Editor’s note: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a GOP consultant currently serving as senior advisor to Donald Trump for President. She has managed state and national campaigns, including the Huckabee for President campaign. Opinions, commentary and other essays posted in this space are wholly the view of the author(s). They may not represent the opinion of the owners of Talk Business & Politics.
In 1924, Republicans from around the country gathered in Cleveland, Ohio – it was the first time a national convention was held there and it was also the first time women were given equal representation.
Nearly 100 years later, Republicans are about to make history in Cleveland again, but for a different reason: they are on the verge of nominating a candidate who has never held political office to be the GOP’s standard-bearer for president.
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour explained the rise of Donald Trump as only Haley Barbour can: Voting for Donald Trump is the “perfect middle finger” to the Washington political class.
He’s right. Most Americans have lost confidence in political leaders on both sides in Washington and Donald Trump has given voice to their frustration.
But the Washington political class is not going down without a fight.
Every politician, pundit, and political junkie in the country is speculating on what will happen in Cleveland. Will Trump clinch the 1,237 delegates to win on the first ballot at the convention? If not, will John Kasich, Ted Cruz, or someone else emerge from a brokered convention?
Most important, will the people or the party bosses get their way?
Let there be no mistake: Trump leads by millions of votes and hundreds of delegates. If an establishment candidate like George W. Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney had that big of a lead, the Washington political class and media would be falling all over themselves to declare him the presumptive nominee. Not Trump.
Why? Trump is a direct threat to the Washington political class and Wall Street donor class because they don’t fund him and therefore don’t control him. Unlike many Republican and Democrat politicians, he is not their wholly-owned subsidiary.
So how do the GOP elites plan to stop Trump, who continues to win big states and add to his lead in votes and delegates? The latest and most ridiculous ploy is to change the rules at the end of the game and nominate someone who isn’t even running.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was smart to distance himself from this anti-democratic effort, because even worse than a convention fight between declared candidates would be to nominate someone who didn’t have the courage to run in the first place.
Making the decision to run for President is a difficult one, but actually running for president is grueling, humbling, and at times humiliating and painful. Day in and day out the candidate, his family, staff and supporters are viciously attacked by other campaigns and the news media. As a family member and advisor to presidential candidates, I’ve had people question my faith, disparage my fitness to be a wife and mom, and my name has never even been on the ballot.
Presidential candidates are held to the highest and most impossible-to-meet standards, not just morally but intellectually and physically. We all know no one is perfect, yet we all want our candidates for president to be the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Seventeen Republicans made the sacrifice to run for President of the United States. Now we are down to three. For all the talk about having a “fresh face” come in at a brokered convention to unite the party, the truth is nothing would do more to divide and destroy the party than to disenfranchise the people and nominate someone who has not earned it.
Americans are sick and tired of a patronizing political class that always knows what’s best for us. This is “the year of the outsider” and voters in both parties have registered their disgust with the political class at the ballot box.
If the party bosses deny the will of the people – including millions who are voting Republican for the first time – then the party bosses will have only themselves to blame for the result: Republicans could very well lose the presidency, their majorities in Congress, and the Supreme Court for a generation.
This is America. Sometimes the people get it right and sometimes we get it wrong, but for the good of our party and our country, let the people decide.