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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Dr. Larry Arnn On Super Tuesday III

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HH: It is the day after Super Tuesday, and I’m going to do this week what I did last week, which is to bring up the Hillsdale Dialogue, which normally appears at this hour on Friday, and taped it to get Dr. Larry Arnn’s thoughts in the aftermath of the voting and then replay this on Friday. So you hear this both on Wednesday and on Friday. Dr. Larry Arnn, of course, is the president of Hillsdale College. You can visit www.hughforhillsdale.com to find nearly four years’ worth of our conversations all arrayed and organized for your listening binging if you would like. But we are spending time in this primary season away both from his new book, Churchill’s Trial, and from the great works of Western Civilization to focus on this campaign, because as Dr. Arnn said last week, fundamental things are afoot. Dr. Arnn, given what we saw last night, have you changed your opinion at all?

LA: No, first of all, Ohio is an outlier, so you must be very proud.

HH: (laughing) I’m very proud of Ohio just for being ornery.

LA: (laughing) It is ornery, isn’t it? And it’s so hard to know what to make of all this, of course, because Trump has risen to his prominent and leading place starting out with immigration. And so the Governor of Ohio picked three days before the election to announce that within a hundred days, he would propose a bill to legalize the existing illegals, and he carried the state. And he didn’t carry it by, he didn’t get nearly the percentage of Republicans that he got in the general election against the Democrat when he was elected governor, but he carried it handily.

HH: 11 percent, big win for him.

LA: Yeah, big win, and he’s a salty guy. And, but you know, when you look at it, the news of the day was Donald Trump. And he carried, what did he carry? If he carries Missouri, where he’s now leading by three votes, no, he’s leading by 1,500, 1,800 votes or something out of over, close to 900,000 cast, if he carries that, then he’s going to carry four states on this electoral day. And that’s broad, great strength. And so it’s an interesting phenomenon. It looks like he might get the nomination. And it isn’t sure, yet, and there’s a lot of determination to stop him. I think it’s going to help him, myself, I’ll volunteer this one more thing. You know, the left is going nuts. They shut down one of his debates in Chicago, one of his events in Chicago, where he’s drawing, you know, 20,000 people to events. Nobody else is doing that in either party. And they’re planning the largest protest of the century, is the headline on Drudge today. And then if you go and look who the groups are, there’s some big, important groups listed there. So we’re having a fight on the ground now in this election, which as I said last time, is characteristic of elections of fundamental importance. You get demonstrations, you get protests, you even get violence, although one prays for none of that.

HH: I’ve got to tell you that the Cook Report, probably the most respected non-partisan one out there, said that Trump needs, to get to 1,237, he’s got to win a bunch of things, and he’s got to get 94 of California’s 172 delegates. So it is coming down to 6/7, if he’s going to get there at all. I don’t think he can get there. I’ve done my own math. I don’t think he wins Wisconsin. I think he’s out of his strongholds of the South and the near South. And even though he did very well in Illinois yesterday, I think when you move to places like Pennsylvania, and especially when you come west, he runs into more trouble. And opposition to him builds, and the opportunities to divide the vote narrow. So there’s Kasich and there’s Cruz, with an opportunity to enter into some kind of strategic alliance to cooperate, as often coalition parties do in a parliament to bring down a government, or in this case, to bring down Trump.

LA: That’s right, and but isn’t it odd? As soon as you say that, of course, you think that. Everybody, you’ve got to think that, because this is, as I love to say, big boy politics now. We’re fighting like grown-ups.

HH: Yup.

LA: And we haven’t always done that. And so of course, what you think is that they’re going to make some kind of alliance. But how does that fit with Kasich announcing blanket legalization? Blanket, he didn’t use that word, so I shouldn’t use it, a comprehensive legalization for people who are in the country now. And doesn’t that make it harder for Cruz to make a deal with him? And you know, there’s just a lot of things like that that make me think both these guys are still running to beat Trump, at least principally. You know, an obvious thing to think, Trump has said that he’s going to pick a politician to be his running mate, because, he said, he was asked the question are you going to pick another businessman/outsider, and he said no, I’m going to pick a politician, he said. American needs me, but just one of me. I really liked that.

