To understand the Butterfly Effect, one must understand whence the butterfly came.
To say that the 2016 Republican Presidential Campaign has become interesting since June of last year is a bit of an understatement, to say the least. An out-of-the-blue “chaos injection” on June 16th (that FOX News polling saw coming as early as March 31st, but no one else picked up on until late May) became the nationally-recognized front runner not five weeks later, completely leapfrogging the “heir apparent” (who promptly went into a freefall, and has now exited the campaign). Because of this chaos injection, one candidate, who was until that point considered to be irrelevant, leapfrogged to become the national runner-up about five and a half weeks later (and was the national front-runner for three days in November), and two young guns are now openly tussling for second place nationally, neither of whom were supposed to have a realistic chance to begin with.
As should have been expected, the thorough derailing of the coronation train for the republican heir apparent makes the professional political establishment very unhappy, and, of course, they’re hell-bent on doing something about that. But the reason that all of their scrambling is increasingly ineffective is that they don’t seem to really understand the causa provocare of the outsider’s challenge, perhaps because they really don’t understand the degree to which the typical voter is disgusted with the political status quo in America, or why. Thus, predictably, the flailing increasingly exposes them for who they are and what they intend, which conversely makes the outsider’s job that much easier.
Before I really get into this, I’m going to review a couple of historical notes from the 2012 republican presidential primary campaign. First, even though Mitt Romney was consistently billed as the “front runner” in the media, the reality is that he consistently polled in second place nationally (20% to 25% popular support), while Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum all in turn polled as the national front runner prior to Super Tuesday. Second, the pre-convention change to Rule 40(b), to require demonstrating the support of a majority of eight states severally as a pre-requisite for nomination (instead of the pre-change wording requiring the support of a plurality of five states severally) was intended to prevent the presentation of Rick Santorum’s nomination just as much as that of Ron Paul’s nomination. As Sundance over at The Last Refuge published in April of last year, this is because the RNC/GOPe professional political establishment learned their lesson from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 primary victory over George Bush (and Dutch’s 1976 contested convention against Gerald Ford), and has since developed a reliably successful strategy to stymie any future movement candidate from ever securing the nomination, making only the inter-cycle changes needed to adapt to movement leadership that cannot seem to learn to think two election cycles ahead.
So, beginning with congressional leadership action in late 2013, carrying through the 2014 national and state party decisions to modify the primary calendar and delegate allocation and binding rubrics, and concluding with the state legislative actions in early 2015 to set the 2016 primary calendar into law, the roadmap was set to secure the nomination for one John Ellis Bush, and accomplish it knowing that their hand-picked candidate would only rarely poll outside the 15% to 20% range of popular support until after the “game day” primary on March 15th (Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio). Anticipating viable “outsider” challenges from Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and even Rick Perry (Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum being considered either irrelevant or improbable, and Donald Trump completely unanticipated), the split-and-fracture strategy was implemented, and augmented by compromising from within the four anticipated challengers (a sabotage job that only Cruz seems to have recovered from).
Thus, with every single intel tripwire triggering in the exact order and construct needed to validate the hypothesis, the 2016 presidential cycle was looking to be a colossal exercise in futility for the grassroots activists and main street voters, as the coronation trains to Cleveland (republican) and Philadelphia (democrat) were designed to produce a very specific general election match-up (Bush vs. Clinton), which would be a win for the professional political establishment and deep pocket financiers regardless of the November outcome. And then . . .
I know that there are more than a few Cruz supporters who are regular readers of this site, so I’m going to finish this section with a brief sidebar and mention a few things, which I freely admit will be difficult truths to accept (and I suspect the hardcore won’t anyway), but that do need to be plainly said:
- For the sake of the argument, removing Trump from the equation, even at this juncture, provides absolutely no path to nomination for Cruz. Doing so simply ensures that the establishment’s coronation train gets back on track – albeit with a relief pitcher now on the mound – and both Cruz and Carson are relegated to the dustbin as soon as March 15th is in the rearview mirror . . . because that was always the plan prior to Trump’s entry. It’s probably worth noting at this point that likely the only reason that Kasich is still in this campaign, though he’s the least “owned” of the split-and-fracture squad, is as an establishment failsafe in the event of Rubio’s likely crash and burn.
