Donald Trump continues to do things the GOP Establishment hates, like taking aim at the career politicians who don’t care about everyday Americans and telling it like it is, day after day. So some Republicans are busy drawing up their ultimate contingency plan: vote for Hillary.
An uneasy truce has existed between Trump and the Republican Establishment overlords ever since it became clear the bombastic billionaire was no fringe candidate. As repulsive as they might find Trump and his ideas, they could at least unite under the “Anyone but Hillary” umbrella.
But Trump’s calls for a temporary prohibition on Muslims entering the United States has upset that equilibrium, as he was met with harsh criticism from across the political spectrum and has drawn condemnation from virtually every other GOP presidential candidate — with the notable exceptions of fellow outsiders Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and retired doctor Ben Carson.
Trump’s proposal has prompted Republican talking heads to proclaim that maybe Hillary isn’t so bad after all — especially if she uses her foreign policy “credentials” to paint herself as unshakeable in the fight against terrorism.
For them, “Anyone But Hillary” has become “Anyone But Trump.”
“What an amazing brand she would have to offer the American people right now, even Republicans that are in search of a unifying strong leader against ISIS,” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough said Wednesday. Scarborough is a former Republican member of Congress.
“I thought she gave a great speech on ISIS,” Nicole Wallace, a former communications director to President George W. Bush, said of Hillary
“I thought she gave a great speech on ISIS,” Nicole Wallace, a former communications director to President George W. Bush, seconded on Morning Joe, comparing Clinton’s views to those put forth by hawk Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham. “People want to see the ISIS crisis solved by serious leaders. I think she could have a serious moment.”
Even before the controversial Muslim ban proposal, professional Republicans were beginning to sour on the idea of Trump being president and began measuring the Oval Office drapes for Hillary. Some have already crossed over: Establishment candidates Jeb Bush and John Kasich have refused to say they would support Trump should he prevail.
Last week, Mike Fernandez, a billionaire supporter of Bush, took out a full-page ad in the Miami Herald calling Trump “a BULLYionaire with a hunger to be adored” and saying he would vote for Hillary if Trump were the nominee.
In late November, The Hill newspaper reported a meeting of powerful GOP donors in Beverly Hills in which a significant number of attendees sided with Clinton when asked who they would support in a hypothetical Trump versus Clinton race.
The fact that these conversations are occurring is in itself a remarkable development, especially when considering the resources the Republican Party has expended in its attempt to derail Hillary and her presidential aspirations over the past decade.
But those everyday Americans Trump is talking to are paying attention. And he knows it.