HH: (laughing)

LA: (laughing) So of course, that gives all of these guys a motive to want to be his vice presidential pick. Well, it would be a brilliant piece of zigging and zagging if Trump picked Kasich now after he’s done that, and I wouldn’t put it past him. I don’t know him, but…

HH: He hasn’t attacked Kasich like he attacked Ted Cruz. He’s pretty much made Ted Cruz radioactive as a running mate by calling him Lyin’ Ted a thousand times.

LA: Yeah, that’s right, but you know, he believes in flexibility, too. And so…

HH: (laughing) As to the definition…

LA: (laughing) I don’t, you know, this is all so imponderable. And you know, in the last 48 hours, there’s been this boomlet for Paul Ryan to be the nominee. And we also have to remember that people are human. And Paul Ryan, who’s a wonderful man and a friend of mine, somebody I admire very much, right? And I’m so proud he’s Speaker. But he gives, and you know, he’s in a budget fight right now that’s just ugly as sin. And you know, they’re trying to wrap up the budget, have a real budget for a change, and it’s very hard. And so he’s asked what about that on the radio? And he gives the honest answer. I haven’t really thought about that, you know, because why would he?

HH: Right.

LA: And so that gives rise to lots of stories that he’s willing, and so he since said no, he’s not willing. But I believe that both answers are premature, because how do we know what the situation is going to be when we get to Cleveland?

HH: Let me ask you about the 1,237, assuming that Trump arrives with 1,237 delegates pledged to his name. Last night, I asked Robert O’Brien, a longtime delegate hunter, one of my law partners, are they bound by anything? And he said he can’t imagine a prosecutor prosecuting someone who voted against Donald Trump who was bound by them. And Sasha Issenberg wrote a long piece over at Bloomberg, in which he talks about the double agent delegate problem that Donald Trump faces, and the wholesale prospect of defections from the party regulars who may have been standing in for him on some of these delegate tickets if they are so called. If he doesn’t get to 1,237, I don’t think he’s going to be the nominee, Larry Arnn. I don’t care if he’s one vote short. And even if he does get there, I wonder whether or not that number is set in stone, or whether stuff will happen at the convention? The nomination requires that, not that you win them pledged or beforehand. It requires that they vote for you.

LA: Yeah, so one part of what you said, I don’t agree with. I think if he goes there with a big lead, he’s going to be the nominee. And if he’s close, right, because if he’s got, what, if he’s got 1,150, that will also mean that he’s got a lot more than the second place person, because the third and fourth place persons have 300 votes, right? So you’ve got to take those off of Cruz’ total, and that means he would have, what would he have? He would have 600 delegates more, 500 or 600 delegates? I’m doing the math in my head, and I don’t want to do anybody…

HH: I’m thinking it’s more like 1,100 and 800. I think it’s like 1,100 and 800, and then 500 split among the others.

LA: Yeah, there you go, something like that, right?

HH: Yeah.

LA: So that’s a lead. And then, you know, the big boy politics continues, right, because if you think back to the convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln, one of the things they were arguing was who can win. And so Trump has got the threat I’m going to take all my people away, and a lot of them have never voted Republican before. And then against that will be, and we have to judge all this when the time comes, right, because we don’t know the situation right now. But when the time comes, is Trump is still trailing Hillary Clinton more than, say, Ted Cruz is, because that will at least offset in part Trump’s claim that he’s bringing new people to the party, and he’ll take them away. So that’s…

HH: And I have other scenarios after the break. I have other scenarios to play for you after the break.

LA: Okay.

