Hundreds of GOP delegates are reportedly planning a Dump Trump coup. If they try it, expect the Republican National Convention to be a Trump Dumpster fire. (More)

“Short-term, yes, there’s going to be chaos”

The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe reports on the latest iteration of the Dump Trump movement:

A campaign to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican presidential nominee has the support of nearly 400 delegates to the GOP’s convention next month, according to organizers, quickly transforming what began as an idea tossed around on social media into a force that could derail a national campaign.

While organizers concede their plan could worsen internal party strife, they believe they are responding to deep-rooted concerns among conservatives about Trump, who is suffering from declining poll numbers after weeks of missteps and embarrassing headlines.

“Short-term, yes, there’s going to be chaos,” said Kendal Unruh, a co-founder of the group, Free the Delegates. “Long-term this saves the party and we win the election. Everything has to go through birthing pains to birth something great. We’re going to go through the trauma of the birthing pains, but the reward will be worth it.”

Unruh says she’s trying to organize “the rule-following, churchgoing grandmas who aren’t out protesting in the streets” to stop Trump. Her plan has two stages: vote to change the current convention rules that bind delegates to primary results, and then elect a Not-Trump as the Republican nominee. She doesn’t explain why those “grandmas” would still be “rule-following” if they abandon current rules and ignore the primary voters. Maybe the “rule” they “follow” is “I get what I want.”

“The most important people in the Republican Party”

And that seems to be the outlook of at least one group backing the coup:

On the call Sunday night, leaders of Free the Delegates repeatedly insisted they are not working on behalf of any of Trump’s former opponents. They also lashed out at Chairman Reince Priebus and other officials at the Republican National Committee who have dismissed the delegates’ efforts as silly and a media-driven myth.

“Mr. Priebus needs to understand that leadership has not answered the call of the most important people in the Republican Party, and that’s the conservatives. We have always been there; we’ve endured a lot of one-way loyalty,” said Chris Ekstrom, a Dallas-based businessman and founder of Courageous Conservatives PAC, which supported Cruz’s campaign but is now backing the new movement.

Ekstrom’s group insists they’re The Real Conservatives:

Courageous Conservatives PAC was created because we’re sick of seeing conservative candidates outpunched by weak “moderates” who lie about their own records of failure and appeasement while attacking strong conservatives fighting for what we believe.

They don’t detail an agenda at their website, but apparently they love guns and hate immigrants, bank bailouts, carbon emission limits, affirmative action, LGBTs, women in the military, and low-income housing in suburbs. (That last one means: letting Those People into Our Neighborhoods.) If asked, they would probably swear on a stack of Constitutions that all of that is in the Bible. Or maybe vice-versa.

“As delegates, we should be free to vote our conscience”

The Trump Dumpsters also have an odd sense of the word ‘freedom’:

One delegate from Colorado supporting the campaign, who requested anonymity to avoid harassment, wrote in an email that “we will not put our delegates in an ethical dilemma” if they are unbound. “We live in America. The land of the free. As delegates, we should be free to vote our conscience.”

Never mind that GOP primary voters already voted their conscience – or at least their aggrieved white male rage – and chose Trump by almost 2:1 over runner-up Ted Cruz and more than 3:1 over third-place John Kasich. The ‘freedom’ of angry white male primary voters to choose their nominee is irrelevant. What matters is the ‘freedom’ of GOP power brokers … and that pretty much sums up the schism in the Republican Party.

“Still, it’s one thing to man the dump truck, and another to come up with an actual alternative”

FiveThirtyEight’s David Firestone, Harry Enten, Clare Malone, and Nate Silver don’t think the Trump Dumpsters are likely to succeed:

NATE: I don’t think it’s a real thing yet. I’m debating whether it’s on the verge of being a real thing or on the verge of being on the verge of being a real thing.

I think it’s a verge-and-a-half away, roughly.
DAVID: I’m a little worried that the media is seizing on these stories because we’re all so desperate for the drama of a floor contest. Trump deprived us of our dream!

HARRY: I think that’s a great point, David. You know there was all that talk about a contested convention, and it made folks like Nathaniel, Clare, you and me giddy. Then after that faded, some people latched onto the idea of a contentious Democratic convention. Now that seems like it’s not going to happen. So here we are, back to Trump again.

