Why Republicans hate the Republican Party so much

March 8, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Warren, Michigan, March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Warren, Michigan, March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Warning to Republicans: beware the Ides of March.

That would be Tuesday, Mar. 15, when four crucial states — Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri — will hold primaries. It’s also the first day when Republican rules allow states, if they choose, to hold winner-take-all contests. Florida, with 99 delegates, and Ohio, with 66, are doing just that. Whoever comes in first wins the whole pot.

Both states have a favorite son in the presidential race — Senator Marco Rubio in Florida and Governor John Kasich in Ohio. But the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump leads the polls in Florida and is closely competitive in Ohio. If Rubio and Kasich lose their home states, they would be finished.

Anti-Trump Republicans are investing heavily to stop Trump. Three different political action committees are expected to spend more than $10 million on anti-Trump ads in Florida.

A protestor demonstrates outside a campaign rally for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Cadillac, Michigan, March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

A protestor outside a Donald Trump campaign rally in Cadillac, Michigan, March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

Trump’s response: Go ahead, punks. Make my day. Trump’s spokesman called it “another desperate attempt by the out-of-touch establishment elites and dark money that control the weak politicians to maintain control of our broken and corrupt system.”

For decades, two armies have been at war over the Republican Party. The struggle goes all the way back to 1976, when Ronald Reagan challenged President Gerald Ford and nearly beat the incumbent for his own party’s nomination. It has always been the mainstream Republican establishment (Washington and Wall Street) versus the conservative counter-establishment.

The mainstream establishment is pinning its hopes on Rubio. But he seems to be sinking fast. Conservatives are rallying behind Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). Cruz, the Tea Party favorite, won the straw poll at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference. Trump, meanwhile, is leading both of them.

Cruz may be able to hold on for a while. He’s winning low-turnout Republican caucuses, as he did on Saturday in Kansas and Maine. A choice that comes down to Cruz and Trump would leave mainstream Republicans in despair: The old enemy (Cruz and the Tea Party) versus the new enemy (Trump).

“We are witnessing history,” former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan wrote in her the Wall Street Journal column. “Something important is ending.”

An army of outsiders is trying to take over the Republican Party. Its cause is anti-establishment populism. The Republican army is supposed to be fueled by hatred of President Barack Obama. But Trump’s army is driven by another hatred that appears to be just as intense: hatred of the Republican Party establishment that has failed to stop Obama.

Trump’s signature attitude is defiance. His supporters see voting for him as a way to defy the Republican Party establishment. “I want to see Trump go up there and do damage to the Republican Party,” one Mississippi voter told the New York Times. An Arizona voter said, “We’re going to use Donald Trump to either take over the GOP or blow it up.”

Former Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticizes current Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah March 3, 2016.   REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Mitt Romney criticizes current candidate Donald Trump during a speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee,  embodies everything Trump voters hate about the Republican establishment. Romney doesn’t have a populist bone in his body. Worse, he let Obama beat him in 2012.  There was Romney last week, warning Republicans that Trump is a “fraud” and a “phony.”

Romney went so far as to insinuate that Trump is an extremist. “This is the very brand of anger,” he said, “that has led other nations into the abyss.” Germany for example?

Trump is not an ideologue. And he’s not a professional politician. He’s a businessman. His supporters believe government should be run like a business.

It’s a deeply held American belief that politics is the enemy of problem-solving. Why can’t we deal with the national debt? Too much politics. Why can’t we deal with climate change? Politics. Trump, like businessman Ross Perot before him, promises to keep politics out of government and just get things done. Everybody knows there’s no politics in business, right?

But there’s a reason government can’t be run like a business. Business is not a democracy. If business were a democracy, it would look like government: less efficient, more political. That’s why Trump has a taint of undemocratic extremism. He wants to run government like a business. With himself as boss.

The last hope of the anti-Trump forces is to prevent Trump from going to the Republican National Convention in July with the number of delegates needed to nominate him. If Trump doesn’t win a on the first ballot, we could see a brokered convention. Then maybe the anti-Trump forces could rally behind another candidate.

They’re deluding themselves. Suppose Trump goes to the convention with the largest primary vote and the largest number of delegates, even if it’s not a majority. Does anyone believe Trump would stand by and watch the party nominate a candidate who did worse than he did? Or a candidate who didn’t even run in the primaries?

