How to Defeat Donald Trump

 

mRy1-WKNqy9pppPiVZx0FaQIn the 1980 Presidential Election, Republican candidate Ronald Reagan faced a third party challenger, in the form of disaffected Republican Rep. John Anderson. He was a ‘moderate’ who wanted to raise gas taxes, register guns, and was skeptical about the effect of energy deregulation on solving the energy crisis. He initially ran for the GOP nomination but went third party when he didn’t get anywhere in the Republican primaries. I am old enough to remember how the Main Stream Media swooned over him, how they said he was the harbinger of a new era in politics. On Election Day, Ronald Reagan buried him. While he got 6.6% of the popular vote, he didn’t win a single state. Even with a splinter candidate on the ballot, Ronald Reagan still managed to win over 50% of the popular vote.

Considering that Republican Party of today has another loose cannon – this time in the form of Donald Trump — I was wondering if there are lessons in Reagan’s handling of Anderson that would be applicable to the current situation. I think there are. The most important is that you actually have to campaign for something. Ronald Reagan clearly did. Everybody knew where he stood. Anderson? Well, he’s in the middle, at least that’s what Walter Cronkite told me. John Anderson is a moderate like me. What’s he stand for? I dunno, moderation I guess? You see Anderson’s problem.

Trump is obviously different in this regard. Everybody knows Trump is against Mexican immigration, and that this has fueled his rise. It is fueling him because conservatives feel stabbed in the back by the GOP establishment over it. To beat Trump, you must champion immigration with the same zeal that he does. Hug Trump on immigration, not allowing an inch of daylight between your position and his. This will have the effect of neutralizing immigration in the primaries. Of course, to do this effectively, you have to act as if you really believe what you say and — to do that — you really have to believe it, advice that can’t really be followed either by Sen. Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush. With immigration effectively dealt with, you are free to go after Trump for his liberal and anti-conservative past, and the electorate will now listen to you.

You know what you don’t do? You don’t dismiss his supporters – core conservatives and Reagan Democrats – as crazies or whacko birds. You need their support in the general election. Also you don’t do what Erick Erickson over at Red State has done, disinvite Trump from the RedState Gathering, whatever that is. While Erickson is free to embrace and shun anybody he wants to at his private event, I cannot imagine a more counterproductive strategy for defeating Trump. Because the other thing fueling Trump’s rise is the conservative base’s distrust of the Republican Establishment, as Glenn Reynold’s recent USA Today article so eloquently explains. The average conservative in fly-over country feels – and rightly so – that the GOP establishment is using their position and privilege to stack the deck against conservative outsiders. By denying Donald Trump – a legitimate GOP contender – access to a conservative forum, Erickson is merely reinforcing this perception, and therefore adding fuel to Trump’s continued rise.

You know, until the Trump phenomenon came along, I imagine conservatives were feeling pretty good about 2016: The GOP’s many great candidates contrast favorably with the Democrats’ old retreads, all of whom are hobbled with Obama’s abysmal record. I never felt that way. I have been fretting for a while about the effect that the surrenders, back-room double-dealings, and outright condescension of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner will have on the upcoming election, as well as the poor performance of moderate hopefuls John McCain and Mitt Romney, who the party elders touted as the best candidates to beat Obama. To me, pent-up frustration with one’s own side is an explosive condition. I expected something to give.

What I feared most was a third-party challenger. So far this hasn’t materialized but the situation remains dangerous and unpredictable. This can still be dealt with, but first, the GOP has to get its head out of the sand and look at the root cause of the problem – in the mirror. Because, unlike Ronald Reagan, nobody knows what you stand for, and nobody trusts you anymore.

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  1. Haydn Fan Inactive
    Haydn Fan
    @HaydnFan

    Yes, I remember John Anderson.   I aslo remember the pundit class pontificating that it would be a much more suspenseful election night than it turned out to be.