HH: Because I think you’ve just outlined the most likely. Donald Trump 1,100 or less, Ted Cruz 800 or more, John Kasich 500, and John Kasich and others. That’s the most likely scenario, but there are others, and we’ll talk to Dr. Larry Arnn, who has studied these matters deeply, and like me, lives in Switzerland, when we return to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

— – — –

HH: Dr. Arnn, I want to play for you something that Donald Trump said this very morning, on Wednesday, and we’re replaying it on Friday, about the convention. Let’s play Donald Trump:

DT: I think there’s a natural healing process. Once the battle is over, once the war is over, I think there really is a natural healing process. And I’ve gotten along with people all my life. This is actually a little bit unusual. I’ve gotten along very well with people, and I think it’ll happen again. And I believe it will. Now if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’ll go along the same path, which has obviously been an effective path. I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but I can tell you, if we didn’t, and we’re 20 votes short, or if we’re 100 short, and if we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically. I think it would be, I think you’d have riots. I think you’d have riots. You know, I’m representing a tremendous, many, many millions of people, in many cases, first time voters. These are people that haven’t voted, because they never believed in the system. They didn’t like candidates, etc. etc., that are 40 and 50 and 60 years old, and they’ve never voted before, many, many of those people, many Democrats, many independents coming in. That’s what the big story is, really, Chris. I mean, the really big story is how many people are voting in these primaries. The numbers are astronomical. Now if you disenfranchise those people, and you say well, I’m sorry, but you’re 100 votes short, even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think…

HH: So Larry Arnn, there Donald Trump is talking with Chris Cuomo on CNN’s New Day, and he’s lowering the bar. He’s effectively trying to rewrite, and I think it’s very crafty, it’s very wise for him to try and do this. He’s preparing the battlefield by trying to define down victory, and to which I say I’m Kasich or Cruz, nonsense. If I’m the party independent delegates, I don’t want to be told my vote doesn’t count. I mean, there are lots of arguments to make against him, but if he makes them enough, do they persuade people, and do they freeze the convention?

LA: Well, you just have to think it through, right? First of all, you know, think it through. These are human beings who are going to gather. I gather you will be there.

HH: I will. I will.

LA: And so…and covering it, and I may go. But what he said was true. The two things that are very unusual about this race as regards Donald Trump, the first one is Trump is pursuing a radically different strategy than has been common since Reagan. He is accepting the entitlement state, and he is attacking the regulatory state. I don’t like the first thing and do like the second, think it may be, those two things in combination may be politically shrewd. And he is drawing many people into the primaries on the Republican side that have not been there before. That’s all true. That’s the first thing that’s true. In other words, that’s happening, and it may be on purpose. He may have thought that true. The second thing that’s happening is there’s a very loud chorus saying that if he gets the nomination, that’s unsuitable, never Trump. And that’s much louder than I have heard about any candidate since Reagan.

HH: Yup.

LA: So the point is he’s got to react to that, and he is reacting to that. And the way he reacts to it is a very powerful argument, right? In other words, I’ll take my people and you know, there’ll be a riot. So yeah, he’s, and you know, he has, remember the way he’s running, it’s very remarkable, right, because there isn’t any predecessor he has, except two, that he has not been extremely critical of, right?

HH: Right.

LA: Including the two Republican presidents since Reagan. Except for Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, he doesn’t like any of them. And you know, on some points, he has a point. So in other words, yeah, he’s a besieged outsider running a radical, crazy campaign. And it’s so interesting that that’s true, because Cruz is doing that, too. And all this nuclear fallout that’s coming on Trump would be coming on Cruz if Trump were not in the race and Cruz were ahead. And Kasich is more like the guys that the Republican Party has nominated.

HH: Absolutely.

LA: He’s very able, by the way. I don’t mean by that a criticism of Kasich, although there are things he has said of which I’m critical. But he is more regular. But the far and away frontrunners right now are very irregular guys. And that’s why we’re even having this conversation.

