I know, I know, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was bring back my long-lost debate feature with one where I’m essentially saying the Republican Never Trump movement is over, but I had two equally bad choices: I could either debate a Bernie Sanders fan with why Bernie should drop out of the race (Lord knows there’s plenty of his fans to choose from) or I could debate one of the few Kasich or Cruz supporters I could find and try to figure out why people still think they can stop Trump in the primary, rather than the general. Well, I figured Bernie wasn’t going anywhere and I wanted the Indiana results to come in before I took on one of his fans, so I debated a Republican Never-Trumper that I’ll call “Calvin.” [Note: this debate happened before the Indiana results were known, and obviously before we knew Ted would be stepping aside.]
Alabama Liberal/Brody: Thank you for joining me “Calvin.” I haven’t had a debate in years because it became really hard to find conservatives willing to debate.
Never Trumper/”Calvin”: We were already arguing on a message board and you asked me if I would keep doing so and you could post it on your site. It’s not a big deal. Ive never even been to your site or heard of it.
[You know, it’s comments like this that almost made me feel like not cleaning up Calvin’s grammatical or spelling errors. He’s lucky I’m a big, forgiving teddy bear.]
Brody: I would say that stings, but as you pointed out, we don’t know each other and it’s kind-of hard to care too much about what virtual strangers think in this never-ending, vicious 2016 election season.
Calvin: Then why did you ask me to debate you?
Brody: Truly a decision that grows more questionable with each sentence. Bad start. Anyway, enough dancing around this bullshit. Tell us how in the hell the Republican #NeverTrump movement isn’t a joke at a point where Trump has all but won the nomination?
Calvin: He hasn’t won anything yet–
Brody: Uhhh, point of fact, he’s won a majority of states and most delegates. What do you mean he’s not won anything?
Calvin: But he hasn’t cleared the 1,237 delegate threshold he needs to win the nomination and it’s doubtful he will. When it goes to an open convention, I think somebody else will be chosen.
Brody: I would say it’s much more doubtful he won’t get the delegates he needs. Right now, he doesn’t even need 50 percent of the remaining delegates to hit that magic number. He could literally lose every state except California and New Jersey, and hit that lucky number, and most polls show he’s going to win West Virginia, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, and probably even Indiana. I would say it’ll be nothing short of a miracle if he doesn’t hit 1,237…and by the way, I’m not happy to be saying that, I’m just acknowledging reality.
Calvin: No, you want Trump to be the nominee because you think Hillary will beat him.
Brody: What can I say Calvin, you’re just too quick for me. Nothing gets past you. Watch your back Sherlock Holmes.
Calvin: Well I hate to burst your bubble, but most Republicans don’t want him to be the nominee.
Brody: Then why is he winning every state that’s not landlocked?
Calvin: Because Democrats are voting for him just to mess with the Republicans.
Brody: Then are you basically saying that there are so many Democrats that there are enough left over to vote in the Democratic primary and manipulate the results of the Republican Primary?
Calvin: No, I think they’re corrupt enough to rig it so that–
Brody: Ahhh, the scourge of voter fraud. The Zika virus of political issues.
Calvin: At the convention, the GOP will not allow there to be a nominee so many people hate. They’ll stop Trump from getting beat in November by picking somebody else.
Brody: What I don’t get is how you can say Trump is winning through some form of corruption and subverting Democracy yet you’re saying party elites are going to void the results of how people vote and pick who they want. To me, that is corruption and subverting Democracy.
Calvin: It’s a proven fact that Trump only wins states that let Democrats and independents vote. If it’s just Republicans, they almost never pick him. It’s clear Democrats are rigging our nominee to who they want to face in November. They’d rather have a joke like Trump than somebody they’re afraid of.
Brody: I’m afraid of Ted Cruz for entirely different reasons than electability. But one thing that’s always hurt the Republican #NeverTrump movement is that they never agreed on a candidate to beat him with. They’ll say Jeb Bush, then Rubio, then Kasich, then Cruz, and now people like Paul Ryan that are not even running. Trump has a huge…ego (blushes) but I think the entire Republican Party does too. They can’t all agree on one person to beat him, and that’s how he’s been able to win.
Calvin: It’s all part of the Democratic strategy of divide and conquer. We’ve seen how they muzzle dissent and try to stifle Democracy, and yet create a bunch of dissent inside the Republican Party. Yeah, I would agree with you on that.
Brody: I’m really not sure you’re reading what I’m writing, but even now I’ve noticed you haven’t picked a specific candidate to “stop” Trump with? You seem to like Cruz [before we started this official debate] but say nice things about Paul Ryan and Kasich too.
