What We're Reading

"What a Trump America Can Learn from a Berlusconi Italy" New York Times

"The Black Swan President" Politico Magazine

"Teaching 1984 in 2016" The Atlantic

"Zadie Smith on the Politics of Fiction" The Atlantic

"Out Of The Gate And Into The Fire" Hoover Institution


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Uncertainty in the Upcoming Republican National Convention

Uncertainty in the Upcoming Republican National Convention

The Republican presidential primary has been characterized by unorthodox strategies and a plethora of eccentric candidates. Business mogul Donald Trump currently leads the race with over 739 delegates and counting. His unusual methods have garnered polarized opinions regarding the electability of his candidacy. While his supporters view him as a fresh face aimed at tackling the political deadlock in Washington DC, detractors point to his brash—often offensive--style  as reason enough to exclude him from the race. His inflammatory comments including a proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country, as well as the mass deportation of 12 million undocumented migrants in the United States, have inspired a growing Anti-Trump movement across the country. Many believe that this coalition of conservatives and liberals alike who believe Trump does not acutely represent core conservative values will ultimately influence the outcome of the Republican National Convention. With three candidates still in the race, and establishment Republicans publicly denouncing Trump, this scenario seems increasingly likely as the July Convention in Cleveland, Ohio approaches.

The anti-Trump coalition is made up of an unusual congregation of like-minded liberals and conservatives who oppose the nomination of Donald Trump to the Republican presidential ticket. These conservatives claim that Trump is not a true conservative, which is only strengthened by his record which indicates that Trump was a Democrat for several years in early 2000s.  Establishment Republican heavyweights like Speaker of the House of Representatives, Senator Paul Ryan (R-WI), openly criticize Trump’s policy proposals and comments. In response to Trump’s assertion that the Federal Government should halt the immigration of all Muslims coming into the United States, Ryan said, “[Trump’s proposal] is not what this party stands for…More importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”

Because of Trump’s divisive campaign, the Republican Party is in crisis. While Trump has won a majority of the delegates contested so far, many believe that he would not stand a chance the general election. On average, the majority he does win, represents only one third of the primary electorate with the rest split between the other GOP candidates. With recent drop outs like Senator Marco Rubio, many wonder where the support for past candidates will transfer. This only adds to the uncertainty of the primary elections and would lead to what many suggest will be a contested Republican primary election.  

Ohio Governor and presidential hopeful John Kasich hopes to capitalize on this anti-Trump sentiment and uncertainty. In a recent television interview he outlined how he predicts the Convention will unfold, “I don’t think anybody is going to get there [the Republican Nation Convention] with the delegates that they need to win.” In that event, Kasich went on to explain, delegates selected by the Electoral College would be released from their allegiances determined by the popular vote in their districts, allowing for a rare “brokered convention” for the first time since 1952, when then-candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower clinched the nomination. This possibility would allow John Kasich and Senator Ted Cruz to challenge the popular votes in dozens of states that have propelled Donald Trump to become the presumptive nominee, and would, in effect, throw the Republican Party into unprecedented and chaotic disarray. Not only would such an event challenge the democratic process which the United States hold so dear, but such actions would almost inevitably lead to a Trump third party run and even further electoral drama in the general election later this year. Furthermore, the huge number of voters turning out to participate in this election, would likely become alienated by the dysfunction of the Republican Party, and even drop out of the political scene altogether. In essence, the coming controversy at the Republican National Convention will have a huge impact on American politics for years to come. As voters across from the spectrum experience the messy fallout from the eccentric and unpredictable candidates in the Republican Primary, a new age of politics will be born. This represents a chance for the voting electorate of the United States to become more involved in the politics of this country and to shake off the legacy of low voter turnout.  But, the uncertainty of the upcoming Republican National Convention leaves many wondering if the Republicans can emerge as a unified party focused on winning the general election.  

 - Jacob Hamilton