HH: Now let me tell you about ElectionProjection.com, very good analyst. I’ve followed him for years. I just haven’t fallen in love with him, because he happens to have provocative things that make for good radio on there. He’s done a series of assessments that show Donald Trump getting 1,041 delegates. And those opposing getting 1,310. His assumptions are in open, proportional contests, Trump wins 60% of the delegates. In closed, proportional contests, he wins 40%. He assumes that Trump wins all of the winner-take-all contests that are open, and that he loses, after he wins Maryland and New Jersey, Delaware, but that he loses Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, South Dakota, and in importantly, California. And then he comes up with these numbers, and says look, in all likelihood, he’s going to have 1,162 max, and the others will have 1,310. And the current situation has him on track to 1,042, and others to 1,431. I think Trump, here are a couple of scenarios. I think Trump is at peak Trump, and has been for two weeks, and that now the money is flowing in to stop him, and the organization is with Ted Cruz, and I think Ted Cruz is going to win in California. But just assume that John Kasich gets some traction in Pennsylvania, a few other places, Wisconsin. I’m watching Scott Walker, by the way, very closely. Have you seen Scott Walker do anything today?

LA: No, but I’ve been watching that, too.

HH: Nikki Haley, yeah, Nikki Haley declared for Ted Cruz today, which is interesting.

LA: Yes.

HH: Her primary is over, but if Scott Walker comes out for Ted Cruz, and Pete Wilson comes out for Ted Cruz, and you know Pete like I know Pete, he’s got an organization and stature that Arnold doesn’t have out here. Kasich’s got Arnold. It could be rally a three-way. And is that bad for the party, Larry Arnn? One minute to the break.

LA: No, it depends, right? I mean, first of all, having a vigorous fight and having it come down to the convention is the way the greatest president exception George Washington got nominated for president, right? It could work. Of course, it could work. There’s, and you know, those endorsements might or might not mean anything. It depends, and they didn’t mean anything in Nikki Haley’s state. And so if, there’s something Cruz is doing that I want to comment on that I think means a lot more. In the last week, Cruz is picking up something from Trump, and that is there’s a lot of people who used to have good jobs who don’t have them anymore, and they are the new or maybe the old Reagan Democrats. And Cruz is talking to them more now.

HH: We’ll talk about Ted Cruz when we return from the break. Don’t go anywhere, America.

— – – —

HH: I wonder if your friends have complimented you on being the Switzerland that I am?

LA: Well, I come under some criticism. There’s one, I didn’t, but my office, if you guys want to tweet negatively about me, go ahead. I don’t care. I don’t pay any attention to it.

HH: (laughing)

LA: But somebody in my office did say that some, one person had tweeted that I had abandoned the conservative movement because I didn’t simply condemn Donald Trump. That’s actually the only criticism I know of, but you know, in the conservative movement, there are many people who are working hard to devise scenarios like the ones you’ve got me talking about right now, and I’m not doing that. And there are big reasons why I’m not doing it. One is I’m not, you know, I’m not getting rich or poor running political campaigns, and I love this process, as I’ve been saying. I think it’s really excellent. And I think the candidates are learning from each other. I think whether or not, and when all this is over, on the Hugh Hewitt Show, I’m going to reveal who I voted for, and you’re going to reveal who you voted for.

HH: But I haven’t voted for him, yet. You have. You’re already on the record. I can hopefully hope it’s resolved by the time it comes to California, but I doubt very much it will be. Under every projection…

LA: Yeah, you’re arguing that it won’t, see?

HH: See, it is.

LA: I will reveal, and there won’t be any great surprise in all of that, but what the main thing I think is, we’re having a tremendous argument. And here’s a point to it that people should understand, by the way. It’s a very important fact that political parties are private organizations. That is to say it’s just a band of volunteers who’ve got together to try to affect American politics. And so they have been officialized in big ways in the last 50 years, in ways that I personally regret, by the way, because what I think they’re about is two things in order. The first thing is bringing certain ideas before the American people, and the second is winning elections with those ideas. So I’m not one of these people who say that it’s a failure of democracy if the Republican Party doesn’t go for the guy who got the most delegates. What I think it is, is that it’s possibly stupid, and they will be very reluctant to do that.

HH: Yeah.

LA: I’m not saying they won’t, but it certainly is not unconstitutional for them to do that. They can pick an old, yellow dog if they want to. And it’s important that they have the freedom to do that, both parties, right, because if, and in our country today, one of the things that all of the leading Republican, all of the three remaining complain about a lot, in our country today, heck fire, if I run a liberal arts college in southern Michigan, if I fight a student, it’s potentially a federal case. I don’t fight them very much, but, so these, we need to think of it this way. To the extent that your listeners support the Republican Party, they should be thinking and arguing about what’s best for the ideas it represents.