    But today, I’m not sure it’s a matter of the GOP having its head in the sand.   At first I thought it might be,  but too many people have been saying the same thing for the GOP not to understand the situation.

    Defeating Trump the messenger is fine, but  I don’t want to see Trump’s message defeated.    I am coming to believe that the  GOP  wants  Trump’s message defeated every bit as much as they want Trump the personality out of the picture.  If that is the case, then the GOP is dead to me.

    The first candidate I ever supported was Ronald Reagan, but ended up  having to cast a losing vote for Gerald Ford  that year.   The GOP and its  ‘Rockefeller Republicans’ really didn’t really like Reagan too  much back in that era.  What we see now is the next generation of this  ‘Rockefeller Republican’ archtype  back in control of the GOP –  and contemporary  ‘Reaganites’   once again  marginalized to the sidelines, appeased for only as long as they are willing to continue being lied to.

    You’re absolutely right. The trust is gone,  squandered away.

    (And no – I do not for a nanosecond equate  Trump and Reagan.)

    • #1
  2. Mickerbob Inactive
    Mickerbob
    @Mickerbob

    The anger against NAFTA never died.  It showed itself in 1992 vs. Bush 41 and during the last Comprehensive Immigration Reform attempted by Bush 43 and the Republican House.  There is a large group of people that will vote for a Republican provided he or she finds a way to greatness and stops the Third World wave. Either through stopping immigration or stopping manufacturing from leaving the United States.  Regardless of the merit, these are the desires. Great Post!

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  3. Mister Magic Inactive
    Mister Magic
    @MisterMagic

    I didn’t really see a solution beyond “look in the mirror”.  How does the GOP keep the Trump voters while getting rid of Trump and which candidates do you think can pull that off?

    • #3
  4. Pete Lincoln
    Pete
    @user_166838

    Providing an explanation to Trump supporters why they are wrong to support him will not do the job. It won’t be heard or will be considered establishment.
    Give them an alternative to support while retaining their outsider/non-establishment/tough-guy/straight-shooter sentiment.
    I remember the ad-hoc debate in 2012 between Gingrich and Cain. I think a similar event this time around may be a scenario where Trump supporters could voluntarily open up to another candidate.
    To me the obvious alternative to this type of voter is Fiorina.
    A nice relaxed two-person sit down may be a good way to gently steal some of his supporters. Or at least convince his supporters that their choice of candidate does not have a single obvious answer.

    • #4
  5. Haydn Fan Inactive
    Haydn Fan
    @HaydnFan

    Mister Magic:I didn’t really see a solution beyond “look in the mirror”. How does the GOP keep the Trump voters while getting rid of Trump and which candidates do you think can pull that off?

    I believe that Ted Cruz is the most likely  candidate to pull it  off because of all the candidates, he is the most likely to  view  problems  through a Constitutional/Founding Principles lens.   That makes him far more likely to address the root causes of a  problem  rather than treating  symptoms  based upon some extra-legal, extra-constitutional considerations (for example, that illegal immigration is actually an ‘act of love’)

    Another  big problem that the nation faces is open disregard  – and even contempt – for the law.   I believe that Ted Cruz has the discipline  to ensure that any solutions also have a sound basis in established  law.  Having the law solidly on your side makes it more difficult to vilify an individual  for controversial decisions.  If  people are unhappy with those legal solutions, they will then be incentivized to   remedy the situation  properly – through  the legislative process  as intended.  Of the candidates,   Cruz seems  the least likely to  ‘wing it’  with emotional argument  trumping  logic, reason, and the law  (not that any of the other GOP candidates are anywhere near as reckless as Obama)

    • #5
  6. Brad2971 Member
    Brad2971
    @

    Before I sign onto any idea to “defeat Donald Trump,” what proof do we have that Trump is in this for anything more than mere entertainment purposes? Seriously, would it surprise anyone if Trump not only announced in the next 60 days that he is putting his erstwhile presidential campaign on the shelf, but also announced his Celebrity Apprentice panel for the upcoming season?

