Politically Uncorrected: Do Republicans Need a Fusion Ticket?

081025_gop_logoSuper Tuesday the singular evolved into “Super Tuesdays” the plural, even coming to be called Super One, Super Two, etc. By this metric the primaries of March 1 and March 8 were Super One and Super Two —the upcoming March 15 events will be Super Three.

None of these super Tuesdays have been very super for the growing anti-Trump advocates. Trump’s victories on March 8 including Michigan and Mississippi may all but wrap up the GOP presidential primary. On March 15, the prizes of Florida and Ohio might close the door to any challenge to Trump for the nomination, especially if he wins one or both states.

Meanwhile the Republican establishment continues its frenetic efforts to block Trump, believing he may destroy the party for a generation – as well as cost the GOP control of the Senate.

So far, little of their efforts have borne fruit. Indeed, there is evidence of a growing backlash against establishment figures, notably Mitt Romney, the designated point man to take Trump down.

Trump, it seems, will inevitably leave Cleveland in July as the nominee of the Republican Party.

Or maybe not!

There are two ways Trump might still be stopped.

One way is to block Trump from winning outright the magic 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination – thus taking the fight to the convention floor. But there is a second option to block Trump – and it might be a better one given Trump’s delegate lead and momentum.

It’s a simple tactic pioneered forty years ago (1976) by Ronald Reagan: name the vice presidential nominee before the convention. The twist in 2016 would be if one of Trump’s leading opponents – Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio – names his other leading opponent vice president on a “fusion ticket.”

Reagan was the most iconic and certainly most popular Republican in over a century. What was good enough for Reagan might certainly be good enough for many other Republicans.

A recent Washington Post poll illustrates the opportunity. The poll reports that Trump leads all challengers, drawing 34% of the vote to Cruz’s 25% and Rubio’s 18%. There’s no real surprise there, as these numbers basically confirm what national polls have been reporting for months.

But here’s the difference: the dwindling GOP field now makes it possible to do “match ups” that simulate a two-candidate race. So, pollsters can measure who wins if the race was just between Cruz and Trump, or even Trump and Rubio.

Those results are stunning; Trump loses every time – by up to 13 points against Cruz, and up to 6 points against Rubio. In effect the least popular Republican in the race (Trump) is winning because his opponents are splitting up the anti-Trump vote. Naturally the anti-Trump forces would still have the task of delivering their votes to the fusion ticket – no mean feat.

Unfortunately for Republicans who want to dump Trump, none of his opponents are likely to leave the race soon – nor do they have any real chance of reaching the 1,237 delegates necessary to win on their own.

But Reagan’s 1976 tactic could change it all. In 1976, when incumbent president Gerald Ford was closing in on the nomination, Reagan made a bold move to stop Ford.

Dramatically breaking with political tradition, he selected his vice presidential running mate before the convention. As a move to sway uncommitted northern delegates, he selected Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweiker, a member of the moderate wing of his party.

Reagan’s tactic did not work in 1976 for many good reasons. One was he was running against an incumbent president for the nomination, almost always unsuccessful in American politics. It also didn’t work because Reagan himself was still then an unknown quantity, feared by many and not widely popular outside conservative circles.

But what didn’t work in 1976 might work in 2016.

A Cruz–Rubio ticket, a Cruz-Kasich ticket, even a Rubio-Cruz ticket might stop Trump. The math seems compelling. Trump clearly has a support “ceiling” not higher than 35 percent and these voters already support him.

Moreover, Trump has huge polling “negatives” averaging around 60 percent in most polls. In fact, about 30 percent of Republicnas say they won’t vote for him under any circumstances. It is this large number of anti-Trump voters that create a ceiling for him – as well as make a fusion ticket viable.

Will such a fusion ticket be proposed?  If it is, will it be during the remaining primaries and caucuses – or at the convention itself? Either strategy carries risk. If attempted before Cleveland, a voter backlash may well develop; if proposed at the convention, delegate reaction is unpredictable as it was in 1976.

Clearly, naming a vice presidential running mate as part of a fusion ticket could be seen as an act of desperation. Moreover, if Trump perceives the effort to be little more that the establishment wing unfairly denying him the nomination, an independent Trump candidacy is all but certain.

Republicans seem to have only bad choices here. But they should be wary of making the merely bad the enemy of the worst.  Their worst choice now would be to make no choice at all.

19 Responses

  1. Wow. First Seth Williams hires pervert, racist woman-haters. Now, he prosecutes Blacks (Bishop, et al) while refusing to prosecute Whites (Johnny Doc):

    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20160315_Inquirer_Editorial__D_A__shouldn_t_dodge__Johnny_Doc__case.html

    Williams has some explaining to do. He says he can’t prosecute Dougherty because he has a “longstanding relationship” with the union thug who gave him tons of $$$.

    But he has no problem prosecuting Representative Bishop, who he has known since he was a boy.

    Bishop’s mistake was that she did not give Seth Williams tons of $$$, I guess.
    Seth Williams is a creep, He’s corrupt. And now – he is a Republican too:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20160314_On_the_rocks__Democratic_D_A__Williams_turns_to_GOP_pols_in_Harrisburg.html

  2. Wow
    Have not seen so much fear of average Americans wanting to run their country after if has gone off track over the last 20 years

    Young people know what they want but they have not lived it and recent history isn’t taught (2nd half of 20th century)

    Interesting to see those who claim tolerance as their watchword oppose it when people have differing opinions!