- This has absolutely nothing to do with the reality that a man of solid principle, after an entire year of the media machine and political establishment siege seeking his destruction left him exhausted and isolated, made a series of poor decisions and inadvertently placed himself in a position of compromise. This has nothing to do with Cruz’s questionable relationships with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Wall Street banking interests, or his alleged clandestine support for the TPPA. Nor does this have anything to do with the Cruz campaign’s unnecessary, nasty, and personal attack on Trump, nor that the Cruz campaign was caught lying about Carson dropping out, nor that the Cruz campaign has resorted to evangelism as a GOTV strategy, nor the Cruz campaign’s sketchy 2015 Q4 financials. Each of those objections, regardless of validity, is absolutely irrelevant in this context.
- The one and only reason that Cruz has no path to nomination, absent Trump, is because the RNC/GOPe “roadmap to Cleveland” was specifically and explicitly designed to prevent Cruz (along with Perry, Walker, Paul, and Carson) from ever securing enough delegates to become the nominee, or enough delegation majorities to force a floor fight over the nomination. The roadmap was designed to produce exactly one predetermined result (with a backup option in the event that ¡Yeb! failed to gain traction), and lock it down on the first ballot in Cleveland. The one and only reason that both Cruz and Carson are still in the mix is that, eight months ago, Trump came in and proceeded to singlehandedly shred the establishment roadmap, and systematically demolish two years of meticulous backroom planning.
- Accepting these truths also means accepting the reality that Cruz has exactly two options if he wants any post-convention relevance: (a) Do whatever is necessary to mend fences with both Carson and Trump, and position himself to provide constitutionally-sound policy advice to Trump post-convention, and perhaps even post-election. (b) Broker some behind-the-scenes deal with Rubio, and position himself to become Rubio’s running mate (or Rubio to become his), on the assumption that a combined Rubio-Kasich-Cruz effort can force a contested convention.
. . . and thus the sidebar. The objective, brutal reality is that neither Carson nor Cruz ever had a shot at the nomination prior to Trump’s entry into the race. That’s just the way that it is. Carson seems to have accepted this reality. Cruz cannot be blind to it, and I suspect that his behavior in last Thursday’s debate has clued us in as to which option he’s chosen.
Given that Donald Trump had floated the idea of campaigning for POTUS before (1988, 2004, and 2012), as well as for Governor of New York (2006 and 2014), one could forgive the professional political establishment, deep pocket financiers, and corporate media talking heads for not taking the guy seriously on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015, when he launched his exploratory committee for the republican POTUS nomination. But in the thirteen weeks between then and the Tuesday, June 16th, formal announcement of his candidacy (“I am officially running for president of the United States.”), Trump did things that he wouldn’t do if this were a mere publicity stunt – stock divestitures, disconnecting conflicts of interest, and escrowing certain real estate sources of income. Yeah, he’s serious about this, and because he isn’t owned by either Wall Street, or K Street, or the RNC/GOPe party apparatus, by the time that the professional political establishment, deep pocket financiers, and corporate media talking heads actually figured out that “The Donald” was, in fact, quite serious about his stated intentions . . . well, I understand that underwear sales in that part of the country temporarily spiked a tad.
The timing of Trump’s entry into the campaign was, I believe, intended to take advantage of the entire RNC/GOPe 2016 primary construct, once it was locked into place, in a way that allows him to use the rules changes against the very people those changes were designed to benefit, effectively hoisting them on their own petard. Should Trump secure a majority of the convention voting delegates (Rule # 40(d)), and a majority of the delegations of at least eight states severally (Rule # 40(b)), then, according to Rule # 16(a), which binds delegates to the outcome of their statewide (or district-specific) popular vote on at least the first ballot at convention, one Donald John Trump, Senior, becomes the nominee of the Party of Reagan. Game, set, and match to Trump, and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it . . . on paper.
Trump was also savvy enough to know what he was walking into, evidenced by brilliantly deconstructing the Achilles heel of the road map during a presser last August (full video here). Yet, since his entry, he has spoken the truth both to the powerful and the common on trade reform, immigration reform, foreign policy failures, tax reform, and veterans’ issues (among many others). In doing so, he has forced the other candidates, on both sides of the aisle, to respond by engaging in serious discussions on those very same issues. He also had the stones to go after George W. Bush regarding 9/11 and Iraq, which is supposed to be sacred ground to “republicans” (and could do much more damage in that regard if he wanted to). And that wall on our southern border? Notice that neither Felipe Calderon nor Vincente Fox are questioning whether the wall should be built, but only that Mexico will not be paying for it (a distinction that the press is somehow overlooking). Yet, there’s something that neither of them wants us to know about, which likely provides a means (in addition to renegotiating trade agreements and impounding the foreign aid) to raise enough money – at Mexico’s expense – to pay for the wall.