The Trump army would protest that the party establishment is rigging the game and rejecting the people’s choice. That way lies pandemonium. Trump supporters would disrupt the convention and possibly walk out. It would be Chicago 1968 all over again.

Some anti-Trump Republicans are talking about splitting the party and running another GOP candidate in November if Trump becomes the party nominee. Wouldn’t that be suicidal?  Wouldn’t it ensure the election of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now the likely nominee?

Of course it would. But anti-Trump Republicans may be making a longer-run calculation. If Trump became president, he would destroy the Republican Party. If Clinton became president, she would unite the Republican Party — against her.

And the party would live to fight another day.

26 comments

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This is one of the best explanations of what’s going on in the Republican party I’ve read yet. My prediction is that the Republicans – establishment and Tea Party – will continue to make stupid decisions. They have for the past seven years. Why should we expect them to suddenly wake up intelligent and wise?

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

How would Hillary Clinton unite the Republican party if Obama did not? Hillary Clinton, whether she is qualified or not, will tear this country apart due to how much Republicans despise her.

Posted by jphuber | Report as abusive

Failed ideas = failed party. Trickle down economics does not work. Bush/Cheney foreign policy does not work (unless you think the 3 trillion taxpayer dollars we spent in Iraq was money well spent). Restrictions on womens’ bodies do not work. War on drugs does not work. These are all failed republican priorities. Now they are paying the price of watching their market share shrink. Republicans are dying off faster than they are being replaced. Why would young people possibly vote for failed ideas?

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

“.. Something important is ending ..”

Important? Hardly.

Try – something “corrupt” is ending, as the ways of establishment become transparent and common knowledge of the public. Here is good summary of the establishment’s ways and its desperation in self-preservation, as per this article:

“.. establishment elites and dark money that control the weak politicians to maintain control of our broken and corrupt system ..”

Ever wondered why NASCAR and its crowd flocking to Trump? These folks do some real hard work (instead of borrow and bankrupt cycle by the rest) and were disenchanted with establishment at no trace of help coming their way despite decades of their support of the establishment.

Posted by Mottjr | Report as abusive

“Ever wondered why NASCAR and its crowd flocking to Trump?”

Because they’re a bunch of angry racists and birthers, like Trump. It’s not political rocket science. These are people the Democrats dumped in the 1960’s. And the republicans are finally dumping now. Duh.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

This republican race shows just how much power the elites have in what news is printed. Trump is just a guy brought up in NJ and NY area. Tough talk, but soft heart. He would do fine as president, the media is making him out as some monster. Look, if we can put a movie actor (Ronald Reagan) in office and praise him to high heaven, then Trump would do fine also. What gets me most with the media is the constant articles saying “he will build a wall to keep illegals out”, so what? Illegal means illegal what’s so wrong with up holding the law of the land?

Posted by cheeze | Report as abusive

Rome didn’t collapse in a day.

Posted by ToastMcGhost | Report as abusive

“I know words. I know big words. I have the best words.” -Donald J. Trump, December 2015.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

VETERANS ALL SUPPORT BERNIE SANDERS……forever.

Posted by Ytram | Report as abusive

“But Trump’s army is driven by another hatred that appears to be just as intense: hatred of the Republican Party establishment that has failed to stop Obama.”

I doubt this. I think the Trump voters are sick of both party’s job destroying trade deals and unwillingness to take down the Wall Street/Big Bank/ Insurance privileged class

Posted by terrypm | Report as abusive

“The Trump army would protest that the party establishment is rigging the game and rejecting the people’s choice.”

The establishment has no problem thwarting the will of the people. That’s what makes Trump so popular in the first place.

Posted by Kenny4Truth | Report as abusive

The right has been kowtowing to the ignorant for decades, now they are the majority in the republican party, surprised?, shouldn’t be. The only way the ‘establishment’ republicans can beat trump and take back the party is to vote for the Democratic nominee in the general making trump and his followers losers.

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

As soon as Congress tries to block him on anything he will use all those powers congress just gave Obama that Obama has chosen not to use, to declare a war on terror legislation enhanced marshal law, dissolve congress, lock down the country and declare himself the CEO of America.

Posted by DK_Shiawassee | Report as abusive

“Electing Ted Cruz to stop Donald Trump is like curing your gout with syphilis.” -Slate Magazine

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

And the establishment would be wrong about living to fight another day. If Trump wins the nomination and the republican party tries to prevent his winning the presidency there will be an overwhelming number of formerly republican voters that will never vote for another republican candidate. The republican party will go the way of the whigs.

