According to the current Republican convention rules, Donald Trump is the GOP nominee. Months ago, when Trump was leading, the Krauthammers and Kristols of the world were quick to point out that Trump needed to get 1,237 delegates to claim the nomination. They were just as quick to predict that Trump wouldn’t get to that number and legitimized calls for an open convention. Trump now stands at 1,542 delegates, but that hasn’t put to rest the calls for a floor fight in Cleveland.
Just as Trump’s campaign should be staffing up and pivoting to the upcoming general election campaign, the campaign now needs to focus on winning a primary campaign that they have already won. Trump employs a staff of roughly 70 people—an incredibly low number when compared to Clinton’s staff of 700. Yet, Trump is now forced to devote manpower and resources to fend off a challenge from the floor. Politico reports that Trump “will rely on a team of 150 volunteers and paid staff to keep the convention’s 2,472 delegates in line.”
However, it’s not just in terms of manpower where the Trump campaign is lagging behind. According to The New York Times:
Mr. Trump began June with just $1.3 million in cash on hand, a figure more typical for a campaign for the House of Representatives than the White House. He trailed Hillary Clinton, who raised more than $28 million in May, by more than $41 million, according to reports filed late Monday night with the Federal Election Commission.
Yet, George Will, at the National Review, is advocating that Republicans not donate to Trump’s campaign in an effort to stop Trump. He wrote, “[a] broke and embarrassing Trump campaign would be an easy loser in November.” Will, however, was operating under a false assumption that Trump’s rhetoric about self-financing was, somehow, a bluff. Many had criticized Trump for loaning his campaign large sums, as Trump could repay himself through the use of campaign contributions. However, on Thursday, Trump announced that his contributions to his own campaign, amounting to over $50 million, would no longer be loans, but bona fide campaign contributions.
The same pundits and activists who envisioned an open convention consistently claimed that their focus was selecting a nominee who could beat Hillary Clinton. However, through their renewed efforts to “dump Trump,” they are seriously hindering the development of Trump’s general election campaign. Their actions could cement a Clinton victory and all of the consequences therein.
A divided GOP will not beat the Clinton machine in November, so if the goal is to beat the Democratic nominee, it’s time for conservatives to circle the wagons and get behind Trump. If these, frankly ridiculous, plans to beat Trump on the floor of the convention in July were to succeed, the roughly 44 percent of the GOP electorate that voted for Trump, a staggering 13 million people, will be seriously disenfranchised. The idea that Trump’s failure to get a majority of the popular vote leaves him open to such a challenge is also ridiculous when one considers that John McCain only received 46 percent in 2008.
Beating Hillary Clinton should be the first and foremost goal of the conservative movement, and trying to “dump Trump” just isn’t going to accomplish that goal.
Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @Josh_Pinho.