I am aware that I have certain obligations as a blogger, one of which is to have and express an opinion on whatever is agitating the blogosphere at the moment. Even though I am a philosophical blogger, and hence am permitted to view the world sub specie aeternitatis, there are some eruptions that, like solar storms, so disrupt communications that attention must be paid. Donald Trump qualifies as such an eruption.
The commentary in cyberspace on Trump has been quite shrewd, penetrating, and even insightful, and I do not wish to repeat what has been said elsewhere [even though repeating what has been said elsewhere is the raison d'ȇtre of the Internet] but one thought has occurred to me that seems not to have been explored. I figure I can fulfill my obligations, before returning to the eternal verities, by saying a bit about it here. Those of you who are thoroughly sick of Trump-talk may repair to YouTube and listen to the incomparable Paul O'Dette playing the Archlute.
Let us assume, as did not seem likely until quite recently, that Trump actually stays in the race for the Republican nomination long enough to accumulate some delegates in actual caucuses and primaries. Let us also assume, as seems quite likely, that by the time Iowa and New Hampshire are behind us, the field of seventeen will have shrunk to maybe six or so, no more. There are four possibilities: Trump may win a majority of the available delegates and thus lock up the nomination -- not probable at all; Trump may snag enough delegates that the front-runner -- call him Bush -- cannot accumulate a majority before the Convention, but is close enough that a few backroom deals will put him over the top -- a genuine possibility, but unlikely; Trump may accumulate enough delegates to be in second place, even though the front runner comes to the convention with the nomination sewed up -- the likeliest possibility, in my judgment; or Trump may actually win very few delegates, so that by the time of the Convention he is no more than a footnote to history.
If either the second or third possibility is the actual state of play on July 17th in Cleveland, Ohio [the eve of the Republican Convention], the Party is going to have to figure out what to do with Trump, and so far as I can see, all the available alternatives are formulae for disaster.
The Party could allow Trump's name to be placed in nomination and permit him to speak -- accepting the nomination, as it were -- but if that happens, his speech is sure to completely overshadow the coronation of Bush [assuming that Bush is in fact the last man standing, which seems probable.] It was bad enough having Clint Eastwood speaking to an empty chair. An appearance by The Donald would trigger chaos.
The Party could stiff Trump as they did Ron Paul in 2012, finagle the rules to strip him of some of his delegates [as they did with Paul], and deny him the opportunity to speak. That, I am pretty confident, would cause Trump to bolt and declare a third-party candidacy, which would guarantee a Democratic victory on Election Day.
The Party could try to buy Trump off with a brief appearance on one of those nights when no one is watching, but I think we all know how that would play out. Trump would draw the biggest audience of the entire Convention, and once he got on the podium, nothing short of turning off the lights and the microphone would stop him from turning the place upside down.
I am morally certain that all of this has long since occurred to the Republican bigwigs, but my guess is that they are hoping against hope that Trump either fizzles or else gets bored and goes away. Not likely, I would guess. If you can just wait eleven months, things should be quite interesting. I shall, of course, be blogging about Immanuel Kant's Third Critique.