    • #6
  7. Haydn Fan Inactive
    Haydn Fan
    @HaydnFan

    Brad2971:Before I sign onto any idea to “defeat Donald Trump,” what proof do we have that Trump is in this for anything more than mere entertainment purposes? Seriously, would it surprise anyone if Trump not only announced in the next 60 days that he is putting his erstwhile presidential campaign on the shelf, but also announced his Celebrity Apprentice panel for the upcoming season?

    We have absolutely none.

    But the issues Trump has raised are real,  not going anywhere,  and  a high priority  to many voters.

    • #7
  8. Brad2971 Member
    Brad2971
    @

    Haydn Fan: But the issues Trump has raised are real, not going anywhere, and a high priority to many voters.

    Even though, in all likelihood, Trump may have ended up doing the GOP a favor (such as it is) by making, at the very least, emotional opposition to immigration toxic? Put some thought into it: How likely will, say, Ted Cruz bring up border security and cracking down on visa overstays if he’s going to have “Mexicans are sending rapists” thrown back in his face?

    How will that, er, compelled silence bring over the “Trump voter?”

    • #8
  9. Haydn Fan Inactive
    Haydn Fan
    @HaydnFan

    Brad2971: Ted Cruz bring up border security and cracking down on visa overstays if he’s going to have “Mexicans are sending rapists” thrown back in his face?

    That’s too easy.  All he need do is cite official  crime statistics and explain that every incidence is one that never should  have happened in the first place – and has  happened only because officials failed to uphold their oath of office.

    Ted Cruz doesn’t have to apologize for Donald Trump’s hyperbole.    What makes you think he does?

    • #9
  10. Mister Magic Inactive
    Mister Magic
    @MisterMagic

    Thank you for your substantive issues. I hope these voters get serious and jump off the bull before he gets too wild to jump off safely.

    • #10
  11. Mister Magic Inactive
    Mister Magic
    @MisterMagic

    substantive answers, I meant.

    • #11
  12. Peter Fumo Inactive
    Peter Fumo
    @Wolverine

    There is an irony in what Erickson did. One of the things the base (and me) is frustrated over is the idea that you can be shut down for having opinions that are unpopular amongst the elite. So what does Erickson do? He tries to shut Trump down, which just contributes to the problem. I remember Anderson quite well as that was my first Presidential election, and Reagan was not afraid to debate him, without Carter present no less. Our leaders were a more self-confident breed back then.

    • #12
  13. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    This is just too easy.

    Candidate Fill-In-The-Blank: “Today, America needs fewer immigrants. It is time to reduce, by 50% or more, the number of people we legally allow to settle in this country each year.”

    As soon as all of the other candidates, including Donald Trump, jump up to object, pulled by the big donor strings attached to their backs or by their blind acceptance of liberal premises, Candidate Fill-In-The-Blank will begin to separate himself from the field and attract the interest of every real conservative – Republican and Democrat – in the country.

    That’s all we’re waiting for: someone who values us above all others.

    • #13
  14. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Agreed that Ted Cruz could steal a lot of Trump’s thunder if Trump’s critics would simply tone it down a notch or two. It’s one thing to argue that Trump is an untrustworthy crony capitalist with poor leadership and a Gingrich-like hodgepodge of policy ideas. It’s something else to casually insult everyone who supports even an isolated comment from Trump. Insulting voters you need as allies is plainly foolish.

    Many pundits have been wringing their hands over “populism” lately as if that’s a dirty word. Well, no popular election was ever won without appealing to both policy wonks and to common people with little interest in or patience for politics. Any candidate needs both concrete plans and charisma. Prove your pragmatism.

    Incidentally, I predicted before the debate that Trump and Cruz would do well because they are the best able to respond spontaneously without reciting talking points. The NBC poll Steyn cited yesterday suggests I was right.

    Haydn Fan: Another  big problem that the nation faces is open disregard  – and even contempt – for the law.

