How will the GOP establishment try to kill the Trump nomination?

I’m going with the assumption that Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee for president if the only relevant factor is primary results. But will it be the only relevant factor? There have been many stories about establishment Republicans being mortified of the idea and talking with each other about killing his campaign.

I believe they will try doing something to ace him out, but not much comes to mind. The most obvious one is deeper opposition research to use in debates, as in the Jeb Bush attack about eminent domain a few days back. But we can all see how well that worked. :rolleyes: Besides, that’s all part of normal campaigning, and doesn’t require any backdoor shenanigans at the convention.

The convention is where any scheme will have to be hatched. They’ll either have to convince a large number of delegates to ignore their own primary results, or do something the disenfranchise the delegates themselves. That would mean some kind of back room deal among whoever has the clout to get into that room to pick the nominee. I tend to think the latter, that is if the tools to ace out the delegates exist. To borrow a cliche, I’ll call it “the nuclear option.”

What are your thought about if or how this will play out?

If the R’s were able to grab their ankles and take the Tea Party in, they’ll not be unable to absorb all of Trump’s Nazi-ism. This is what happens when a party, or religion or business organization fails to have sound ethical underpinnings. The R party is, essentially, a group of aiders and abetters of plutocrats. Peasants, peons, esnes and serfs licking the boots of the mighty.

First order of business is to let Kasich knock himself out in the SEC primaries. Then the sane group unites behind Bush or Rubio, let the whack jobs split among Cruz and Trump, then the winner-take-all primaries go to the establishment.

They can’t kill Trump’s run until they are sure Cruz is not going to take his supporters. Cruz is worse in their eyes - he has actively fucked with the party and the running of the government.

Kasich has some broader appeal than any of the others. I’m a liberal and didn’t see the kind of Brownback-crazy actions from Kasich as from so many other R governors.

No to any more Bush’s, no to complete inexperience of Rubio. Kasich has credentials.

yes, I think Cruz is actually crazy, while Trump just acts that way.

The first step is to settle on a single establishment candidate (it matters very little which one), and get the others to withdraw from the race and endorse him. Unfortunately, none of the candidates seem to be on board with this plan.

Is there an actual “GOP Establishment”? We hear a lot of talk about it, but is it an actual group of people that can decide things and take action accordingly? Could “they”, for instance" make Kasich drop in favor of Bush or vice versa?

In a sense, I guess it could be the donor class, but they’d have to collectively agree on a course of action-- that is, turn off the spigot to Candidates A, B and C, and aim it all at Candidate D. But do “they” have the discipline and willingness to unite with a single course of action against Trump?

Every move they’ve made to stop Trump has backfired. By the time they figure that out he’ll be the nominee. The GOP is putting more effort into stopping Cruz, they hate him, they know he’s a guaranteed loss in the general, and he’s likely to depress turnout in the general unless they destroy his standing among the evangelicals and teabags.

What, specifically, are “they” doing to stop Cruz? Honest question. I understand that a lot of Republicans fear a Cruz candidacy more than a Trump one, but what is anyone actually doing about it? Super-Pacs spending money on negative ads?

Kasich is as bad as the rest, he’s just very quiet about it. Someone posted a list of his positions in one of the election threads.

Slightly challenging the assumption…

Trump is on pace to win a plurality of delegates. By that assumption he “wins.” Between the two states that have decided and his current RCP nationwide poll avergae (29.5%) Trump’s nowhere close to a majority. He needs a big chunk of the not-Trump vote to consider him their second choice to grow to a majority. A plurality doesn’t win the nomination. It takes a majority. If it becomes a contested convention Trump is playing by RNC rules on their turf.

State party apparatuses can have an impact on get out the vote efforts. There’s room to play games by running “non-candidate specific” get out the vote efforts in areas where Trump is weak. “Ooops. Our bad! ;)” It might swing a close state. It might simply affect delegate totals to try and keep him from getting a majority.

Unpledged delegates. - There’s a chunk of senior party officials that can vote for whoever they feel like at the convention. Effectively Trump needs to win more than 50% of the delegates in primaries to win on the first ballot if they overwhelmingly oppose him. For Trump even a bare majority of pledged delegates is not necessarily enough.

The RNC can tweak the rules on how many states you have to win to have your name included on the first ballot. They could also potentially change limitations on delegates who’s candidates have suspended or don’t make the cut to be on the convention ballot. The last opportunity to make those rules changes is scheduled after the last primary. That’s a powerful lever to tweak the first ballot unless Trump suddenly dominates and wins the majority outright.

Here it is. From the most recent Republican debate thread.

The tactic I can actually see is to use the media outlets to promote their establishment candidates, currently Rubio, Kasich, and Bush. I’m not saying it’s working, it’s just as counter-productive as their attacks on Trump. They ended up with egg on their faces after trying to anoint Rubio based on a third place finish in Iowa, now suddenly Bush and Kasich are stars because of their miserable finishes in New Hampshire. The GOP is seriously divided, and they blame Cruz more than Trump for backing the Teabags and ratting out the party strategy to give evangelicals lip service while doing nothing else. Republican success in the general depends on the turnout from the those two groups, and nothing rankles the money and power mongers in the GOP like Cruz’s influence there.

What I can’t see are all the backroom deals going on right now. They can’t be working out the way they planned after the Christie’s ‘murder-suicide’ attack on Rubio.

I would say the GOP establishment includes the big donors, the RNC and long time serving politicians. No “they” aren’t totally cohesive but I’m pretty sure “they” mostly think Trump is a clown.

The big donors don’t think Trump is a clown.

I’m not the GOP establishment, but if I was going to try to take him down from the right, I’d attack him for being weak on terrorism. Not by choice, but by being too fucking ignorant to know that waterboarding doesn’t work. He might as well be arguing in favour of dunking witches.

Is waterboarding seen by the GOP base as a bad thing? If not (and I doubt it is), then how is that tactic supposed to work?

How do you figure? Doesn’t seem to have many large donors nor much in the way of independent PACs supporting him.

While it’s true that a mere plurality isn’t officially enough to win the nomination, you can bet that if Trump wins a plurality and the convention chooses someone else, it’s going to throw the entire party into chaos, possibly including a Trump third-party spoiler run. And with the field as crowded as it is, it’s going to be easy for Trump to keep on winning that plurality, even if his ceiling of support is low. So the only way to prevent that is to thin the field. But there’s no way that Bush or Rubio will quit before Florida, and no way that Kasich will quit before Ohio, both of which are after Super Tuesday. That doesn’t leave them much time to make up for the advantage Trump will have built up by then.