(Posted March 22) Ready for a “probability” theory?
Walt DeVries, longtime executive assistant to former Michigan Gov. George Romney, Mitt Romney’s father, has responded to Mitt’s challenge in early March to replace GOP frontrunner Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee.
DeVries, now retired in North Carolina, was a fellow delegate of George Romney at the 1961-62 state Constitutional Convention, which drafted Michigan’s current charter. He is also the author of the famous political science treatise, “The Ticket-Splitter,” which is responsible for the currency of that term in today’s politics.
DeVries articulated his argument just after Mitt Romney denounced Trump’s campaign, thereby establishing himself as the face of the anti-Trump movement within the GOP. To DeVries, Romney has certified everything that DeVries remembers about what Mitt’s father, George, was up to back in the 1960s. Like father, like son.
According to DeVries, “I believe what Mitt is doing — while openly seeking another candidate to challenge Trump ( it turned out to be John Kasich in Ohio but then Ted Cruz in Utah) — is also quietly firing up a potential Draft Mitt campaign to step in if he and the other “Establishment” Republicans succeed in stopping Trump short of the majority of delegates Trump needs going into the national convention.”
“What Mitt is attempting,” says DeVries, “is much like his father tried in the 1964 (Barry Goldwater) and 1968 (Richard Nixon) pre-convention campaigns when George implored the GOP party “Establishment” of those days to change course in the nomination process and “save” the delegates from choosing possible failed and unrepresentative (i.e. too conservative) nominees.”
DeVries continued: “Both of those 1964 and ’68 efforts stumbled as, I suspect, Mitt’s will as well. It is just too late, and Mitt as the leader of an “Establishment” charge seems highly improbable with only one Republican major officeholder (U.S. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska) currently in the “Won’t Vote for Trump” movement. George Romney, at least, had progressive GOP governors like Nelson Rockefeller, Bill Scranton and Jim Rhodes behind him in 1964, as well as some other prominent members of Congress. The same was true in the 1968 Miami Beach convention.”
“I know,” says DeVries, “Because I was George Romney’s executive assistant at those 1964 and ’68 conventions. And the probability, irrespective of all the current speculation of countless pundits and political strategists, of derailing Trump when seen from an historical perspective is so slight that you can bet it won’t happen.”
DeVries contends that Mitt Romney’s rhetoric in his March 3 speech was “such a personal attack on The Donald and was so, shall I say, Trump-like that he turned off a large part of the delegate base needed to overturn Trump’s nomination. Mitt’s father, George, would in my opinion have abhorred the tone and content of the speech, but probably not the strategy.”
Continues DeVries: “Now that Mitt is completely committed and firmly tied to the ABT (Anybody But Trump) crusade, which I believe he will lose, he may have to accede to the “Run, Mitt, Run” chorus coming from his fans at the Utah Institute of Politics. And isn’t that the long-range goal?”
“When the inevitable happens,” argues DeVries, “Mitt may be forced to recharge his 2012 presidential campaign donors, staff and advertising agency consultants, and put Humpty-Dumpty back on the wall one more time. In my view, history tells us that they cannot win, but they may have to try. Indeed, thanks to Mitt’s strong commitment, it seems he is now trapped in his own Catch-22.”
DeVries argues that what Mitt Romney has done is “tear apart the GOP’s intra-party wounds even further, making it likely that a Clinton-Trump November contest may be as disastrous as the 1964 Goldwater convention and election, especially for down-ballot results.”
“In my view,” DeVries concludes, “Mitt should have studied the presidential efforts of his father and pondered those results. Call it a learning experience. But call it what you may, it is the beginning of the Draft Mitt Romney for President campaign.”