CLARE: I think you might be onto something there, too. Cleveland seems pretty locked to me, but people love a good Trump headline. And to be fair to these Dump Trumpers (oof, bad name) [I agree; Trump Dumpsters is much better], a lot of them are diehard Cruz people or party activists who are sincere in their efforts. But when it comes to the evaluation of their actual plan, well … it seems less plausible than it is interesting. We might just be looking for some red meat for the interwebs.

Even if they do pull off step one – change the convention rules so delegates can pick whomever they want – there’s still the problem of finding a Not-Trump:

DAVID: Still, it’s one thing to man the dump truck, and another to come up with an actual alternative. How do you start a convention rebellion without a candidate to lead it? And who might that candidate be?

CLARE: I read something about how there are some GOP-ers who are considering the strategy of putting big-name spoiled candidates of the Republican persuasion on the ballot in certain states in the hopes of ruining Trump’s chances and thus throwing the whole thing to Clinton (e.g., Tom Ridge in Pennsylvania). This seems a bit… cannibalistic if you’re a Republican, but I suppose it speaks to the desperation in certain corners.

HARRY: Well, this is the funny thing, right? Trump isn’t all that popular with Republicans. CNN had a poll out on Tuesday showing only 51 percent of Republicans would choose Trump versus 48 percent who would choose another nominee, but you cannot beat someone with no one. This white knight probably couldn’t unite Republicans. There are many reasons not to like Trump if you’re a Republican.

I just don’t see Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan, and other GOP leaders risking the wrath of Trump followers by promoting primary runner-up Ted Cruz, who is at least the second-most-hated man in the GOP. And if not Cruz, then who?

John Kasich, backed by a whopping 13.8% of primary voters? Sure, his general election polling numbers against Hillary Clinton looked good six weeks ago. But that was just as Trump began a string of 16 consecutive primary wins – most by outright majorities – and before Clinton locked up the Democratic nomination. Kasich hasn’t included in polls since May 1st, and no one knows if he would draw the same support now.

All in all, the Trump Dumpsters will probably smolder until the convention, but I doubt they’ll reach ignition temperature.


“Not because [Trump] couldn’t pay them but because he could stiff them”

Last night in Campus Question, our mail room clerk said she’d look for a transcript of Hillary Clinton’s economic speech yesterday in Columbus, Ohio. And by that she meant she’d leave a note beside my nut bowl. So I looked. I couldn’t find a transcript, but the New York Times and Columbus Dispatch both have highlights, as does Vox:

Hillary Clinton’s speech Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, was perhaps most effective when she went after Donald Trump’s personal business career as outrageously and unusually exploitative of the middle class – characterizing not just his policies but his business career as motivated by lies and greed.

“This is [Trump’s] one move. He makes over-the-top promises that if people stick with him and put their faith in him, he’ll make them wildly successful,” Clinton said. “Then everything falls apart, and everyone gets hurt.”

Though large chunks of the speech focused on voicing standard Democratic lines about tax cuts for the rich, raising the minimum wage, and the need to protect Obamacare, she put her strongest delivery into points that cast Trump as uniquely unqualified for president based on his decisions and record as a businessman.

“He defaulted and bankrupted his company not once, not twice, but four times,” Clinton said. “He’s written a lot of books about business, and they all end at Chapter 11.”
Clinton said Trump had been sued more than 35,000 times, including by small businesses, and that there were hundreds of liens filed against him.

The victims behind these lawsuits were “painters, waiters, plumbers – people who needed the money and didn’t get it – not because [Trump] couldn’t pay them but because he could stiff them,” Clinton said. “Contractors, many of them small businesses, took heavy losses. But Donald Trump came up fine.”

I think that will be Clinton’s strongest argument against Trump. Americans have a range of views on climate change, foreign policy, Wall Street regulation, women’s reproductive freedom, LGBT equality, and the like.

But I’ll bet most Americans agree that treating contracts like toilet paper – routinely shafting people after they’ve done the work you hired them to do – is a scuzzy, immoral way to do business.

And as promised – again by the mail room clerk, and delivered by yours truly – here is Elizabeth Warren’s video attacking Donald Trump’s economic record:

You’re welcome.


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Good day and good nuts