There is an important question that Republicans need to ask themselves right now. Would Donald Trump endorse Hillary Clinton if he failed to become his party’s presidential nominee? To add insult to injury, would Trump campaign for Hillary and tell his followers to vote Democratic if he is not on the Republican ticket?
Such a scenario is well within the realm of possibility, given the Donald’s personality and his history. After all, Trump is completely unethical, highly irrational, and totally lacking in party loyalty. Such a man would lose no sleep over betraying the Grand Old Party and its members.
Republicans need to ponder this possibility because there is about a 40% chance that Trump could lose the nomination. To capture the Republican nomination, Trump would need to receive the votes of 1,237 delegates.
He currently has 739 delegates, but U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has 465 delegates. Add U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-Florida) 166 delegates and Governor John Kasich’s 143 delegates to Cruz’s and the anti-Trump forces have 774 votes, enough to block Donald. Since Cruz is likely to get a large percentage of the remaining 944 delegates, Trump’s chances are actually very thin.
Beyond that, there is the possibility of a brokered convention in which a hall filled with delegates, many of whom loathe Trump, would choose the nominee. Such a scenario would play out if no candidate can get a clear majority in the remaining primaries.
A potential outcome is that Trump could go into the convention with a slight lead, and not win the nomination. A very angry Donald, who is out to get the Republicans for sabotaging his campaign, could walk out of Cleveland and straight into Hillary’s campaign.
Why Trump would back Hillary
Remember, we’re talking about Donald Trump, who loves to make big, bold, brash, and audacious moves. What would be more big, bold, brash, and audacious than for the former Republican frontrunner to come out and endorse the Democrat?
We must also remember that Trump seems to have absolutely no shame. He does not seem to be bothered by accusations of racism or projecting the image of a wild man. Donald loves to break the rules and offend people, and he takes delight in being totally unpredictable.
And Trump seems to employ a negotiating style of using the nuclear option. That is, threatening to take the most destructive course of action if he does not get what he wants. What could be more destructive to the Republicans than helping Hillary reach the White House?
I have to wonder is this is the reason why so many Republicans treated Trump with kid gloves and showed him respect until recently. Did he tell them that he would bolt the party and take his followers to Hillary’s camp if they refused to play ball with him?
Trump’s Threat to Leave the Republicans
Trump himself made such a veiled threat in September 2015 when made a “loyalty pledge” to the GOP. The pledge was contingent on the Republicans treating Donald fairly. Since Trump himself would decide what “fair treatment” is, he could break it at any time. It now looks like that is exactly what has happened.
Donald told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he had been treated unfairly by the Republican National Committee on March 28, 2016, and he said he withdrew his pledge, The Guardian reported. During the same town hall, Trump also sounded more like a Democrat than a Republican, stating that he thinks the federal government should be involved in both healthcare and education.
There is also the possibility that Trump is a petty and vindictive person who would want to punish Republicans for failing to nominate him. If that is the case, what would be the cheapest and easiest way to punish the Republicans? By switching sides and backing Hillary, that’s what.
Some Other Reasons why Trump would Endorse Hillary
When you study Trump’s history and his behavior, there are some other patterns of thought and behavior that lend credence to this argument. They include:
- Hillary is white, and Trump is something of a racist. He did not start openly backing Republicans until 2008 when the Democrats nominated a black man, Barack Obama. After that, Trump backed Republicans and started making the ludicrous birther attacks on Obama. Therefore, there’s a strong possibility that Trump will support Hillary, especially if she picks a white running mate. The possibility of a Trump endorsement for Clinton becomes all the more likely if the GOP picks the olive-skinned Hispanic Theodore Rafael Cruz as its candidate.
- Donald actually likes Hillary and seems to admire her. In 2004, he made this statement to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “Hillary’s always surrounded herself with very good people. I think Hillary would do a good job.”
- If he loses the nomination, Trump will presumably resume his real estate development activities in cities like New York and Chicago. To succeed at that, he will need the support of the mostly Democratic politicians who control those cities’ governments. What better way to get back in their good graces than to back their party’s nominee?
- Trump has a long history of supporting Democrats when it serves his purposes. Over the years, he gave money to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former aide to Obama and potential Hillary vice presidential pick, The Washington Post reported. Donald did this to protect his business interests, not because he has any sympathy for them. Now that some pundits think there’s a possibility that Democrats could take both Congress and the White House, Trump might decide he needs their favors and does them a favor.
- The alternative to endorsing Hillary’s third-party run for president would be expensive and complicated. Trump probably has neither the time nor the resources to lay the groundwork for a third-party challenge. All endorsing Hillary would take is one Tweet or press conference, less than five minutes of Trump’s time, and little or no money.
- Trump himself has ruled out a third-party run. He even made such a promise to CNN’s Chris Cuomo in December.
- “I’m going to be a Republican, I’m not going to be doing a third party,” Trump said. “No matter what.”
- Notice that Trump said he would not make a third-party run, but he said nothing about endorsing Hillary or a Democrat. Since Trump has also proclaimed himself a Democrat, such a statement is worthless.
- Trump is no conservative. In the past, he has praised Democratic policies, including the auto industry bailout and Obamacare. He has also been at odds with Republican orthodoxy on issues ranging from free trade to foreign policy. Trump would feel more at home ideologically in the camp of pragmatic centrist Hillary Clinton than in the campaign of unyielding conservative Ted Cruz.
- Trump loves to throw bombs. What bomb would be bigger or louder than a Hillary endorsement?
- Endorsing Hillary and telling his working class followers to vote for her would be a great way to hurt Ted Cruz and other Republicans that have failed to embrace the Trump Presidential Fantasy.
Given all this, a Trump endorsement of Hillary is more likely than we think. Now we would ask ourselves how Trump’s followers would react if they see their icon out campaigning for the woman they regard as the devil incarnate?
Another fascinating question to ponder is if Hillary would accept Donald’s support or not. It’s a bizarre year in American politics, and things could get a lot stranger in coming months.