Trump is in the news because of his threat to run as a third party or independent in the general election, if the Republican party treats him poorly.
Note, he did not say he would run independent if he loses in the primary.
I heard on the radio last night that “if he runs in the Repiblican primary, he should swear to abide by the choice of Republican voters and support whoever does win”. Only one problem with that. None of the other candidates are being asked to swear their loyalty to Trump if he wins. And the Republican Establishment has a long history of undermining the candidacy of outsiders who rock the establishemt.
I think this is just Trump demonstrating that he does indeed have superior negotiating skills. This is a classic poison pill tactic that businessmen like Trump would be used to. It is the threat to knowingly torpedo the deal if consessions are not made. Trump is deliberately putting the establishment party on notice that he will not be “uninvited to main events” or “dimissed from state ballots”, or any of the other tricks party insiders have used before to limit the impact of outsider candidacies.
The worst argument I have heard regarding this is “party loyalty”. I cannot even tell you what party loyalty would look like. Would that be personal loyalty to the Chairman of the Republican National Committee?
What is a Republican, that anyone should claim to be one or to be “loyal” to others with the same label? I can identify five distinct groups of Republicans, not including factions, of which there are two primary and perhaps 4-5 subfactions.
R1: National Party leadership. This includes the national chairman. It includes his immediate staff. It includes the shadowy board of directors who run the national party and its operating decisions and fundraising operations. These people ARE the party. it does not control who they individually vote for though. They are not in any way bound to vote for other Republicans. They are even free to endorse former democrats and RINOS to run on teh Republican ticket. They control the gates.
R2: The state delegates. These are the people who attend the conventions. They are active in the party local operations and even vote on the local, state and national platforms… which are all totally irrelevant, since they are non-binding on any of the candidates or elected officials.
R3: Registered Republicans. These are people who register as republicans according to voter registration rules in their state. Registration does not equal party loyalty. In fact, it is a long held practice in the South to register in the opposite party, so that you can participate in party primaries and select a weak candidate that your favorite can easily beat in the general election. Registered Republicans != Republican voters.
R4: Habitual Republican voters. For any number of reasons, these are people who have voted in the last 3-4 elections a straight Republican ticket. Even if they think of themselves as independent, and register independent, and rationalize that they will only vote for the most qualified, they are in fact voting every time, for every office, Republican.
R5: Office holders and Candidates for public office who publicly identify as “Republican”. These people may have previously been Democrat. They may be RINOs (Republican In Name Only). They may be crassly cynical and will run on any ticket that gives them the best chance.
The 5 groups above have no formal alliance with any of the other groups and certainly no binding affiliation. There is absolutely nothing tieing them together where loyalty is expected or can be enforced.
Trump knows this. Trump in R5, knows he cannot get the help and loyalty of any other group, even of other R5. So far, he is shooting for R4 as his base.
By threatening independent status, he to negotiating with R1 and R5 to stop being dicks.
Most people sho consider themselves Republicans are in R4. They are not real Republicans. They may have Republican sentiments, and be loyal to Republican loyalties and to traditional Republican campaign platforms. But only R1, 2, and 5 are REAL Republicans. R4 and R5 are not really “in the club”. You don’t own the dairy. You don’t run the dairy. You don’t even milk the cows. You ARE the cows.
My idea for electoral reform is that the parties should select their candidates in any way they see fit. Pretty much, that is what they already do. The sham of open primaries and cross voting in primaries is permitted by the R1 and R5 because it permits a greater degree of liberalism in the ticket than R2 and R4 populations would select. And that pleases R1 and R5, because that IS R1 and R5. But if the Party were to be governed by R4, then the electoral process that would benefit them best would be a closed primary, where only registered republicans could vote, and by voting, you were committed to voting for that winner in the general election. I would even like to see them pay a nominal participation fee to demonstrate their committment. But our current system is established and promulgated as if it were intended to create chaos. I propose that it is not only to create Chaos, but to create the conditions where the establishment continues to dominate the outcomes without regard to what the masses want. Thus suppressing the potential for a real electoral revolution every 2 years.