  3. Howard A. Cohen-

    Obama won in a landslide against Romney.

    Obama won 332 electoral votes (270 needed to win)
    Ohio 18
    Florida 29

    So, keeping the Romney states and picking up Florida and Ohio would not “do it”.

    The Dems would still have 285. Losing Nevada and Colorado too would still leave 270.

    Do really think the GOP is going to keep everything Romney had, go 4 out of 4 on these states, and take a 5th?

    Dream on.

  4. A quick review of these comments is very instructive. All the liberal democrats have left to offer is insults.

  5. Political parties in America are NOT debating societies. There principal purpose is to win elections and to govern effectively.

    To win the presidency in 2016 a Kasich/Rubio ticket would do it. Republicans would keep the Romney states, add Florida and Ohio, and that would do it.

    It is imperative that the GOP defeat the Democrats, especially if it is Hillary Clinton.

  6. Here’s Seth Williams’ Chief of Staff, Kathy Martin, defending Frank Fina and his racist, pervert buddies:

    “Keeping them here [at the Philadelphia D.A.’s Office] working exhibits our faith in them that they’re smart, capable, hard-working, dedicated civil servants,” Martin said.

    Their attitudes towards minorities, women and homosexuals is very disturbing, though. The fact that they shared the material with Judges they appeared in front of is even more disturbing. They created a group of people who all had the goods on each other. People that shared the same racist, woman-hating attitudes. And, once you were part of that group, the other members had a hammer they could hold over you.

    We know that Frank Fina was one of the prosecutors in this group. He prosecuted people for mis-using their State computers. And then he used his State computer on this:https://www.flickr.com/photos/…. That is but one example. There are many others.

    When AG Kane won, but before she took office, Fina finalized his “unjust” plea deal with Tyron Ali. Bruce Beemer called it “unjust.” Fina dropped all of the over 2,000 criminal charges that were pending against Ali. Fina also let Ali keep the $430K he stole from a non-profit set up to help children.

    Con-man Ali’s lawyer is Bob Levant. Fina negotiated that sweet deal, in the 11th hour (right before Kane was set to take over) with Levant.

    And now Fina is suing the AG’s Office for money. And guess who one of his lawyers is? Yep — Bob Levant.

    Rumor has it that Bob Levant has also helped Seth Williams with the FBI’s criminal investigation into Williams.

    A ways back, Seth Williams hired Frank Fina. Whether he knew of Fina’s “issues” when he hired him we may never know. But Williams certainly knows now. The Superior Court just called Fina’s conduct in the Penn State case “highly improper.”

    “Chief of Staff” is a high paying job. Seth Williams hired Kathy Martin off the street into that job. She has zero general counsel experience and hardly any prosecutorial experience.

    But – she is Bob Levant’s wife. Now – Seth Williams’ “Chief of Staff” is in the Press, speaking on behalf of the Philadelphia DA’s Office, defending her husband’s client – Frank Fina.

    Huge coincidence, huh?? I think not. It’s no wonder that Williams refuses to fire Fina. They are in bed together. Levant and Martin are on that stinky mattress too.

    Something is rotten at the DA’s Office.

  7. Marie – Couldn’t agree more. Williams seems to have gone off the deep end. He got into bed with the wrong people. They are dragging him down. And now he won’t – or can’t – right the ship. He peobably knows the G-Men are coming for him. Sad to watch. His career was once so promising. Then he got greedy, got too ambitious, started stealing money from his campaign funds, and the ret is history. Hiring your boy, Fina, certainly didn’t help either.

    Now that he has Fina’s lawyer’s wife by his side too, the ship will sink even faster. Hope the life-boats are ready for all the good people who still work at that office. They are going to need them!

  8. Take a guy who thinks men rode on the backs of dinosaurs. And then fuse in another person who denies climate change!!

    Problem solved for GOP !!

    Wonder what those morons think when they see the Trumpanzees hooting’ and hollerin’

  9. GOP fusion candidate?

    Q: What do you get when you mix horse-shit with dog-shit?
    A: GOP ticket

  10. Seth Williams seems like a real POS. First – he hires known racists and misogynists. Now he is helping a friend of his (a bad lawyer) become a Judge. He doesn’t care about the people of Philadelphia.

    And he certainly doesn’t care bout victims of violent crime – or J. Dougherty would be locked up already.

  11. More bad news for Seth Williams and his buddies. Seems Seth keeps aligning himself with SHADY characters:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20160310_Pa__Supreme_Court_rebukes_Phila__judge_for_misconduct.html

    From the article, it seems that Seth Williams lied to Rep. Bob Brady. That won’t end well. In the meantime, PoliticsPA has still not reported on Seth Williams’ other buddy, the “highly improper” Frank Fina:

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/85d68be784fe44538233940d1cc93979/some-charges-against-penn-state-ex-administrators-thrown

    Fina got caught lying to the Court. Wonder when his license will be suspended.

  12. If Trump gets the nomination, his running mate will be Chris Christie. If Cruz gets the nom, who knows, Glenn Beck maybe. If Rubio or Kasich get brokered in, the entire GOP will be blown up and it won’t matter who they name anyway.

  13. None of the fusion tickets can be accomplished, because egos are too big to take second place. All want to be on top. Besides, they should all lose the general election. Two nincompoops don’t equal a good ticket.

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