    That’s a problem of both parties. Most conservatives will hold their noses and vote for corrupt Republicans, but the lack of confidence will affect voter turnout.

    I’d care more who the final candidate will be if Texans were allowed equal input. My state will be offered only three or four candidates, with one having already secured the lead. So much for universal suffrage.

    • #14
  15. nom de plume Inactive
    nom de plume
    @nomdeplume

    Trump will defeat himself and if he runs third party, all that is required to beat him is a strong and true conservative.

    • #15
  16. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    Bush will lose, Rubio might whether Trump runs as a third party candidate or not.     The others could lose if Trump runs as a third party candidate but will win if Hillary fails to corner the fraud vote.   Is there a scenario where Trump wins?  Only one.  Hillary wins because he runs as a third party candidate and he becomes the new George Soros, crony in chief.  He’s much more likable than Soros.

    • #16
  17. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    There is a certain similarity in style between Trump and the Clintons.  They both use an approach that is something like (to paraphrase Alfred E. Newman), “What, me apologize?”

    Instead of the reflexive backpedaling and grovelling that usually springs into action the moment the first signs of phony outrage appear in the twitterverse, both the Donald and the Clintons just remain completely unfazed.  Whatever the controversy, they both respond:  “This is just an unfair attack by my enemies.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.”

    Maybe, just maybe, Americans want a candidate who is not a coward.  Maybe even a corrupt hack like Hillary or an unqualified buffoon like Trump is better than a candidate who crumbles like a cookie at the first hint of media disapproval.

    • #17
  18. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    In my little peon position, the most I can do is relate to my friends and family who seemed excited about him, that I am not, and I won’t vote for him.  If history is a guide, he should implode or get bored if attention is not coming his way. He is basically a spoiled, rude, impulsive bore, and his character is much more similar to the current President, who pouts and bulldozes over others to get his way.  He is a faux conservative on 1 issue, a two ulcer man on four ulcer pay.

    • #18
  19. Real Jane Galt Coolidge
    Real Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The GOP finally has a candidate that has broad appeal withing its own base and across the electorate.  Its first instincts is to kill him off via dirty tricks or any other way possible and to vilify is followers.  Is it any wonder that the GOP is a third rate party in a field of two?

    • #19
  20. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    If this Trump business is not enough for the GOP to finally listen to the base about the importance of closing the border, then I fear nothing will convince them.

    If that’s the case, then why stay GOP?   If they won’t listen to us, why vote for them?

    Perhaps we should all go to Trump’s 3rd party and make the GOP the outsider, marginal party.

    • #20
  21. Wordcooper Inactive
    Wordcooper
    @Wordcooper

    How about we make a plan that directly (ie. inversely)  ties immigration to unemployment? That would kill two birds with one stone. Highlight our unemployment/underemployment problems and immigration problems at the same time.

    Soundbite: “It isn’t FAIR to either party to allow immigrants into the country when we can’t properly employ our own citizens.”

    This would all be after building a fence, of course.

    • #21
  22. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    The good news is that the reason so many are following the Trump show is because he has been speaking some solidly conservative language. The depth of what he is saying may be questioned and his pandering to emotion could be a concern but such a campaign will only last so long.

    We have several solid candidates. If only they can keep from losing their cool. As the field gets culled and the constant glare of the 24-hour news cycle catches up to Trump, a candidate will emerge with conservative bonafides and a bit more legitimacy.

    Candidates like Trump and Bush can be very positive. They are both saying things that get the attention of those we need in order to win. They both also stoke a gnawing fear in those same people, both of the Bush name and the old, rich, white guy meme. How the messages of both are absorbed and the accompanying fears are laid to rest, are the key to pulling in the new conservative voting block that will be needed to create the change that reaches deeper than just winning elections.

    • #22
  23. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Of the polls showing that Trump is solidly in the lead, how many are polling likely Republican voters or Republicans who voted in previous Republican primaries? Gallup’s latest poll is a survey of all Americans, not likely Republican voters. The recent NBC/Survey Monkey poll also does not delineate from registered or likely Republican voters but draws from anyone of any political stripe or even non-voting background.

