John Kasich’s decision to suspend his campaign removes any doubt that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee.
Reaction from the Party’s ruling class ranged from a statement of support from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to press release from the Bush family that both Bush 41 & 43 will remain on the sidelines during the upcoming campaign.
Much of the conversation within the Party has centered on the worrisome impact a Trump led ticket could have on down ballot races for vulnerable GOP House and Senate seats.
One of the more substantive responses to Trump’s victory came in the form of a posting on the highly respected conservative blog: “Red State.” The subject, the all-important vacancy on the Supreme Court.
“Republicans must know that there is absolutely no chance that we will win the White House in 2016 now. They must also know that we are likely to lose the Senate as well. So the choices, essentially, are to confirm Garland and have another bite of the apple in a decade, or watch as President Clinton nominates someone who is radically more leftist and 10-15 years younger, and we are in no position to stop it.”
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s body was probably still warm when Mitch McConnell issued his crass edict that the Senate would not hold hearings on Scalia’s replacement until after the new president was sworn in.
President Obama ignored McConnell’s boorish partisan pronouncement, performed his constitutional duty, and nominated United States Court of Appeals Judge, Merrick Garland. Garland, a supremely qualified moderate candidate, received unanimous senate confirmation for his current position on the appellate bench. The only reason to block his confirmation was to deny Obama a legacy win while holding out hope that a newly elected Republican president would nominate a more Scalia like conservative.
I wrote at that time that Republicans should be careful what they wish for. A moderate like Garland would become quite appealing should Hillary win the White House. Of course that was during the time that all the “smart” people said that Trump would never win the nomination and that a more traditional candidate would emerge from the fray to face Clinton.
Trump’s nomination has thrown a huge wrench into that plan. Republican’s now face the very real prospect that Clinton will defeat Trump in the general election and then choose to nominate a far more progressive candidate than Garland.
So do Republicans confirm the moderate choice they have in front of them or gamble that Trump will win the White House?
Donald Trump faces some very big challenges in the upcoming campaign. Having observed what Trump was able to pull off in the primary I for one would not bet against him.
Once again the Republican Party finds itself in a self-imposed political conundrum.
Once again reality delivers a stinging blow to conservative ideology.