As Chris Stirewalt reminded on Fox News last night, there are a handful of influential Republicans who believe having Trump “getting a kick in the pants” would destroy the populist arm of the party and lead to a Republican comeback. He said they are most likely using the example of 1964 when Goldwater’s defeat led to a power reorganization within the party culminated with Nixon’s victory four years later.
BUT THIS YEAR IS NOT LIKE 1964
The U.S. and the world of 1964 are not similar to 2016. Back then, the no-win Viet Nam situation virtually assured the Presidential winner of ’64 would not repeat in ’68 — Or why did Johnson shock the world when he announced he would not run in March of ’68?
Secondly, the future of the Supreme Court was not hanging on a precipice as it is now. Few appointments were expected of the Presidential winner of ’64. (Thurgood Marshall became Johnson’s only confirmed appointment.) The Court was already liberal. However, 1968’s presidential winner, Nixon, eventually made four Court appointments. They changed its composition from two conservative, five liberal and two moderate to five conservative and four liberal (with the help of one justice, Byron White going from slightly liberal to slightly conservative according to the study).1 This ratio has remained intact ever since, even with a change in some of the Court’s members and Justice Kennedy’s increasing tendency to be more liberal since this study was done.
1 – Source data from Michael A. Bailey, Georgetown University, June 2012 as posted in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideological_leanings_of_U.S._Supreme_Court_justices
Looking at 2016 Plus Four Years
Several appointments will likely be required of this election’s winner. The Court’s current 4-4 ratio with one vacancy will definitely change in the next presidential term. Once the new Court’s personality is established, it will remain unchanged for many years as it will be an even younger Court.
So, if some Republicans get their wish of a Trump defeat, the nation will not benefit EVEN IF they are able to limit a Hillary Administration to a single term. (Only two incumbents running for re-election have been defeated since Herbert Hoover. Gerald Ford is not included as he was not elected to the position of Vice President, but was appointed and confirmed.) The damage to the Supreme Court and the nation will already be entrenched before the 2020 election. Recapturing the White House in that election will mean much less than winning this year’s as far as the safety of our Constitution is concerned.
To the Republican Establishment: is it REALLY worth being led by pride to derail Donald Trump’s campaign? Granted, Trump is not the most stellar Republican candidate in many years. He is still more qualified than Hillary Clinton and her baggage of deceit. If the Congress remains in Republican control and he chooses a wise Cabinet, things will work out for the civilization we need to protect. If not, imagine what damage will occur in what will be essentially a third and possible fourth Obama terms.