Jonah Goldberg writes in The National Review that Trump is stoppable within the parameters of the rules for nominating a candidate:
Starting March 15, primary winners get all of a state’s delegates. Losers don’t even get steak knives. In proportional Virginia, Rubio lost to Trump, but Trump got only one more delegate than Rubio. If no one gets to the convention with a majority of the delegates, the convention chooses a nominee. It might be Trump. Then again, it might not.
This may feel like cheating, but it isn’t. It’s just that conventions have been infomercials for so long, we’re not used to the idea that one might actually matter. Also, for the last 50 years, any candidate who could make it past Super Tuesday as a front-runner was acceptable to a majority of the party, and the pressure to coalesce was strong. Things are different this time because Trump is different. His supporters — many of whom are not Republicans, Trump is fond of noting — may not like it, but the man is simply unacceptable to many conservatives.
This was posted on March 4, a day before Rubio finished third in Kansas, Louisiana, and Kentucky and fourth in Maine, and it was also before the primaries yesterday, where Rubio finished third in Hawaii and Idaho and fourth in Michigan, so you can excuse Goldberg’s precious prognostication that Rubio’s attacks on Trump during the last debate “paid off.”
Besides Goldberg stooping to the pathetic admission that the primaries and nominating process for his party of choice are essentially a reality show, he advances the same argument many other Republicans do:
If opposing Trump is now the definition of the establishment, then roughly 66 percent of GOP primary voters are members of the establishment.
Yes, I get it. Trump is not getting the majority of the votes. No one is. But Trump is getting the most votes, and no matter how many ways you want to cut it, this argument that every non-Trump vote is also an anti-Trump vote is stupid. Ted Cruz is probably only despised a little bit less than Trump by Republicans, but no one writes articles about how 71% of the votes cast have been anti-Cruz.
Trump is stoppable, according to the rules. And if he is stopped and that makes you sad, don’t hate the players, hate the game.
Well, of course Jonah would say that. It’s why he thinks Obama should allow his successor to appoint a judge to SCOTUS, or at least nominate a conservative, because Goldberg is like every other conservative who thinks the electorate should have a voice in who gets the seat, even though the electorate participated much more in electing Obama than they did the Republican senate. It’s why he thinks Al Gore would have been one of the ‘worst villains in American political history‘ had he gone after Bush for having had the Presidency pulled out from under him. That Supreme Court ruling and the current Republican senate’s actions are technically in accordance with the rules, but they’re rules Goldberg would be outraged about if anyone other than Republicans enforced them. With Scalia’s replacement, Obama shouldn’t follow the rule of nominating someone because it’s bad form, it’s unprecedented, but Republicans can and should absolutely obstruct the President from even nominating someone because they have the right in accordance with the rules. In both situations, and potentially in the future if a brokered convention happens, rules will save Republicans when they don’t have the popular support they need.
But here’s the bigger point: why does Goldberg or anyone else think that arguments about plurality are going to satiate rabid Trumpites? You can explain to them all day long that Trump didn’t get the required number of delegates, that he didn’t get 51% of the voting share, that the procedure the party is following is 100% in accordance with pre-established and longstanding rules, and they won’t care. They’ll see it much more simple terms, namely that Trump (presumably) got the most votes and the most delegates, and that even if he didn’t get the suitable number, surely the party should still nominate him since he had the strongest run. And you know what? It’s hard to argue with them in that respect, much as anyone might hate it.
Would Goldberg tell the electorate in a general election that they should ‘hate the players, not the game’ if this happened in a general election? Imagine we have a three-way race with Clinton, Rubio, and Trump, and none of them get the required 270 electoral votes. Clinton has the most votes, Trump places second, and Marco a distant third. The Republican house votes in favor of Rubio, and our next President of the United States is not only a man who got less than half the popular vote, but one who got the smallest share out of the three running. Technically it could happen, and it would be in accordance with the rules. But anyone who wouldn’t see such an act as complete subversion of our democratic process is someone who only cares about getting what they want, because what they want is morally superior to what you want.