Last week, I asked readers if they had any novel suggestions for how to stop Donald Trump. In Internet lingo, I was crowdsourcing the problem.
I offered no prizes. But for many, it seems, stopping Donald Trump is its own reward. Still, I think I should have defined the question more clearly.
Just vote Dem
“Your column about stopping Trump is amusing in that it fails to posit the most painfully obvious solution despite practically almost stepping in it by accident,” writes Matthew Pendleton, a grad student at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York. “The very best answer to Trump is resoundingly Bernie Sanders.”
Rob Weiss in Santa Monica has a similar suggestion. “I find the question simplistic … if you want to stop Trump (I assume you mean from reaching the White House)? Well that's easy. Vote for Hillary [Clinton].”
I'm afraid they miss the point. As a conservative, I want to stop Trump from becoming president, but I'd also like to stop him before he destroys the Republican Party. A “Stop Godzilla” movement would presumably concentrate its energies on vanquishing the creature before he reached Tokyo.
A better Trump trap
Many readers are trying valiantly to keep their senses of humor even in dark times.
Jim Kilby wants to build a better Trump trap. He proposes taking “some solid material container with an opening in the top just large enough for Trump to squeeze his small hand through.” Then place a shiny object, a coin perhaps, in the center of the box. When Trump makes a fist around the coin he won't be able to pull it out of the opening. “It will never dawn on him to let go,” Kilby explains. “Trump is now out of the picture ... for good!”
William Seaton of Sherman Oaks thinks “the only logical way to stop the Trump train is an immediate national distribution of Prozac.”
“Once the Republican ‘establishment' adopted the anger mantra that is the key characteristic of the far fringe right,” Seaton explains, “they blinded a large segment of their constituency to reason and honest engagement in political discourse.” Abandoning any discussion of the merits of “true conservatism,” the establishment “whipped up … emotional fervor” about the president's secret Muslim identity and so on. Give Trump voters “a good dose of emotion-stabilizing medicine and they will, like the man or woman who stayed too long at the bar, wake up in the morning, take one look at Donald Trump and say, My God, what have I done?”
Rather than treat the alleged mental illness of millions of Americans, another reader has a more surgical recommendation: Question Trump's psychological fitness. Daniel Weir of Washington, D.C., suggests that “a high government official, say, FBI Director James Comey, [should] suggest … Trump submit to a psychiatric examination.” Faced with the prospect of people finding out how nutty he really is, Weir writes, Trump would “fold like a cheap tent and withdraw from the race, and his acolytes will go elsewhere, or stay home.”
This strikes me as both too dark and too optimistic. Using psychiatry as a political tool is rather Soviet. And I fear that Trump lacks the self-awareness Weir ascribes to him.
Appeal to his inner child
Most solutions on offer are equally otherworldly. Trump is a narcissistic spoiled 6-year-old in the body of middle-aged man, writes Joel Koury with modest exaggeration. (Trump is older than middle-aged.) The only thing that he will respond to is a giant bribe. So we have to offer him something better than the presidency. I say we designate him the supreme leader' for the entire world. Give him Australia to develop and convert into golf courses and casinos all emblazoned with his name. Perhaps realizing the problems with this scenario, Koury also suggests that the GOP settle things Founding Fathers style, with a duel. My money is on [Ted] Cruz, I saw his bacon-wrapped machine gun commercial.
The Kasich factor
An inordinate number of well-intentioned Democrats believe that John Kasich should ride the Trump candidacy to the Oval Office by one odd scheme or another. Kasich, says one reader, should sign on as Trump's running mate and then appeal to Trump's patriotism to get him to resign. Another suggests Congress impeach President-elect Trump, giving Kasich the presidency.
Perhaps the only plausible solution on offer from a significant number of readers: Get California Democrats to vote Republican. A significant loss in winner-take-all (by district) California virtually assures Trump will fall short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot. And as I discussed last week, if Trump doesn't win on the first ballot, it's unlikely he ever will.
Anticipating the discomfort some Democrats might feel, Mark Treitel, a Los Angeles lawyer, advises, “If someone is ever asked why they voted for a Republican, they can say they did it to stop Trump.”
What I like about this solution is that it turns Trump's talking points on their head. Trump constantly boasts about how many Democrats he's bringing into the process. If it's OK for non-Republicans to vote for Trump, what's so terrible about them voting against him?
And if that doesn't work, there's the Prozac option.