the 2016 election. If Trump failed to secure enough delegates for the nomination and was stopped at a brokered convention this summer, the party would likely lose his supporters. If the party ran an independent against Trump, it would split the vote and clear the way for Clinton.
But not everyone thinks that stopping Donald Trump from running is akin to handing the presidency to Hillary Clinton.
“This is still a winnable race for a free-market conservative that’s not Donald Trump,” David McIntosh, president of the conservative Club for Growth, told the New York Times. “It’s not a layup, but there’s a clear path to victory.”
But there are many who believe the efforts to stop Donald Trump are too late. The latest polls show that his support with Republican votes has reached the 50-percent mark, and he is predicted to win the majority of upcoming primaries. His support could soon be too widespread to stop the candidacy, many experts believe.
[Image via Instagram/Donald Trump]