Hewitt’s employed by the same company that owns our site but I’d say the same thing in defense of anyone whom Scavino wants to exile from the convention. If being a Republican means nothing more than pledging loyalty to Trump such that opposing him forfeits your right to attend party gatherings, then you should follow Hewitt out if he’s banned. Unless I misunderstood him this morning, Hewitt is still willing to vote for Trump in November; he wants Trump replaced at the convention because he thinks he’s a sure loser against Clinton, not because he can’t in good conscience support him. If that’s not good enough to get him through the door in Cleveland despite having been a loyal Republican for decades, which is much more than you could say for the nominee, then walk away with him.
And even if he did say he couldn’t vote for Trump in good conscience, why should he be banned for that? Should the populist Republicans who refused to vote for Romney be banned too? The party is bigger than Trump. Or at least it should be.
Assume hater Hugh Hewitt will not be attending the @GOP Convention. If he is – the RNC should BAN him from attending.
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) June 8, 2016
Authoritarians gonna authoritarian, I guess. Maybe what you’re seeing here from Scavino is panic, aimed at Hewitt because he’s a convenient target after this morning’s comments but driven by fear of a broader revolt. If you believe some anti-Trumpers, the delegates themselves have begun whispering about possibly dumping Trump.
“When the media is debating whether or not our nominee is a racist, we are losing,” said Colorado Republican Guy Short, one of 112 convention delegates who will sit on the Rules Committee, a panel that has the power to free delegates required to vote for Trump. “I received an email just this morning from a fellow delegate pleading for a rules change to stop Trump and proposing specific rules to do just that.”…
“I’ve had delegates from more than a half dozen states contact me about removing themselves from Trump Cult and its cancerous effects,” said Steve Deace, an influential Iowa radio host who backed Ted Cruz in the primary and has continued to agitate against Trump.
Erick Erickson claims there are Republican donors out there willing to pledge money to help whip votes against Trump at the convention — if he continues to behave like a loose cannon, especially in the short term with people screaming at him on all sides to lay off the Trump University stuff. Meanwhile, other Republican donors who’ve signed on to help Trump with the campaign reportedly are feeling uneasy about their commitment:
Last month, in launching the Trump Victory joint fundraising committee, the RNC unveiled a list of nearly two dozen vice chairs and trustees who were tasked with helping raise money. Many of those involved, though, say they’ve since turned downright morose about their role. Some have been confronted with complaints from family members – “How could you?” one reported their children asking – while others say coming out in support of Trump have left them feeling vulnerable for their personal safety. Others say they signed on to help out of loyalty to the party but are struggling to stay motivated.
Some say they’ve considered quitting. Others said they’ve done little to help the fund, but allowed the RNC to use their name because the committee asked…
One pitch: asking for checks to be written to the RNC and not to Trump. That way, a contributor’s name won’t appear on the campaign’s federal campaign finance filings.
Always a good sign when potential donors are willing to give only on the condition that they not be publicly associated with the candidate. It’s not just in fundraising either where Team Trump’s finding reluctance among would-be allies to join the cause: Reportedly they’re having trouble filling campaign positions, including a plum job like communications director. (In a separate but related — and potentially much bigger — problem, Benjamin Wittes claims he’s heard from multiple DOJ lawyers who can’t decide if it’d be ethical to remain in their jobs under President Trump.) Some GOP donors told Politico that Trump may have trouble even raising as much as $300 million, which, if you include campaign, party, and outside group money, would be nearly a billion dollars less than Romney and the GOP raised in 2012. Trump’s undoubtedly right that his media advantage means he doesn’t need to raise as much as Mitt, but a billion less? And if he’s going to make up the difference in cable and broadcast news appearances, how can he resist giving the press the sort of shiny-object circus act that they crave but which most of the GOP is begging him to give up on?
Hewitt responded to Scavino, by the way:
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) June 8, 2016
The only realistic hope that anti-Trumpers have of getting delegates to stage a coup, I think, is if Trump’s polling tanks before the convention. That would eliminate the single best reason for sticking with him, that no matter how bad he is, Hillary Clinton is worse and that he’s the GOP’s strongest candidate against her this fall. Those polls would have to turn awfully bad awfully soon, though. Reuters published a bad poll for him yesterday — Hillary 44, Trump 35, none of the above 21(!!) — but even there, he’s still within single digits with lots of votes up in the air. I think he’d need to trail by something like 15 points, across multiple polls and for several weeks, before delegates conclude that they have nothing to lose in risking an election-tanking party schism by deposing him.
Exit question: If Trump ends up dumped, who ends up as nominee? Leon Wolf claims there are rumors afoot that Scott Walker would be willing to step in. (I haven’t heard anything like that, but oh well.) Is that why Walker’s withholding his endorsement?