Calvin: I don’t know who will win the nomination. I’m leaving my options open. But it seems like only Cruz could realistically beat Trump, and I like him.
[Oh man, I have to savor this.]
Brody: You’d be the first one. But what makes you think Cruz has any more realistic a chance than Kasich? Sure, Kasich should have dropped out six weeks ago, and is currently barely beating Rubio (who did drop out six weeks ago), but Cruz isn’t realistically going to hit 1,237 either.
Calvin: Because Cruz has won more states than Kasich, and might get close to Trump’s delegate total.
Brody: No, actually he almost certainly won’t.
Calvin: You don’t know that. All he has to do is win some of the states coming up that he will win like Montana, Nebraska, and Indiana, and maybe California.
Brody: There’s not a single poll that shows him winning Indiana or California.
Calvin: California is a long way away, and polls have been wrong before. Indiana is a state like the ones Cruz wins.
[Note: Trump won Indiana by a huge margin. Damn, nothing like post-results gloating.]
Brody: So we clearly don’t agree Trump is the inevitable nominee, but even if he is, why not just focus on letting Hillary beat him in the general?
Calvin: Because I would never support Hillary either. What a choice, a criminal or Trump.
Brody: I don’t want to talk about Hillary here, or this will go on forever, but what I find curious is that the Republicans who hate Trump have no problems supporting somebody like Cruz who is just as racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic, etc. and actually much more so. It makes me feel like the conservative dislike of Trump has nothing to do with what liberals find so offensive about him.
Calvin: A lot of us feel like Trump is not really a Republican at all, and he’s just a Trojan horse designed to make Republicans look like bigots.
Brody: But you would support an actual bigot like Ted Cruz? What you just said makes no sense. It’s like “Trump is a bigot…and pretending to be a Republican…he’s not really a bigot or a Republican.” By saying Trump is pretending to be a Republican and a racist, you’re almost associating the Republican Party with bigotry by saying he’d have to pretend to be both to get votes.
Calvin: I never said he’s pretending to be a bigot. He might really be one. I don’t know. I just know he’s not a real Republican.
Brody: And what is a “real” Republican?
Calvin: Somebody who believes in small government and that the federal government can’t solve all your problems. Trump is obviously not that whether it’s immigration or trade or healthcare.
Brody: But he seems more socially liberal? Isn’t that small government?
Calvin: That’s one part of it, but it’s not the only thing to think about–
Brody: What I really don’t get is that a major conservative criticism of Trump is what you’re saying, but the guy has no government experience. That’s something that most liberals (like me) find terrifying, but it seems like something the conservatives who hate him would love. They’re all about limiting the size of government and sucking off corporate America, and here comes Mr. Billionaire for President, and they hate him.
Calvin: You’re giving a surface level explanation. Somebody like Trump can be private sector and still believe in big government. Just look at what liberals are always talking about with crony capitalism.
Brody: Oh, and Ted Cruz wouldn’t know anything about that. The guy sneezes and the oil companies catch a cold. All of the candidates criticizing Trump for what you’re talking about are obviously not above the influence of lobbyists.
Calvin: Then why do most Republican Party elites hate Ted Cruz?
Brody: He’s a pretty hateable guy. The only candidate I’ve ever seen called a Canadian and the Zodiac Killer.
Calvin: Another reason I could never support Trump is his lack of civility. He’s a very dirty campaigner.
Brody: And Ted is Mr. Clean. He’s like Lee Atwater or Karl Rove is the actual candidate. A few years ago, somebody like Ted would be the campaign manager for somebody like Kasich, and somebody like Trump would be financing it. I think we’re really seeing the roles get blurred.
Calvin: Well, I’ll agree that Trump should not be running.
Brody: So if it’s him vs. Hillary, who do you support?
Calvin: I might be forced to support Trump, but I still don’t think that’ll be the choice. Bill Kristol has talked about a third party candidate like Rubio coming in at the last minute.
Brody: Right, get somebody who couldn’t win the Republican nomination to be the “savior.” A vote for a conservative third party would be a vote for Hillary, as I’m sure you know.
Calvin: I do not “know” that.
Brody: So we agree you don’t know much! Thanks for your time.
[End Note: not only did we not know the Indiana results before doing this debate—only a day ago—but obviously we had no idea it would be Cruz’s last stand. Now Calvin’s comments look even dumber by comparison, and it would only be right to not air the debate at all…of course, all fair’s in love, war, and debates.]