Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus took to the airwaves Sunday and ripped party members. The party chieftain stood up and made a leadership decision to call out party members willing to risk losing this presidency just to make a point.
In an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation, Priebus made an obvious but veiled threat to John Kasich, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush after their lingering refusal to endorse the GOP’s nominee, Donald Trump. In light of Trump’s record-setting primary numbers, Priebus said, “Those people need to get on board. And if they’re thinking they’re going to run again someday…I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for them.” At least one of the three who refused to endorse is considered a contender for future elections.
As we head into the end-game of the 2016 general election cycle, there are still some pig-headed establishment Republicans, jaded by the electorate discarding them, holding out Trump endorsements. Where NeverTrumpers in the chattering class might be able to survive, their credibility is being decimated by their own stupidity.
In his interview with Face the Nation, Priebus intimated the RNC may consider steps to punish those who use RNC funds – and especially those who sign on to official party ground rules – and then abandon the party’s eventual nominee. Bush, Kasich and Cruz have yet to endorse Donald Trump.
It is important to remember here that each of the 17 GOP contenders who entered the political arena in the beginning signed a pledge to the party to back the eventual GOP nominee regardless of who that nominee was. To that end, Kasich, Cruz, and Bush have blatantly and egregiously broken their promises to the Republican faithful.
When asked to clarify his statement, Priebus demurred, saying that nothing has been decided but that it’s an issue the RNC’s executive and rules committee would be seriously looking at.
The “loyalty pledge,” while not legally binding, serves as a barometer to how the 17 original Republican candidates view the electorate. While Kasich, Cruz, and Bush all claimed to respect the voters and exist as in-touch with the people, it is the Republican rank-and-file they are disparaging and harming with their childish, elitist, and selfish act of non-cohesiveness with the party. No one wins if the party is splintered. Jeb Bush of all people should understand that, given how the Perot candidacy ended his father’s political career.
Important, too, to this issue is the fact there never should have been 17 people entering into the GOP Primary race in the first place.
As we all saw, it is impossible to slate a field so large and impossible to juxtapose them on a debate stage. It creates ballots like those seen in 2005 Iraq, where hundreds of people vied for a handful of positions.
The challenge for the party in the future it to figure out a fair and even-handed way to narrow down the candidates prior to the heat of the primary schedule.
Rest assured, had their been a limitation on candidates set by the establishment, both Trump and Ben Carson would have been on the outside looking in.
This is a very trick issue to settle, but it is something we may need to consider moving forward to ensure a divided party, such as we are seeing today, never happens again.
The admonishing of Priebus aside, he is taking a step to redemption in my book by calling Kasich, Cruz, and Bush out on their “taking my ball and going home” mindset. Best they endorse Trump and get on board. If they don’t want to listen to the hoopla in the days running up to the election, they can go on the Weekly Standard’s geriatric cruise and commiserate with Bill Kristol.
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