Again side-barring briefly, and for what it’s worth, the end-of-February “benchmark” for the inside track to delegate majority is 67 (bare majority of the 133 total delegates awarded in the four early states). Trump had 68 coming out of South Carolina – because the New Hampshire GOP revised the numbers during the certification process, transferring one from Rubio to Trump – so Trump’s 14 Nevada delegates are pure cushion at this point. The cumulative total of delegates available on Super Tuesday (AK (28) + AL (50) + AR (40) + GA (76) + MA (42) + MN (38) + OK (43) + TN (58) + TX (155) + VA (49) + VT (16)) is 595, of which the benchmark (595 ÷ 2) is ≈ 298. Thus, the overall benchmark on Wednesday morning will be (67 + 298) at least 365 delegates. It’s being widely discussed that the “game over” Super Tuesday benchmark for not-Trump is eight states. (Recent polling indicates Trump leading in AK, AL, GA, MA, OK, TN, VA, and VT; Cruz is leading in AR and TX, and Rubio is leading in MN. Regardless of polling data, CO and WY are non-binding dog-and-pony shows.) The thought is that if Trump pulls fewer than eight states today, or finishes with fewer than the 283 delegates needed to push his running total to 365, then whomever is in second place nationally at that point still has a shot at the nomination . . . on paper. Otherwise, if he hits both benchmarks . . . well
Now, mind you, just because the game may soon be all but over on paper doesn’t mean that the powers that be are going to quit, no siree! The uni-party globalists are aware that a Trump win ultimately means that their hands will be forcibly pried from the public trough, and they don’t care for reversing the decline of America that not only they, but also their philosophical ancestors, have been engineering for a shade over a century. The prospect of a nominee, and in all likelihood a president, who isn’t owned by them (therefore doesn’t answer to them), has detailed insider knowledge of what needs to be done to restore America to greatness (plus openly “America first” in his thinking), and is well aware of what they’re up to, has them quite concerned. And those of us who’re paying attention are seeing the indicators that they’re preparing to reach deep into their bag of dirty tricks.
Students of history may recall the “Republican Disunity” 1964 campaign ad run by Lyndon Johnson, which focused on public remarks from republican governors Nelson Rockefeller (New York), William Scranton (Pennsylvania), and George Romney (Michigan), said remarks calling the credibility of republican senator and presidential nominee Barry Goldwater (Arizona) into question, and saying in effect that Goldwater’s nomination and election would essentially end the Republican Party. This was the ad that ultimately gestated the principle now known as Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment.
More recently, in the 2014 U. S. Senate primary runoff in Mississippi, the National Republican Senatorial Committee pulled out all the stops to defend one of the establishment’s own (Thad Cochran) against an insurgency challenger (Chris McDaniel). Recall that McDaniel won the initial matchup on June 3rd, but because he finished 1,719 votes short of an outright majority, a runoff election took place three weeks later. During those three weeks, racist attack ads, paid for by prominent republican senators and Karl Rove’s super PAC motivated black democrats to show up and boost Cochran to a 7,667-vote runoff win. (Apparently, a little vote buying didn’t seem to hurt, either.)
Now, while you’re thinking about Goldwater and McDaniel, allow me to also remind you of Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller, and Ken Cuccinelli, each of whom upset an entrenched establishment insider in their primaries, and each of whom was subsequently and openly betrayed by the Republican Party in the general campaign. These five names should suffice to remind you that the RNC/GOPe will not hesitate to burn down their own house, as long as they retain their seat at the public trough. And yes, that means that the professional power brokers and deep pocket financiers will have no problem with a Hillary win this year, because they will still have the access that they crave, and the damage to liberty and the republic be damned.
The signals were already being sent late last year, that the professional political establishment was preparing to lay the groundwork for one of two options, either (a) force a contested convention, so as to block Trump’s nomination on the convention floor and insert a more suitable option, or (b) field an independent general election candidate – à la George Wallace – who can potentially pull enough states to force an Amendment XII Electoral College deadlock, and throw the election to the House of Representatives. Option A requires the candidates already in the field to be able to, individually or collectively, hold Trump below the 1,237 delegates needed for nomination majority; option B requires someone acceptable to the RNC/GOPe, who could credibly conduct an independent campaign against both Trump and Clinton.
