The Republican Party is presently engulfed in civil war, divided between the many wings of the party. Moderates feel wronged, as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio were both pushed out by a bombastic businessman without party loyalty. Many within still stand unprepared to support probable presidential nominee Donald Trump.
It really couldn’t get any worse for the Republican Party.
Or could it?
Many Republicans are not satisfied with Trump as a nominee and are looking elsewhere. While some are comfortable with Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, others are looking elsewhere for answers. Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol is a prominent example of a Republican seeking a third party alternative.
Maybe they don’t believe Senator Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton are as bad as President Obama?
Statistically, the libertarian voting bloc within the Republican Party has never been large enough to have an impact. While the more conservative tea party bloc carries more weight, the Republican Party itself is still largely a moderate party. The libertarians or conservatives are not in control and will not be in the foreseeable future.
So while the argument that devout conservatives and libertarians would divide the vote for Mitt Romney was nothing more than a scare tactic, the idea that an exodus of establishment donors and moderate Republicans would divide the vote is very real. They are the life of the Republican Party.
What happens if Donald Trump wins the nomination? Establishment and moderate Republicans leave the party. What happens if Donald Trump walks into the convention winning, but loses in a brokered situation? Conservatives and libertarians leave the party, as well as many newly registered Republicans who joined to support a certain candidate.
All the Republican establishment is doing at this point is preparing for failure.
At the heart of this debate is the ongoing saga involving Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s appointee to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Since before Judge Garland was revealed as the official pick, Senate Republicans have led a crusade to oppose any nomination and refuse to even have hearings.
Given President Obama is widely seen as a member of the fringe left, it was logical to assume he’d pick a fringe left candidate to tilt the balance of the Supreme Court. While hardly conservative, Judge Garland is not what any expected and it was a well-played maneuver by the President.
Opposing Judge Garland seems like a no-brainer for the base, because if the Republican Party wins big this general election, they can appoint their own right wing Justice and swing the balance their way.
The only problem here is that many prominent forces within the Republican Party are working to undermine their own nominee. This is where the strategy makes no sense for the party. It’s opposing Judge Garland in order to leave the nomination for the next President. At the same time, the Republican Party is attempting to undermine their nominee for President.
Does the Republican establishment prefer a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court nominee over Judge Merrick Garland?