Posted by dale11 | Report as abusive

We have two political parties and either one is for middle class hard working Americans citizens. The Democrat party openly despise the men and women that work hard, obey the laws, pay the taxes, fight the wars and built this Nation and cannot wait to give away what they worked and built to every illegal alien and lazy worthless bum they can find,

The repubs pretend they care while supporting the rich, open borders, slave labor,globalization, big government, and are only slightly less worthless then the socialist American hating Democrat party.

This Nation needs a American party we have two parties to represent the rich, globalization, illegals, Muslims, welfare bums and the rest of the world.

Can Trump be the Start of a American party for Law abiding American citizens?

Posted by BlackSaint | Report as abusive

BlackSaint, “Can Trump be the Start of a American party for Law abiding American citizens?” Trump that promotes illegal violence at his rallies? The obvious answer to your question is, no.

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

Remember when disgusted Republicans replaced their previous do-nothing leader with Boehner? … and again nothing changed? … RINOS like McCain continued “reaching across the aisle” to kiss the rear ends of the likes of Reed, Pelosi, et al. at the expense of folks who sent them to D.C. to represent THEM, not wealthy donors and other special interests, or feather their nests so they could get wealthy while in Congress.

Trump is offering his proven managerial talents to bust up the cozy little partnership of the DNC and RNC that have become two sides of the same corrupt coin. Trump doesn’t need any more self-made wealth. He’s made his pile and is now following a higher calling. His goal now is to satisfy his immense (but healthy) ego by leaving a legacy of having saved America in its second most desperate hour of need, like George Washington, also a successful businessman. We are lucky to have a capable champion appear and offer to serve at this most desperate hour of need.

Posted by Texan-Forever | Report as abusive

Fox News (and the GOP) has spent the last 20 years dumbing-down and instilling hatred in its viewers. Hatred of all that is not white. Hatred of all that does not conform to their view of unregulated government. Hatred of all taxes. The GOP did this to serve their mega-wealthy client’s greed. (They need the common man’s votes.)
But Trump is the direct result of this policy. He has tapped into and exploited this hatred. The GOP never envisioned that the monster they created would turn on them. “You shall reap what you sow”

Posted by howsad | Report as abusive

Trump is doomed. Republicans won’t seat a President for 30 more years at the earliest. After what Bush and Cheney did to this country…. that party of bigots and foreign policy failures…. is done.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

Trump will win Florida, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio.

Rubio will drop out after losing in Florida, he’ll be out of money. Kasich should drop out after losing in Ohio, but I think he will stick around in hopes of being the nominee at a brokered convention.

A year ago, three Midwest Republican governors were mentioned as possible nominees- Scott Walker, Rick Snyder, and John Kasich. Walker and Snyder have absolutely nothing going for them. Snyder is now facing recall petitions and possible criminal charge in Michigan.

I don’t know what Kasich has going for him, other than he happens to be governor of a large Midwest state that is not doing particulary well. He has no personality whatsoever.

Posted by two_opposite | Report as abusive

Very good article, thanks. Really good insight :-)

Posted by ChrisBush | Report as abusive

The author, Bill Schneider, asserts that our country is a “democracy.” It seems everyone today, Republicans and Democrat politicians alike, claim our nation is a “democracy.” In fact the signers of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights created a “republic” and not a “democracy.”

They knew full well that unlike a republic which is based on the “rule of law” is quite different from a “democracy” which is based on the ever changing whim of the majority of men and women — or what is more commonly known as a “tyranny of the majority.”

However, I submit that today, our good old U.S.A. can no longer even qualify as a democracy. Rather, our nation has become nothing short of a full-blown “oligarchy” under the control of elite special interests who have become accustomed to simply buying elections.

Posted by SameulAdams | Report as abusive

It is interesting how the left is using the word ‘Democracy’ instead of the word ‘Socialism’ when talking about Donald Trump. Democratic socialism is simply not possible – you end up with a country run by a huge government bureaucracy.

Posted by Hammer2 | Report as abusive

The Republicans elected our first Black president, and now they are going to elect our first woman president. It is their form of progress.

Posted by Jim1648 | Report as abusive

Most people are waking up to the fact that they are neither for the left or the right, but are actually Moderates. We want to be safe, we want to be able to earn a decent living, and we want to be left the hell alone by other people and our government.

Posted by Baywolfe | Report as abusive