Donald Trump’s path to the Republican nomination is often described as a tightrope walk, but his adversaries in the anyone-but-Trump movement face an equally daunting balancing act in their efforts to stop him. Martin says Sunday’s announcements by John Kasich and Ted Cruz to effectively cede Indiana to Cruz and New Mexico and Oregon to Kasich is just as likely to send them tumbling off their tightropes as it is to get them safely to a contested convention.
“I’m astonished,” Martin says. “What this means is you have two candidates utterly admitting they have no chance to win the nomination through the will of the voters, so their only way to get the nomination is through backroom dealing. This is amazing.”
It also feeds right into Trump’s claims the Republican Party is colluding against him.
“The stop-Trump movement needs to have a coordinated effort – that’s what made it successful in Wisconsin – so this may work in Indiana, New Mexico and Oregon, but I think it will really feed Trump’s narrative that the process is unfair and give him more ammunition,” Martin says. “You just had RNC Chair Reince Priebus last week give a big speech telling the party to get behind whoever the nominee is, and not even a week later two Republican candidates are colluding to do just the opposite. It shows the party may be more fractured than we even knew, and we already knew it was very fractured.”
“The danger for every Republican in the race, except maybe Donald Trump, is looking like you’re trying to make the system undemocratic,” Martin says.
Martin also weighed in on the Democratic race, where she expects Sanders to linger no matter how many wins Hillary Clinton racks up because, to put it bluntly, Clinton is no Barack Obama.
“A lot of Clinton supporters said they would never support Obama in 2008, but they voted for him in the end,” Martin says. “Now, a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters say they’ll never vote for Clinton, and the question in my mind is how will the mending fences work? Clinton is a deeply flawed candidate and the likeability is a factor if you’re a Democrat. Mathematically being the presumptive nominee at this point does not make her well-liked or popular, and that means Sanders will continue to remain relevant.”
Martin is an SMU assistant professor of Communication Studies in the Meadows School of the Arts. She can discuss:
- economic messages in political campaigns
- presidential campaign strategy