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April 13, 2016

Will Conservatives Unite Around A Nominee?


Jason Whitely

With the possibility of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz fighting over the presidential nomination this summer, one of the burning questions in Republican circles is whether conservatives will unite around the eventual nominee.

"I think there will be some significant number who identify as Republicans who will be grousing pretty seriously," said Michael Barone during a luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel on Wednesday.

The veteran Republican analyst and columnist for the Washington Examiner was the featured speaker for the Institute for Policy Innovation, a Dallas-based think tank.

"I think there will be some problems. I think Cruz is aware of that," continued Barone. "A disruptive candidate is a problem. This is one of the factors that would help Hillary Clinton."

The last multi-ballot convention, Barone noted, was the Democratic National Convention in 1952.

He agreed it's likely the Republicans will see a contested convention in Cleveland in July.

But Barone said the race for delegate support is already underway and he predicted the party would know who has enough support before the convention gavels into session on July 18.

Barone clearly does not support Trump and calls his policies "unworkable."

"The interesting race to me is Clinton and Cruz," said Barone. "That looks a lot like what we've seen in presidential and congressional elections."

Barone said Cruz's advantages are likely fewer blacks voting for Clinton than turned out for President Obama in 2008 and young voters more energized for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.

But Barone said Clinton's advantages include a low favorability rating for Cruz, Senate colleagues dislike the Texas freshman, and the Republican party is fractured.

Barone said a third party run by Trump isn't likely to materialize because his campaign has already missed some state filing deadlines.

"I think that's a misbegotten idea," said Barone.


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