Do you think it a coincidence that now – after convincing wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada (and a credible second-place finish in Iowa) – that the attacks on Trump start to ratchet up in volume, intensity, and viciousness, attack ads that will be using paid acting talent in an attempt to force Trump to respond, and take him off his message? Do you think it ironic that the Isolate-Ridicule-Marginalize strategy includes last cycle’s news, who has been conspicuous by his heretofore silence, suddenly weighing in to state his absolute certainty that there must be some sort of bombshell hiding in Trump’s tax returns? Do you find it curious that there is now intel that the deep pocket financiers have already developed a contingency plan in the event that neither Rubio nor Kasich have gained any traction by March 15th? Does it surprise you at all that the person currently envisioned as the savior of the RNC/GOPe professional political establishment, is not in the current field of candidates?
And you can bet that Donald Trump is well aware of what the power brokers and financiers are up to, as he made subtly clear at a Mississippi rally roughly two months ago. Even better, we now have the probability that a certain former chairman of the Republican Governors Association, previously thought to be a part of the plan to grease the skids for a JEB nomination, may in fact have been a Trump mole the entire time. That hypothesis, if true, would explain much.
I apologize for the length of this essay so far (not intentional, but this is where the research took me), but I do need to make one more point, by bringing this back around to where I started. Those knocking Donald Trump, regardless of for what reason, absolutely fail to understand the rationale of his appeal, and why he is singlehandedly responsible for a 29% increase in republican primary turnout through the first four states. Main street voters and conservative grassroots activists have had it with establishment squish republicans who do a great job of preaching the Reagan Gospel on the campaign trail, but vote more like democrat-light once they’re in office. Main street voters and conservative grassroots activists actually value naked honesty in the face of one’s faults (as well as unapologetically rejecting faux outrage). Main street voters and conservative grassroots activists honestly couldn’t care less about evangelical religious arguments, because they care more that Trump has a clear and actionable plan on clear and present threats to our national economy and national security, and he owns the conversation on both counts.
For those not particularly well-versed in history, this isn’t Donald Trump’s first foray into a presidential race. Back in 2000, he sought the nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America (winning the primaries in California and Michigan). The RPUSA was the party that one H. Ross Perot founded in 1995, after his flop of an independent run in 1992, because he believed that Americans were disillusioned with the state of politics as being corrupt and unable to deal with vital issues, and that they wanted a viable alternative to the current two-party paradigm. Beginning with the 1996 campaign, Perot built up the party to the point that they were able to score some victories in several state legislative races (and notably succeeded in effecting the election of Jesse Ventura as Governor of Minnesota in 1998), and were poised to become a significant electoral threat – if given about six more years to build the necessary nationwide network.
Based on what a few former members of RPUSA have told me, the threat of a credible, principled, and persistent third party presence was scary enough that operatives from both of the two major parties spent the next four years quietly sabotaging RPUSA from within, dismantling it to steering committees in no more than six states (with ballot access in only four of those). Yet again, the professional political establishment had succeeded in temporarily silencing a constitutional insurgency. However, that disillusionment and discontent with American politics “as is” never went away. The people aren’t stupid; they are well aware that the contemporary two-party paradigm is only an illusion of choice, and that the real action takes place behind the scenes, in a club into which they haven’t been invited.
Donald Trump understood, even as far back as 1991, that the economy of the free world’s lone superpower requires a robust domestic manufacturing base, and he’s always identified more with the blue collar working class than with society’s upper crust. The reason that his position papers, to date, sound so much like the Reform Party platform is likely because that’s the platform that Trump subscribes to (minus the Buchanan-influenced social planks). Secure our borders, rebuild our military, honor our commitment to our veterans, fiscal responsibility, constitutional principles, an “America first” approach to negotiations with other nations, and no position on “social issues” unless such position is constitutionally supported. Hell, that’s not just Perot, that’s Reagan.
Maybe, just maybe, the reason that the professional political establishment and the deep pocket financiers are scared stiff about not just a Trump candidacy, but also a Trump presidency, is because they know where he’s coming from. They know, these globalist power brokers, that Trump means what he says when he speaks of renegotiating every single trade deal ratified over the past two dozen years, when he speaks of securing America’s borders and taking an Eisenhower approach to the 11 million to 30 million illegal immigrants now occupying our country, when he speaks of replacing ObamaCare with a free-market approach that cuts the insurance industry out of the loop, when he speaks of blocking the Common Core State Standards Initiative, when he speaks of overhauling the federal taxation and regulatory structure, and when he speaks of ensuring that Social Security and Medicare are fully funded.
Those of us inclined to prayer have been praying for someone who’ll take action against the political scoundrels, who will actually secure our borders and treat our veterans with the respect they’ve earned, who will do something to constructively address a national economy on the verge of a Cloward-Piven implosion. Has it occurred to no one that, in His infinite wisdom (and He does have a sense of humor), that the Almighty God may have provided Donald Trump as the one answer to all of those prayers?