(Rich Galen, Mullings) – On Tuesday morning, I gave a speech to the board of the National Association of Independent Business. It was a political update.
Ten hours later, everything had changed. That Donald Trump won was not a surprise. That Ted Cruz dropped out, was.
That wailing and gnashing of teeth you’ve been hearing since Tuesday night is from the sales managers of every TV network news division, every political website, every newspaper, and every blogger on the planet who were certain they were going to be able to sell advertising to help cover the chaos that would be the Republican National Convention.
It is like one Major League Baseball team winning the World Series in a four-game sweep when the network had sold advertising for seven games.
John Kasich had no choice but to leave the campaign. Without Cruz to help him siphon off votes, there is no chance Trump will be stopped short of a first-ballot victory in Cleveland.
Kasich ended up looking like a little boy standing on the bluff overlooking the sea, shaking his fist and shouting at ocean-going vessels sailing by.
The ships didn’t care.
So, now the issue for Republicans is: Vote for Trump. Vote for Hillary. Or write in Abraham Lincoln.
If I were running for office, the best thing you could do would be to vote for me. But, if you were not disposed to vote for me the second best thing you could do would be to stay home. That’s worth a half vote because the worst thing is for you to vote for my opponent.
The first day of the end of any primary is a bad time to test the sympathies of the voters who supported the loser. The wounds are raw. The statements are harsh. The disappointment is deep.
Over time, the wounds (for the most part) heal. The statements, while not proclaiming undying fealty, are at least benign; and the disappointment gives way to the reality of what the consequences will be of your party losing.
In May 2015, a CNN/ORC poll had Marco Rubio leading the pack with 14 percent. Trump was back in 10th place at three percent, tied with George Pataki. I raise that as a warning flag regarding very early polls. The polls being released this week are likely to be just as predictive.
The hue and cry among the Reportorial Class has been: Whatever shall the Republican candidates running for offices from U.S. Senator on down do with Trump at the top of the ticket?
Here’s the answer: Some will struggle and drown. They will not have been the best candidates.
The good candidates will figure out a way to (a) wrap themselves in Trump’s line of shirts and ties when it helps them; (b) ignore him if what he’s saying is neutral; and, (c) say “I’m not running for President, I’m running for Congress from the 12th Congressional District of South Iguana and that’s what I’m focused on.
Case in point. Hillary Clinton, at a CNN forum in March said she would institute policies that would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Unfortunately, because Bernie Sanders won’t go away, she had to campaign in West Virginia (whose primary is next Tuesday) and was confronted by a real live coal miner who showed her photos of her kids and asked her how he was supposed to feed them (or words to a like effect).
If I were a Democrat running for office in West Virginia and had been asked about that, I would have said something like,
“Hillary Clinton is a New Yorker who thinks electric power comes from subway trains. I will be happy to help educate her Secretary of Energy and Administrator of the EPA when I’m in Congress and she’s in the White House.”
Hillary, when talking to the coal miner, lied about what she had meant.
As more people announce their support for Donald Trump, it will become easier for more people to support Donald Trump. That goes for fundraisers. For elected officials. And for people like me.
The Republican convention in Cleveland will belong to Donald Trump. The ownership of the Democrat convention in Philadelphia is still a little murky.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.