Monday, October 24, 2016

An open letter to Brian Beutler and Ed Kilgore

Dear Brian and Ed,

I am a big fan of your work but, after having read your recent pieces on the still unlikely but potentially devastating effects of a Trump election boycott, I would like to suggest that, at least during the next election, it might be worth your while to keep an eye on West Coast Stat Views.

I'm not saying you should come by every day, but at least during the campaign season, an occasional visit might tip you off to some interesting possibilities. For example, you both had columns today on the implication of Trump threatening to boycott the election.

Here's the key paragraph from the New Republic piece.
Thus, the bleakest possible scenario for Republicans isn’t that Trump loses badly and refuses to admit defeat. It’s that he rejects the notion that a fair election is even possible with him on the ticket, and announces he’s boycotting it. His supporters, only a small fraction of whom would have refused to vote for Trump turncoats down the ballot, stay home en masse instead. The Democrats take back the House.

And from New York Magazine:
But down there in the bunker of an embattled, losing campaign, despised by respectable people almost everywhere, a candidate can nourish fantasies of destructive vengeance. Does anyone doubt Trump is capable of ending this election cycle that he has dominated with one last audacious gesture that denies the clean and overwhelming defeat he has earned? The prospect has to occur to him every time he sees a GOP ad urging voters to elect Republicans to exert some control over President Hillary Clinton. That has to be so, so disgusting to him, believe me.

And here's what we were saying last year about the possible consequences of the Republican Party taking extraordinary measures to deny Donald Trump the nomination.

From: Distracted by the large flock of black swans
Monday, December 14, 2015

I don't want to get sucked into trying to guess what constitute reasonable probabilities here – – I'm just throwing out scenarios – – but it certainly does seem likely that, if he doesn't get the nomination and does not choose to run as an independent, Trump will still make trouble and things will get ugly.

Keep in mind, Trump's base started out as the birther movement. They came into this primed to see conspiracies against them. Now the RNC has given them what appears to be an actual conspiracy to focus on.

I don't think we can entirely rule out the possibility of Trump calling for a boycott of the vote to protest his treatment but even if it doesn't come to that, it seems probable that, should we see a great deal of bitterness and paranoia after the convention, the result will not help Republican turnout.

Obviously, Trump did get the nomination, but the broader argument still stands.

You also might want to check out what we said in that same post about the unintended consequences of delegitimizing the election with charges of fraud and rigging.


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