In hindsight, Trump’s candidacy will be seen as a brilliant project to make Ted Cruz much more acceptable to center-righties by comparison— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) November 24, 2015
To which Bill Kristol replies:
Center-right will further embrace Cruz when see Trump can't run 3rd party vs. him. Could vs. Rubio (=establishment) https://t.co/DMM62tPfor— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) November 24, 2015
So this is how the right now fantasizes about rescue from Donald Trump? Jeb was going to take his rightful place at the top of the polls using money and breeding, but that didn't happen. Fiorina was going to be the candidate who had outsider appeal but had actually read a couple of briefing books; that didn't happen. Sensible people were going to flock to that thoughtful, experienced John Kasich. Nope. Rubio? Apparently not. So now it's Cruz?
I should acknowledge that Allahpundit and Kristol are probably genuinely rooting for Cruz -- in effect, he's their Trump, a guy who, unlike Trump, will apply government experience, a working knowledge of the lawmaking process, and a knowledge of American history to the project of smashing everything to bits.
I know Cruz is making gains in the polls, but Trump, for voters who aren't professional pundits, is what Cruz wishes he could be, someone seen as capable of remaking everything without limit. Cruz has been in the arena, and has failed to destroy liberalism; therefore, he's suspect. Trump has no such problem.
But just think about this. The GOP is so crazy now that the new "insider vs. outsider" fantasy of the primary race has Ted Cruz as the establishment choice. And who knows? That may be an accurate read on the party.
Oh, and if you think Trump would refrain from running third party in the fall if running third party means running against Cruz, you're delusional. Trump surely believes he'd win that battle. I'd love it if Kristol's scenario played out. And no, Cruz wouldn't seem centrist by comparison -- the two of them would out-wingnut each other all the way to November.
CLARIFICATION: This is presumably in response to a Quinnipiac Iowa poll in which Cruz is surging:
Donald Trump gets 25 percent of Iowa likely Republican Caucus participants in a too-close-to- call race with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas who is at 23 percent, double his support from four weeks ago, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Dr. Ben Carson has 18 percent, with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 13 percent.