There’s not a lot the party can do to stop something like this happening again. The party doesn’t choose the nominees. The party only sets up the process, the vehicle that does choose the nominees. I think there’s going to be an effort to change the rules, though.
Trump won a lot of primaries in states where there were new voters – independents who voted in Republican primaries, who seemed to like him. I think you’ll see an effort to close some of those primaries so they’re only open to Republican voters. Regular Republican voters seemed to favour Ted Cruz at the end, who is a much more traditional conservative. So I think that’s something we’ll see: conservative grassroots activists trying to close off the primary process to non-Republicans, to try to bust up that Trump coalition.
But there really isn’t a lot that can be done. Republicans won’t have the White House, so they can’t pass a lot of the policies that they want to pass. That was part of the grievance from many primary voters, that Republicans in Congress haven’t gotten anything done. Well, the reality is that they can’t wave a magic wand and pass a law – the President has to to sign it. They can’t cut taxes without the Presidency.
Certain leaders of the party are going to have to put forward a comprehensive vision. [House speaker] Paul Ryan is one of those leaders, but he’s getting knocked around right now too by some of the fringe elements of the party for not being supportive of Trump. But how can he be? Look at these recordings that have come out, these women that have come forward accusing Trump of inappropriate conduct – how can any leader support somebody like that?
The Republican Party put together an entire autopsy report after Romney lost, about how to win the Presidency. Trump threw it out the window.
The greatest unifier for the Republican Party going forward is going to be President Hillary Clinton. She’s going to push left-wing policies which are going to anger everybody, and give all factions of the party a rallying point. We have two jobs here after the election. One, we have to bring our own party together again, because it’s going to be fractured beyond recognition after Trump loses. After we do that, then we have to focus on reaching out and expanding the tent.
Recommendations have been made of how to do that. The Republican National Committee put together an entire autopsy report after Romney lost, about how to build a coalition that could win the Presidency. Trump threw it all out the window. I would go back and look at that, but the problem is that if candidates don’t want to adopt those recommendations, they don’t have to. And Trump won the nomination by campaigning against all those recommendations.
The people pick the nominee, and they decided to go with Trump. It’s a real challenge for the party establishment to figure out how to help candidates who can win to get beyond the primary process to the general election.