Amsterdam, a.d. V Kal. Iun. MMDCCLXIX A.U.C.,
A couple of months ago I predicted that Trump would not win the Republican primaries. I was fully convinced that Trump’s competitors would coordinate their candidacies in order to prevent a Trump candidacy. In other words, I thought that as soon as became clear who would be the contender with the best chance of beating Trump, the Republican Party would coordinate the exit of the less likely contenders in exchange for fancy jobs somewhere else. As I said then: “As Popper argued, we need to make bold predictions, so we can learn from our mistakes.” This is the moment where I learn from my mistake.
However, Trump did win the primaries. Interestingly, though, he has not won a majority of the votes in those primaries. He only won around 41% of the votes, with Cruz, Rubio and Kasich splitting most of the other votes. In other words, there seems to be have been a real possibility for the other candidates to coordinate who should have become Trump’s main competitor in the primaries. Who this candidate should have been is harder to determine, and should of course have been dependent on state of the art statistical methods and surveys to determine which candidate would have been most likely to beat Trump. Yet, it is clear that a better effort could have been made by the Republican candidates. Seeing the utter disaster a Trump presidency would be to the USA, to democracy, free trade, and peace, the Republican candidates can be blamed for this (even though they themselves probably did not believe for a long time Trump stood a real chance, until it was too late).
Moreover, Republican Party leaders can be blamed for backing Trump. From Chris Christie (governor of New Jersey) and Paul Ryan (speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives) to even John McCain (who said that it would be foolish to ignore the wish of the GOP voters, a large majority of whom did not want a Trump candidacy though), they all start falling in line with Trump. From the party of Lincoln to the party of Trump, from moral backbone at a great expense, to supporting a racist egocentric maniac. The Republican leadership has the right to feel disgusted with itself. In short, I apologize for making the wrong prediction about Trump’s candidacy, mea culpa, but I also blame the Republican leadership for causing this mess, illorum maxima culpa.
Bottom Line: I predicted that Trump would not become the Republican candidate. I was wrong. Against my expectations, the Republican party leadership failed to coordinate the exit of its candidates in order to leave one main competitor to Trump.