Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, flanked by his daughter Ivanka, left, and his wife Melania Trump, speaks during a primary watch party at the Spartanburg Marriott on Feb. 20, 2016 in Spartanburg, S.C.
By Matthew Zacher ’18
The Republican Party is strengthening their attacks on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump as he attempts to clinch the party’s nomination.
In the fall and winter months of Trump’s campaign, the GOP seemed to think that Trump would fade away. It appears of late that the party has recognized the serious following Trump has and is now attempting to bring him down.
Some argue that because of Trump’s comments toward women, Muslims and Hispanics, he must be stopped from earning the nomination.
However, Trump has brought many new voters to the GOP with his common-sense conservatism and status as a political outsider. The votes are flowing to Trump, but the GOP is fighting this flow and creating waves.
The efforts by the GOP to stop the voters’ coalescence around Trump is counterproductive to defeating Hillary Clinton in November.
By this time in 2012, Mitt Romney was emerging from the early primary season as the likely Republican nominee for president. Republicans across America made clear who they wanted to represent their party.
However, this cycle is different. The Republican “establishment” is scared of Trump because they are unable to control him. He is an outsider, and he is self-funding his campaign.
Because of this fear, they have formed the “Never Trump” movement. Romney, 2012 Republican presidential candidate, presented a 20-minute speech devoted to attacking Trump’s comments and business record.
These efforts by the “establishment” are now too late. Trump has built an unshakable number of supporters–about 40 percent of the Republican electorate.
What these attacks are doing is dividing the Republican party, and limiting the eventual nominee’s ability to expand his base of supporters.
In the winter and fall months, it looked as though Trump could defeat Clinton in the general election. However, with the millions of dollars worth of ads and attacks on Trump, he now trails Hillary Clinton by an average of 10.5 points, according to the Real Clear Politics average.
In what seems to be a war between the “Never Trump” movement and Donald Trump himself, neither side is winning. Clearly, according to the polls, Hillary Clinton is winning.
The Republican contest will head to a contested convention should Trump or Cruz not earn the 1,237 delegates required to clinch the nomination. It is mathematically impossible for Kasich to reach this number with the number of state primaries remaining.
If, at this contested convention, the person leading in delegate count should not be awarded the nomination, there will be a great schism in the Republican party. This split could very well be irreparable, as Republican votes will feel as if their votes do not carry influence.
However, the GOP still has a chance to unite. Trump has said that he will mellow down and begin to act more presidential once he has defeated his Republican supporters. The GOP must give Trump this chance if they not only want to beat Hillary Clinton, but also want their party to survive past this election cycle.
The GOP “establishment” must stop these divisive, counterproductive attacks and give Trump a chance to expand his support for the general election in November.