Former Republican Presidential nominee and Senator Mitt Romney delivered an important and timely speech that was a scathing expose of Donald Trump. Romney minced no words, he described Trump as a fraud, a phony and a demagogue. He pointed out that contrary to his claims, Trump was a business failure, he inherited his money and many enterprises he started have failed. He criticized Trump’s vague and potentially dangerous domestic and foreign policies and ended by saying that Trump’s qualifications for President were about as worthless as a Trump University degree. Consider this the first serious attack in the “dump Trump” campaign!
Romney did not treat the putative Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with much more respect, characterizing her as a liar, unprincipled and a perfect example of a flexible Washington politician. So what was the object of his speech, it was to warn Republicans that they are about to lose, first to Trump as the not-so Republican nominee and then to Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Since Trump has been running away with the nomination so far, with his typical combination of braggadocio and demagoguery, this warning might have come too late. But, on the other hand, Romney had to wait at least until the results of Super Tuesday were known. After all, despite the predictions, Trump could have lost many of those states. But, he won 7 out of 11 (3 went to Cruz and one to Rubio). As a consequence Trump has over one quarter of the delegates he needs to obtain the nomination, he now has 319 delegates out of a total of 1,237 needed. However, Cruz has 226, Rubio 110 and Kasich 25, which added together make 361, more than Trump alone.
What was Romney’s proposal to stop Trump, it was for the remaining true conservatives and Republicans in the race, namely Cruz, Rubio and Kasich, to somehow join forces and take a state-by-state approach and withdraw in selected states so as to allow the other of the three to beat Trump in that state. In other word, to focus on first beating Trump, rather than contesting each state themselves and by splitting the vote, ensuring Trump’s victory. Indeed it is mainly because Cruz and Rubio are running against each other, and because there were so many Republican contenders who split the vote, that Trump was able to come out on top so far as the most anti-establishment contender.
To carry out this plan would require a brave decision, especially by Cruz and Rubio, to in effect join forces in order to exclude Trump. Whether they could do this or would be willing to do this remains to be seen. But, it is at least possible. There is also the possibility that if Trump does not get enough delegates to win the nomination outright, after some votes at the convention delegates could switch their allegiance, and that has happened before, but not since 1932. In any case this speech by Romney was a unique speech in American political history, and the fact that Romney is not himself a candidate gave it that much more significance.