HH: Here’s one of those ideas. I’ve got to break in, because on Twitter, @rickersam came up with this idea. Go ahead with the Garland hearings, referring to Merrick Garland, a D.C. Circuit Court judge who’s been nominated by the President today to the Supreme Court vacancy. All questions by Senator Cruz. You know, that’s not a bad idea, Dr. Larry Arnn, is it?

LA: (laughing) Very good idea.

HH: (laughing) It’s a very good idea.

LA: And so I’m actually taking now, the Jeff Flake position, the Senator from Arizona. He says if Hillary wins, then in the lame duck session, they’re going to appoint Garland, because he’s reasonably moderate. And I thought that was blessedly candid of him.

HH: Yes.

LA: And so yeah, I think…

HH: And I think it’s blessedly candid to say if Garland is there and Hillary wins, the Senate confirm him.

LA: Yeah, that’s right.

HH: Very quickly, and that he be blockaded if they don’t. And that’s perfectly consistent with protecting the Constitution to the greatest degree possible.

LA: Yeah, since we went over this once, the Constitution does not prescribe how many justices there are. And you know, there’s too much right now in American politics of the executive branch controlling things that are legislative. And so Obama is, of course, well within his authority to nominate somebody. And then it would be, after all, up to the Senate of the United States, which has its own delegation of authority from the power to decide, and if they decide not to move on the nominee, and the people are mad about that, the people have an excellent way to correct them right away.

HH: Exactly right away, and they should do so expeditiously and get it done. I’ll be right back with the concluding segment with Dr. Larry Arnn as we review Super Tuesday’s pile of delegates in Donald Trump’s hands, a pile of delegates in John Kasich’s hands, not so many delegates in Ted Cruz’ hands, but a lot of money and a lot of organization going forward. We want to talk about each campaign’s best tactics after the break. I’ll be right back with Dr. Larry Arnn on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

— – – — –

HH: Dr. Arnn, in our eight minutes, let’s walk through the three candidates and talk about their best strategy. With Donald Trump, I wrote a column for CNN today, and said he would be best served if he would assure conservatives as to both his nominees and the order in which he would make them, I think he ought to pledge Pryor and Sykes and somebody else, that building out a proposed cabinet early would help, and that his vice president ought to be either Senator Tom Cotton, Senator Joni Ernst or Senator Dan Sullivan, and he ought to do it all early. What do you think of that strategy?

LA: Very much agree with it. I think, I agree with it on two levels. One is it would assure me, and the other is Trump has, in my opinion, set him up as well as can be, set himself up as well as can be, for the general election. I don’t think he has to change very much, and he speaks so emphatically, it will be hard for him to change much. And his position on the entitlement programs, and his appeal to the working class is brilliant. It’s people like us that he needs to reassure, and that would certainly do it.

HH: You know, the big divide in his exit polls are among people making $50,000 dollars and less a year, who love him, and those making $100,000 or more a year who despise him. And the people in between those income levels are divided.

LA: Yeah, and think about that for a minute. I groan inwardly when I think of Mitt Romney and the 47%, and I groan inwardly when I think of the blue wall that the Democrats now that makes them think they can never lose another presidential election. And Trump’s support below that line, that is an extremely interesting fact to me.

HH: He has extraordinary support in those places, but he’s got higher negatives than Hillary Clinton. And his gender and age gaps are enormous. Many people say he’s unelectable. Last night, when someone offered he ought to make Newt Gingrich his vice president, I said well, then he’d lose Obama’s 57 states, and Duane chimed in, and Canada would vote sua sponte to dis-elect him as well.

LA: (laughing) That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, we’d have the U.N. involved.

HH: (laughing)

LA: (laughing) Yeah, yeah, I don’t know if he can handle all that stuff. But I just, I’m just telling you, I said, we’ll we’re going to talk about Cruz next?

HH: Yup.

