Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Hey GOP, Donald Trump isn’t the enemy | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Hey GOP, Donald Trump isn’t the enemy

Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County. His column appears in every Tuesday in the Summit Daily News.
btrollinger@summitdaily.com |

Memo to Mitt Romney: Don’t speak. You became irrelevant four years ago when you blew what should have been an easy win.

Memo to the favor-traders, back-handers, bait-and-switch politicos, stand-pat types, handlers, advisors and moneymen who constitute what one might consider the “establishment” of the Grand Old Party: Be careful. You’re on the brink of following Mitt down the rathole, which would be no great loss except given your frustration at losing control, you’re likely to take the party down with you.

It’s happened before. Remember the abandonment of Barry Goldwater by the Republican establishment of the day, the country-club, Harvard-Yale-Princeton set recoiling in horror from an actual conservative and from flyover country, no less. A Romney was involved in that, too, so we’re seeing a pattern, here. The result was a spanking for the nascent Conservative wing of the party and four years of profligacy under LBJ, with which GOP elders had little problem.

And before that. In the election of 1912, government bureaucrats, party officials and moneyed interests used blandishments, threats and rules “adjustments” to deny the Republican nomination to Theodore Roosevelt instead re-nominating William Howard Taft, a hardworking but politically-naive president they considered more predictable and easier to control. Roosevelt took reformers and modernists out of the party, formed his own and won more than four million votes. Taft placed third with three and a half million. Progressive Woodrow Wilson polled six million and was elected. Five years later, we were in the middle of World War One. Eight years later, the peace had been lost, largely through Wilson’s intransigence. World War Two became inevitable. Sometimes, political spats caused by bad humor and hurt feelings reach across decades and around the world — with unforeseen and deadly consequences.

What we see today beggars imagination. The Democrat side of the race for the White House features a contest between an old, tired candidate whose sole idea seems to be more of the same, only more, and an older candidate whose ideas have functioned only in countries, which are small, ethnically and socially unified and wealthy. In any sane universe, they would provoke laughter and sympathy, not serious consideration — particularly given the past eight years. Their defeat should be a given.

The problem is, the other party is in disarray because those who hold the reins don’t like the frontrunner. He speaks like Andrew Jackson, has the policy acumen of Huey Long and — horror of horrors — is packing people into the Grand Old Party in a way that hasn’t been seen since Ronald Reagan’s Grand Coalition. Yes, that’s been a stated goal of the party, but these are not the right people. They aren’t deferential to their betters. They work for a living. They love both God and country and don’t mind saying so. They don’t have time for doublespeak or political correctness. And they definitely don’t understand how the game of politics is played: When someone promises to do something and doesn’t, they aren’t sympathetic. Republican party leaders derailed Ronald Reagan in 1976 and tried to do so again in 1980 over many of these same concerns, so there is consistency, at least.

How can the swamp that is the GOP be drained in time to field a candidate who will give Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democrat pick, the drubbing she deserves? Always assuming the FBI doesn’t get there first, that is …

First, respect the process. This is essential to Conservatism in addition to being plain good sportsmanship. Republicans have primaries, so the people have a chance to pick a candidate in the open — unlike Democrats, whose primaries are so larded with hand-picked “special delegates” that the party apparat has more power to move the needle than Xcel does to raise your electric bill. Be Republicans, and listen to the people.

Second, understand and embrace the anger with Washington. The GOP and its representatives are part of that target, true — but that doesn’t prevent it being part of the solution. Backroom deals, winner-picking, playing favorites, favor-trading, pay-to-play corruption — that may be the way Hillary Clinton and her cronies plan to continue to line their pockets, but that doesn’t mean the American people like it — or will shut up and take it if the voice demanding they do so is shrill enough. Surf the wave, or be swept away.

Finally, stand for something and be clear about it. One of the final four already does this. The eventual candidate will have to do so every day in the big dance. No, “being an adult” and “competence” aren’t things to stand for. They are tools to achieve and end, not the end in itself. Don’t confuse them.

Above all, understand who the opponent is, and what. Here’s a hint: Her name’s not Donald.

Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.

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