5 March 2016 - 08:34 AM
The Republican Establishment vs. Donald Trump?
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Donald Trump has been a controversial candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign. His statements about immigration, Muslims and women among others, have taken over traditional media outlets and caused many of his competitors to receive less on-air coverage. On debate stages Trump has promised to "make America great again" and has attacked his rivals frequently turning many debates into arguments that do not focus on political issues. Despite all the controversy that has surrounded his campaign Trump has won 10 of the 14 states that have voted in primary elections thus far, and has managed to get 319 of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination.

Donald Trump gestures during a Republican presidential primary debate.

As Trump continues to gain momentum many leaders of the Republican party have joined his fellow Republican candidates in trying to convince voters that the brash real etsate mogul is not the best option to be the party’s nominee.

Romney’s speech was not the first attack on Trump from what is considered the Republican establishment. Aspiring Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have united in their campaigns to attack Trump in their latest rallies, while House Speaker Paul Ryan demonstrated this the discomfort felt among Republicans by the businessman’s refusal to denounce an endorsement by former Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. In a press conference Ryan said that “if a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games, they must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry.”

But why does the establishment feel the need to attack Mr. Trump?

“They see someone who is maleable, who has no ideology nor conviction, whose only true value is self-promotion. Someone who in order to win votes is willing to insult Hispanics, women, POWs, the media, etc.," Carlos Mercader, from American Principles in Action, told teleSUR. "In that sense they are afraid that someone like that becomes the leader (presidential candidate) of a party that has been representing the values and ideology of some of the most respected leaders of this country such as Lincoln and Reagan.”

The last time the Republican party had a brokered convention was in 1948, but many establishment party leaders, such as Romney and Ryan, are hopeful that their speaking out against Trump will lead to a brokered convention where someone other than Trump can be nominated. So what is a brokered convention? This term is used when no candidate receives the majority of delegates needed to secure the nomination. In the Republican case, a candidate needs 1,237 votes to win. If this is the case during the convention all delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choice and are no longer bound to vote for the candidate chosen by the state they represent. The delegates then continue to vote until a candidate reaches the number of delegates needed for the nomination. The Republican National Convention will take place in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18-21.

Why are people supporting Trump? Mercader stated:

“People know the harsh words he’s using, but they are not supporting him because of them, they are supporting him because they believe that he will be able to turn things around because of his supposed capabilities and the fact that he is a Washington outsider. He fights the political-world attacks with a simple, yet, easy to understand message, that many people around the nation are buying. This is the year of the anti-establishment movement; we have seen it on both sides of the aisle. He is making the best out of the political-outsider narrative.” 

Trump, however, is largely popular among groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and a large number of whites who harbor racial resentment in the United States. This is evident at his rallies when he makes statements such as "all Mexican immigrants are drug dealers and rapists" or that he will close U.S. borders to Muslims, statements often followed by cheer and applause from his supporters.

Ex-presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a speech against the mogul calling him a "phony and a fraud" and questioning his judgement and temperament to be the next president of the United States.

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"His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill," said Romney. "I’m convinced America has greatness ahead. And this is a time for choosing. God bless us to choose a nominee who will make that vision a reality.”

So what can those who oppose Trump do to avoid his nomination? There are still 40 contests to go and two-thirds of the delegates remain uncommitted, which means that the race is not yet over. We’ve seen Cruz ask his fellow candidates to renounce their bids and allow their supporters to join his campaign. We’ve seen Marco Rubio attempt to win more votes by personally attacking the mogul. All of this in an attempt to persuade voters in the remaining states to vote against Trump.

“They have to make sure that he is not able to get to the 1,236 delegates he needs to become the presidential nominee. While he has won most states the truth is that in terms of delegate numbers, he is still very close to Cruz and Rubio," Mercader added. "If those candidates win most of the upcoming contests, it could be very difficult for him to get to the magic number and then we would be going to a brokered convention.”

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