May 8, 2016
Old, No Longer Grand: The GOP Is Doomed

If the recent flurry of GOP luminaries announcing their intention to stay away from the 2016 convention is any indicator, the Grand Old Party is in deep trouble. You might even say that the GOP is doomed. According to political pundit John Zogby at Forbes magazine, the Republican Party is already dead.

The party of Lincoln perished at the ripe old age of 162 on March 15, 2016.

That's the day that Senator Mark Rubio cancelled his candidacy after losing soundly to Donald Trump in the Florida primary election. The 44-year old hometown candidate was the Great Republican Hope, expected to unite the GOP establishment, especially after Jeb Bush dropped out of the competition. Rubio's withdrawal from the presidential race sounded the death knell of the Grand Old Party, as far as rational Republicans are concerned.

For a minute, it appeared as if Mark Rubio stood a chance of keeping the GOP nomination out of the clutches of the ill coiffed, egomaniacal real estate baron from New York. According to CNN, Mark Rubio, whose campaign sound bite was "a new American century," was prominently positioned to beat the reality TV star in a number of state primaries. Until he wasn't.

It could have been his relative youth and inexperience that did him in, it could have been his ties to the Tea Party. It may have been what CNN called the "schoolyard insults" that Mark hurled at Donald. In retrospect, it was probably a combination of nervousness, bad timing, and ineptitude that tanked Mark Rubio's presidential run.

Rubio's comment about the size of Trump's hands was inferred by many to extend to other parts of his anatomy. The barrage of genitalia jokes that ensued in the wake of Rubio's sophomoric jest embarrassed a nation and was entirely unworthy of a presidential campaign. The first-term Florida senator later defended his part in the brouhaha when he told NPR that he insulted his rival because Trump had insulted "not just everyone in the race but women and minorities and the disabled. If you think you're going to attack people, you're going to get hit back."

Schoolyard insults, indeed.

When asked if he would support Trump if he won the nomination, Rubio told NPR:

"I don't want the Republican nominee to be someone that people have to make excuses why they're voting for him. What does that tell you when the Republican front-runner is someone that people are being asked constantly, 'Would you support them if they win?' It's unprecedented."
Mark Rubio must not be blamed for single-handedly bringing down the GOP. He's getting all the help he needs from Ted Cruz. According to an Alternet article published at Salon on Thursday, Cruz' primary victory in Wisconsin is likely to bring on a "Republican Thunderdome." The Washington Times called Cruz' Wisconsin win a "stunning blow" to the Trump campaign. Many agree that the 2016 Republican National Convention is shaping up to be a history-making disaster, no matter who winds up the GOP nominee.

With every other viable GOP candidate out of the running, the chance that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for the highest office in the land is practically a done deal. Don't put money on it yet, though. There's still a chance that the GOP will trot out a "third man" candidate at the last minute. As reported in Salon, a former McCain aide told MSNBC the following:

"You cannot have a candidate who has called our majority leader a liar. You cannot have a candidate who is loathed by the entire Republican party establishment and members of Congress and have him be a nominee who's going to be successful and can govern. Therefore, I think the rationale will be clear. We can't come to a consensus, this has been so divided.

We have to turn to someone else who can unify the party. No one really believes…[that] Ted Cruz can unify the party; Donald Trump is in the same category. Therefore, we need a unifier, not a divider. And we need someone who can win in November. When you stack that up to people who are delegates and activists and party leaders, it comes out: We need an alternative."

So, if the Cleveland GOP convention is contested, and there's a good chance it will be, who will be the party nominee? The Washington Times speculated that it could be Mitt Romney, who last Sunday stated that he would "not rule out" a party nomination, despite the fact that he is not an official candidate. Other possible nominees include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Whether any of them can successfully beat a Democrat in November's election is anyone's guess. What's certain, however, is that the upcoming Republican National Convention is sure to be a circus of monumental proportions.
The last time there was a contested Republican convention was in 1976, when the party was torn between incumbent Gerald Ford and erstwhile actor Ronald Reagan. According to Politico, the four-day convention was a 'riotous' event that saw Henry Kissinger 'raising hell,' threatening to quit, and demanding a roll call of drunken delegates.

In his 2012 biography, The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat, former Florida governor Charlie Crist wrote:

"Half a century ago, Ronald Reagan, the man whose optimism inspired me to enter politics, famously said that he didn't leave the Democratic Party, but the party left him. Well, listen, I can relate. I didn't leave the Republican Party. It left me."
Crist also said:
"As a former lifelong Republican, it pains me to tell you that today's Republicans—and their standard‑bearers, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan—just aren't up to the task. They're beholden to my-way-or-the-highway bullies, indebted to billionaires who bank­roll ads and are allergic to the very idea of compromise."
When the Republican Party was founded in Michigan in 1854, it was dedicated to then-radical ideas such as abolition of slavery, freedom and opportunity for all. John C. Fremont, the party's first presidential candidate, would likely not recognize the GOP as it is today.

RIP Republican Party 1854-2016

1856 Republican political poster
[Image via Currier & Ives/Wikimedia Commons]