George Will, the Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative journalist who ripped up his Republican card this year after Donald Trump’s nomination, has said a narrow GOP defeat would be “the worst conceivable outcome” for the party.
FBI Director James Comey’s announcement of potential new Clinton emails last Friday appears to have shaken up national polls, narrowing the gap between Trump and Clinton.
Will says that the narrow defeat would lead to “the old stab-in-the-back theory”.
In talk show in ABC he said the party would blame Trump dissenters like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse for dividing Republicans.
A landslide win for Clinton, the Washington Post columnist argued, would help the Republicans, giving the party room to distance itself from divisive candidates and from the “indignation industry,” as he dubbed it, of talk radio and cable personalities.
Speaking to ABC on Wednesday, Will said he was doubtful of a Republican win, barring fundamental changes within the party, starting with how Republican radio and talkshow hosts speak about issues and underrepresented groups.
“Until the Republican party gets right with minorities in this country,” Will said, “it’s never going to win another presidential election.”
Secondly, Will said, “The party has to look at its nominating process. It must never again have debates with 12 people on stage at a time.”
“I don’t know what you do to erect a kind of filter to keep a certain kind of candidate off the stage, but they have to work on their nominating process,” he added.
Known for referencing baseball in his columns, Will said of the 23 percent chance that FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver estimates both Trump and the Cubs have of winning this year, “I think he’s underestimating the Cubs and overestimating Donald Trump.”
Will also said FBI Director James Comey’s announcement last Friday about the review of potential new Clinton emails was reckless, arguing that he broke FBI protocol for the wrong reasons.
“He sends this letter to Congress, saying emails of unknown content and unknown prominence, might be ‘pertinent’ — that’s a word to watch for here — to the prior Clinton investigation,” Will said.
“Something can be pertinent without being significant, that is, it could be pertinent in the sense that it’s redundant evidence of what we already know, which was that she was in Comey’s language ‘extremely careless’ in handling sensitive materials.”
“This is not news people can use,” Will continued. “It’s of no help to voters. And it’s of no help to anyone, so far as I can see.”
“It’s an old saying our grandmothers told us — don’t talk unless you can improve the silence,” he added. “I don’t think he did.”
While pundits and party leaders alike have been calling for updates from Comey in the investigation or clarifications to the wording in his letter, Will said, “That makes it worse, although his silence is bad enough, that could make it worse.”
Some 20 million votes have already been cast, Will noted, and at just one week before the nation’s decision day, he advised, “I think silence would be golden at this point.”