LA: Yeah, so Cruz in the last week has been saying, I read this, this morning, and you know, Ted Cruz is a very smart man.

HH: Very.

LA: And he’s been saying this week, he’s been talking to those people. You know, and I grew up, my dad was a schoolteacher in Pocahontas, Arkansas. And we never had any money, and we didn’t really ever know that we didn’t have any money. You know, we were fine. And like whether you could afford something or not was a constant question. And you know, most Americans live like that. And these particular Americans who worked at the factory, and now there isn’t a job for them, and they don’t like, you know, they don’t think the life on public relief is a good life, because they’re not longing for idleness. So Cruz has been addressing himself to people like that a lot in the last, and I’m not saying he didn’t do it before, but I just heard it, and I looked at a couple of things, and I thought that’s very good, because I think Donald Trump is showing how to do that.

HH: Okay, and then for Kasich, I have a strategy. What’s yours?

LA: Well, I’m riveted by this announcement that he made. So I think I know what he’s going to do, which is to be the guy at the convention who can stand for sanity where Rubio was trying to stand, for example, on immigration. And he’s going to try, because I don’t think, he can’t get there, right? There isn’t any way.

HH: He can’t get there.

LA: So I think he wants to be the adult in the room at the convention with the most respectable opinions, and he’s working hard to differentiate himself from the other two.

HH: So here’s my proposal, is that John Kasich and Ted Cruz are in the room, and Kasich says let’s fight it out, and it’s like Risk. And Donald Trump here has got Europe and Africa and all the armies, and we’re in Australia and North America, and we’ve got to cooperate. We can’t fight each other, or we’ll end up losing the game to Trump. So we’ll agree where to fight, and at the end, when Trump’s removed, we’ll fight each other. And John Kasich figures if he gets to Cleveland in third place, but with a healthy number of delegates, he’s going to look Ted Cruz in the eye and say I’m going to give it to Trump unless you become my vice president. You’re young, I’m old. Kasich-Cruz. 16 years from now, you’ll be finishing your second term, and you’ll thank me. What do you think?

LA: ( laughing) I wouldn’t be surprised. That’s very good. And you know, it is true that his strategy in the debates, it’s, he and Trump have consistent strategy in the debates. The others have tried different things, in my opinion, Rubio most dramatically. But Kasich’s strategy in the debate has been I’m the grown up, and I’m not really attacking these guys, and here’s why I’m better than the bunch of them. That does set him up to make some kind of offer like that.

HH: Yeah, and he can go either way, because he hasn’t attacked them. You know, he criticized Trump’s rhetoric regarding punch them in the nose, etc. But other than that, he’s been just pretty much about John Kasich. But he’s got to have money, and he’s got to have support, and mostly, they have to, if either of them wants to win, they both have to agree not to attack each other and to divide the map. Don’t they have to do that, Larry Arnn?

LA: Yeah, but how much will that help? You know, I don’t think, myself, because they’ve just spent, what, $40 or $50 million dollars, I don’t actually know the number, but it’s many tens of millions, in the last three weeks, everybody attacking Donald Trump. And as far as I can tell, his support has risen during that time.

HH: It did go up, but he still did not pass 50%. And so you’ve got a minute left. He can’t pass 50% anywhere. If they could agree on the opponent, I think that opponent would win.

LA: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. That’s right. And that’s, and you know, maybe he can’t, and maybe he can. We don’t know. That’s why we’re having this race. Let me add one thing, because I want to do it for the sake of honesty. Did you know that Barack Obama, who’s been criticizing the incivility of this race, do you guys remember, or do you remember that in 2008, he said if they bring a knife to the fight, you bring a gun?

HH: Yup. Oh, the hypocrisy level on the Democratic side is off of the charts. Next week, maybe we’ll talk about the former Secretary of State and what a dreadful candidate she is, because Republicans can actually win and turn this country around. That’s the real diamond. Dr. Larry Arnn of Hillsdale College, www.hillsdale.edu, www.hughforhillsdale.com, or www.hillsdaleoffer.com, America. Go. See. Learn.

End of interview.

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