    Count me as being suspect of these polls that seem to be measuring popularity or awareness rather than who registered Republicans are likely to vote for.

    Before Trump can win a general election he needs to win enough Republican primaries to take the nomination. Let’s say for argument’s sake that Trump currently has 25% of registered Republican voters even if that can’t be substantiated. That means that 75% of registered Republican voters haven’t coalesced around a preferred candidate primarily because there are too many candidates in the race at the moment. Of course, a good portion of those registered Republicans won’t vote for Trump under any condition even if he does become the nominee.

    Trump may see that a third-party run won’t get him the Oval Office and stay in the Republican race. If he does, the questions will get tougher and the fireworks will become more intense. It may be one thing to take swipes at the media but a skilled opponent in a more free-wheeling debate has the potential of making Trump look foolish and unprepared banking only on bluster and bellowing rather than coherent solutions. When that happens it will be difficult to claim that it’s some sort of Republican establishment conspiracy.

    • #23
  24. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    If Trump’s rise is primarily fueled by immigration — legal as well as illegal — Cruz cannot take over from him (at least not without a position change) but Walker can.  And Rubio’s Gang of Eight move will have doomed him.

    If his rise is primarily fueled by anger at the establishment, Cruz may be able to take over from him and Walker may not.  Walker may hold the positions, but he does not have the style.  He will criticize leadership, but he will never outdo Cruz in expressing anger.  And Rubio may still have a shot and this segment.

    Of course, it is really some combination.  But here is what I wonder: do these voters want passion, or do they want determination?  Because the latter can be much quieter, and much more effective.

    • #24
  25. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Real Jane Galt:The GOP finally has a candidate that has broad appeal withing its own base and across the electorate. Its first instincts is to kill him off via dirty tricks or any other way possible and to vilify is followers. Is it any wonder that the GOP is a third rate party in a field of two?

    What evidence do you have of Trump’s appeal across the electorate?  National polls show him losing to Hillary in a head to head.  4 out of 5 Republicans don’t support him. His appeal is very limited.

    What dirty tricks has the GOP tried or contemplated to “kill off” Trump?  Methinks you’re just throwing out baseless comments because you’re frustrated.

    • #25
  26. Real Jane Galt Coolidge
    Real Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Frozen Chosen:

    What evidence do you have of Trump’s appeal across the electorate? National polls show him losing to Hillary in a head to head. 4 out of 5 Republicans don’t support him. His appeal is very limited.

    What dirty tricks has the GOP tried or contemplated to “kill off” Trump? Methinks you’re just throwing out baseless comments because you’re frustrated.

    On conservative web sites there are thread after thread on how do we stop Trump.  Many discussing dirty tricks to keep him out of debates and out of primary elections.  Even this thread is titled “How to Defeat Donald Trump”.  Seems the GOP and conservatives are more worried about Trump winning than any other candidate either GOP or Democrat that is running for office.

    My statement as to broad support is based on my observations.  I know many in both parties and unaffiliated that seem to be paying attention to Trump.  As for polls, well push polls don’t really impress me a lot.  Especially at this stage in this environment.

    Not sure why you think I am frustrated or why I would be frustrated over anything.  As for my comments being baseless, they are no more baseless than yours, maybe even less so.

    • #26
  27. Haydn Fan Inactive
    Haydn Fan
    @HaydnFan

    Leigh: do these voters want passion, or do they want determination?

    A parallel historical  analogy exists in the Korean War.   The GOP desperately needs a Matthew Ridgway right now.  The retreating has to stop.

    The national GOP seems to have become  master of the tactical retreat.  Too many tactical retreats are costing us the war.  The troops  want a rock that will stand firm with the conviction necessary to  eventually turn the tide.

    I believe that  determination ultimately trumps passion,  but that passion is still  necessary  to  restore  and maintain morale.

