Does the End Justify the Means?

Sometimes it is difficult to “do the right thing”. There are times that we simply know that doing the “right” thing is going to have a bad result. Those are the times it is tempting to do the wrong thing, in order to achieve a better result. But this is in keeping with the Machiavellian/Trotsky philosophy that “the end justifies the means”, and it is not the ideology upon which this nation was founded. This nation was founded on the idea that We The People can choose our president and congressmen, for better or for worse, let the chips fall where they may.

The “Grand Old Party”, aka GOP, aka republican party, is crumbling. There is wide debate about when the foundation began to crack, with some claiming it started as early as 50 years ago. My personal opinion is that it started with the rise of the “tea party” movement in 2009-2010, that took the party too far to the right of center to be palatable to most. No matter the cause, the party as it has been for the last century or so, will either undergo significant transformation in the near future or collapse and be replaced with something else. As people on a sinking ship tend to do, the GOP leaders are currently grasping at straws trying to save the party from the virus that is currently eating away at its structure. That virus is Donald Trump.

The GOP leaders are scrambling to try to find a way, democratic or not, to keep Trump from being their party’s nominee. I can certainly understand that, and one part of me would love to see them succeed. But alas … it is not the right thing. If the voters want Trump to be the nominee, then Trump should be the nominee. There is nothing in the Constitution that says the people shall elect a president unless their choice is noxious and odious, in which case the party leaders shall override the choice of the people. Make no mistake – I do not like Trump. There is nothing likeable about the man in my book. I am disgusted by the hate, the lies, the vitriol with which this man is wooing the republican voters, but I believe in the democratic process;  I believe the voters have the right to make that choice. That said, if he wins, I do not want to hear a single word of complaint from any of my republican friends … you make your bed, you wallow in it.

Could the GOP have kept Trump from entering the fray? Could they have kept him from gaining the momentum he has? Consider this … Trump has not earned a clear majority in any poll nor in any primary. His is considered by most to be the least favorite candidate among both democrats and republicans. The problem is that the number of candidates running on the republican ticket was too large in the beginning. Fortune magazine suggests that a “ranked” voting system where voters rank the candidates in order of preference, with the lower ranked candidates being dropped from the list and their votes given to the 2nd place candidate would have solved the problem. However, it is now too late to change the rules for this year’s election.

All of which brings us to today, with the GOP leaders attempting last ditch efforts to stop Trump from winning the nomination, not simply because they don’t like Trump, but because almost everyone understands that a Trump nominee nearly guarantees a win for the democrats in November. But it is unfair to the people to take the power of the vote out of their hands. At this late date, even if successful in stopping Trump, it is very doubtful that the republican party stands much of a chance against Clinton. So why stir the ire of their rank and file to launch a controversial “stop Trump” campaign at this point? It can only further weaken an already crumbled foundation and lead to more unrest within the party, indeed within the nation. The GOP intends to do all in its power to keep Trump from gaining that magic number, 1,237 delegates, by the end of the primaries, which will force a contested convention in July.

In a contested convention, the rules are discussed, proposed and voted on by the delegates. Rules can be made to favorably or adversely affect specific candidates … in other words, the rules are that there are no rules. Most delegates who are pledged to vote for a specific candidate, for example Trump, are only obligated to vote for that candidate on the first ballot. No clear winner is likely on the first ballot, so on the second ballot, when the convention moves from a contested to a brokered convention, nearly all delegates are able to vote their choice. Candidates would include Trump, Cruz and Kasich, of course, but also likely Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, neither of whom actually threw their hat in the ring this year, so it is impossible to know if the people might have voted for one or the other of them, given the choice. All of which says that if, as seems likely at this juncture, Trump does not have 1,237 delegates prior to the July convention, it is highly unlikely that he will be the republican nominee.

I have said before that Trump must be stopped. I believe I even once said he must be stopped “at all costs”. I still believe that he must be stopped, but there is a right way and a wrong way. Taking the choice out of the hands of the voters is a slap in the face to our democratic system and therefore, is not the right way. The right way is for all of us who see clearly the path Trump appears to be leading us down to speak out with clarity, intelligence, and composure. We must keep speaking out, calling to Trump’s followers, pointing out the ignorance and evil that Trump carries like a badge. It is the democratic way; it is the right way. Then, let the voters decide and the chips fall where they may.

6 thoughts on “Does the End Justify the Means?

  1. I completely understand your sentiments, and they make perfect sense, except that you started from the wrong premise. Because of the lack of understanding of our political system, many think the the political parties are public governmental institutions. That could not be further from the truth! They are PRIVATE organizations, and as such, have EVERY RIGHT to self-determine who to nominate as their candidate in a federal election. Primaries are actually a relatively new phenomenon, and the history has been that the local and state parties determine who their delegates to the national convention will be, who, in turn, determine the national nominee. Some states began having “presidential preference” votes, to get a sense of the will of the voting public, but they were not binding. The problem came when states adopted laws governing a PRIVATE process, thereby creating the perception of a RIGHT of the general public to choose a candidate to run in the general election. I understand that people are miffed about the delegate process, but as flawed as it might be in some cases, it is only fair that those that are chosen as delegates are ones that have been active in the party for years, putting boots on the ground and phones to the ear to get their party’s candidates elected to local, state and federal offices. Now, if John/Jane Q. Public wants to have a voice in the process, he/she is free to start at the ground floor, being involved and VOLUNTEERING like the rest of us on the local level, and earn a position of honor as a delegate to a convention, but it is NOT his/her right to demand that position, without having any skin in the game!

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    • Thank you for providing another perspective … one that I had not considered before. I will have to ponder on this a bit, but again, I appreciate your contribution and it certainly does add another facet to an already complex election year. 🙂

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  2. I couldn’t agree more. If Trump is the nominee chosen by the people, so be it. I will not be voting for him. If he becomes president, I don’t want to share the blame. Perhaps a horrific four year Trump presidency is what this country needs to wake up. Factions like the Tea Party are just thinly veiled organizational structure for bigoted white Americans. I want no part of it. My only fear is that this country may not recover from a four year Trump presidency.

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    • My fear exactly. There is a lot of damage that can be done in four years. We would just have to hope that the system of “checks and balances” functions well enough to keep him from destroying the nation.

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