The differences between Trump and constitutional conservatives are irreconcilable. Sometimes A is A, B is B, and the distinction between the two means there cannot be an AB. If Trump is nominated, the GOP will have as its Presidential candidate a man who is at war with the essence of what the Party is, or should be. Trump doesn’t own the Republican Party, nobody does. It’s a propositional party, or was, and is dedicated to the Constitution, limited government, and individual liberty. Trump’s not interested in any of that. To him, the Party is a means of achieving power, and nothing more.
We’re at this sorry state of affairs as a result of Bush Republicanism. It didn’t start with Bush 1, but since 1988 his brand of wishy washy, kinder and gentler, compassionate “conservatism” has owned the Party apparatus and controlled the RNC. The nomination rules were rigged, but not against Trump or a candidate like him. They were rigged by Haley Barbour and other Bush Republicans to favor someone like Bush 3, a moderate, establishment candidate. If Ted Cruz has anything to say about it, that changes in Cleveland.
I saw the same sort of thing happen, and was a foot soldier on its behalf, in San Francisco in 1964. Goldwater’s nomination was the beginning of the Reagan Revolution. We had to wait sixteen years for Reagan. This time, we only have to wait for four.
The first rule must be one that neuters the RNC. The Convention must set the Rules for 2020. The RNC must not be given the discretion to change them. The RNC is controlled by the Bush wing of the Party, because that’s where the money is. Money = Establishment in Republican politics, with some honorable exceptions. But the Fortune 500 is where the bucks are, and that’s Bush country. These people don’t want to limit government, they want to use it to line their pocketbooks. We’ll see if the delegates in Cleveland have the courage of their convictions. Ted Cruz has a vital service to undertake on behalf of constitutional conservatives, and he is just the man for the job. He may not be a natural politician like Marco Rubio, but in this kind of infighting he should excel. The outcome of the Republican nomination for President in 2020 may well be decided in Cleveland.
No Democrat should ever be allowed to vote in a Republican primary. Allowing independents is a different story, and subject to discussion. And, at a minimum, Colorado should replace Nevada in the primary calendar. There is much that can be accomplished, and I actually am looking forward to watching the Rules Committee at work. I’ll learn a lot. The 2016 Convention of the Republican Party could be the most consequential of my lifetime.
In 1987 Ted Stevens had his ducks lined up. He and Democrat Governor Steve Cowper were determined to overrule an Alaska Supreme Court decision which held that giving Alaska Natives a subsistence preference to hunting and fishing rights was a violation of the equal protection clause. Stevens and Cowper wanted a constitutional amendment that would divide Alaskans into two classes, one of which would be given preference over the other. They were the two most powerful politicians in Alaska, a Republican and a Democrat, and they had every interest group in the State backing them, from the oil companies to the labor unions.
When it passed the Senate, 14-6, I was shocked. My drinking buddy, Sen. Tim Kelly of Eagle River had sold his soul to Stevens, and killed his own political career, by providing the winning vote. I was the leader of the sixteen member House Minority, and I could only lose two. If I lost three, they had a 2/3 majority and victory. I watched my members like a hawk, sniffing out any weaknesses. There was a lot of pressure on this vote, as much as I’ve ever seen. But we held, and beat it.
In July I was in Santa Barbara with Babbie and the boys when I got the call. I had to immediately fly back to Juneau to take up the Amendment in a special session. They kept us there for three days, and then finally held the vote. We all stood together, and beat them again. After the vote the Speaker, Sam Cotton, called me up to the podium and said that the Governor wanted to talk to me. I said, “Why would I want to talk to him?” and we adjourned the next day.
A lot of people in Juneau didn’t like me. That was fine by me.