    • #27
  28. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    At some point, Trump’s supporters have to be able to see that their support is likely to help nominate the candidate they dislike the most.

    I oppose Jeb Bush too.  We could be allies, if they settled on another plausible candidate.  I would vote for Walker, Rubio, Cruz, Perry, or Jindal over Bush, and likely Christie or Fiorina.  I would consider Kasich and Paul.

    There is only one candidate scoring over 3% in the polls who could convince me to vote for Jeb Bush.  That one candidate is Donald Trump.  I will vote to stop a “Republican” who praises single-payer healthcare, steals talking points from the Wisconsin Left to attack a genuinely conservative governor, and thinks giving money to Hillary Clinton is OK because it served his self-interest.  I will do that even if I have to vote for my second-last choice to do it.  Even if I have to vote for Bush III.

    You will notice I didn’t bother to mention anything about political incorrectness. His style doesn’t impress me, but this is about substance.   Look seriously at Trump’s negatives: there are probably as many of me as there are Trump supporters.

    I have my line in the sand too.  I really, really don’t want to vote for Bush, and I hope it wouldn’t come to that.  Maybe it would be Trump vs. Rubio.  But I will if I have to.

    • #28
  29. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Larry3435: Maybe, just maybe, Americans want a candidate who is not a coward. Maybe even a corrupt hack like Hillary or an unqualified buffoon like Trump is better than a candidate who crumbles like a cookie at the first hint of media disapproval.

    Yes, because going on a multi-day, borderline misogynistic tirade in response to tough questions is so much better.

    Aaron Miller: Agreed that Ted Cruz could steal a lot of Trump’s thunder if Trump’s critics would simply tone it down a notch or two. It’s one thing to argue that Trump is an untrustworthy crony capitalist with poor leadership and a Gingrich-like hodgepodge of policy ideas. It’s something else to casually insult everyone who supports even an isolated comment from Trump. Insulting voters you need as allies is plainly foolish.

    At the risk of sounding like a Trump supporter (“You just don’t get it!”) I think you underestimate how frustrating it is not only to see what should have been the best field of candidates in decades hijacked by Honey Boo-Boo, but to be told that those of us who see him for the charlatan he is are not really conservative.

    • #29
  30. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Real Jane Galt:

    Frozen Chosen:

    What evidence do you have of Trump’s appeal across the electorate? National polls show him losing to Hillary in a head to head. 4 out of 5 Republicans don’t support him. His appeal is very limited.

    What dirty tricks has the GOP tried or contemplated to “kill off” Trump? Methinks you’re just throwing out baseless comments because you’re frustrated.

    On conservative web sites there are thread after thread on how do we stop Trump. Many discussing dirty tricks to keep him out of debates and out of primary elections. Even this thread is titled “How to Defeat Donald Trump”. Seems the GOP and conservatives are more worried about Trump winning than any other candidate either GOP or Democrat that is running for office.

    My statement as to broad support is based on my observations. I know many in both parties and unaffiliated that seem to be paying attention to Trump. As for polls, well push polls don’t really impress me a lot. Especially at this stage in this environment.

    Not sure why you think I am frustrated or why I would be frustrated over anything. As for my comments being baseless, they are no more baseless than yours, maybe even less so.

    Hey, welcome to the blood-sport of politics. Will there be dirty tricks, underhanded gimmicks, and attack ads? Count on it. Trump and his supporters can whine all they want about that but it’s going to happen.

    I think, if this post shows anything, it shows that a third-party candidate doesn’t necessarily mean that the Republicans will lose. On the contrary, given the appeal Trump has with Democrats and other low-information voters in addition to some angry Republicans, Trump may draw enough support away from Dems who don’t want to coronate Hillary or put a socialist in the office…which might even result in a Republican garnering enough votes to win enough key electoral states. All this talk of Trump’s leverage at the moment is talk and bluster. At some point someone is going to call him on it.

    • #30
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