Tuesday, March 08, 2016


David Brooks thinks there's still time to save the GOP from the party's leading candidate in the presidential race. But please don't talk about rescuing the party with the runner-up:
First, hit the pause button on the rush to Cruz. Second, continue the Romneyesque assault on Trump. The results on Saturday, when late voters swung sharply against the Donald, suggest it may be working.

Third, work for a Marco Rubio miracle in Florida on March 15. Fourth, clear the field for John Kasich in Ohio. If Rubio and Kasich win their home states, Trump will need to take nearly 70 percent of the remaining delegates to secure a majority. That would be unlikely; he’s only winning 44 percent of the delegates now.

The party would go to the convention without a clear nominee. It would be bedlam for a few days, but a broadly acceptable new option might emerge. It would be better than going into the fall with Trump, which would be a moral error, or Cruz, who in November would manage to win several important counties in Mississippi.
Michael Gerson doesn't reject Cruz outright, but he's no fan either:
Every Republican of the type concerned with winning in November has been asking the question (at least internally): “What if the worst happens?”

The worst does not mean the nomination of Ted Cruz, in spite of justified fears of political disaster. Cruz is an ideologue with a message perfectly tuned for a relatively small minority of the electorate. Uniquely in American politics, the senator from Texas has made his reputation by being roundly hated by his colleagues -- apparently a prerequisite for a certain kind of anti-establishment conservative, but unpromising for an image makeover at his convention.

Cruz’s nomination would represent the victory of the hard right -- religious right and tea party factions -- within the Republican coalition.
A few days ago, Gerson compiled a list of options for dealing with Trump, beginning with this:
Option 1: Support the candidate in second place in the hope of beating Trump’s plurality with more votes and delegates. “We may be in a position,” says Sen. Lindsey Graham, “where we have to rally around Ted Cruz as the only way to stop Donald Trump.” Marco Rubio, in this argument, simply hasn’t risen to the moment. And at least Cruz is a legitimate Republican.
However, Gerson added this:
But anyone concerned about Trump’s nativism will find it very difficult to support Cruz, who has criticized Trump for being too soft on illegal immigration. Cruz would be a weak candidate against Hillary Clinton. His 100-proof conservatism is not to everyone’s taste. And, as one South Carolina Republican told me, he seems “covered in a thick layer of people repellant.”
Ultimately, Gerson also said he favors the "vote for whoever can win a state" strategy to deny Trump a first-ballot convention victory. Although he didn't mention any other candidates, he specifically cited Florida and Ohio, where Cruz is not the obvious Trump alternative.

I bring all this up because it suggests to me that if Republican establishmentarians really do get their brokered convention, they're not just going to try to rebuff the guy who's #1 in the delegate count -- they really might try to blow off the top two, Trump and Cruz.

And remember, the problem might not just be that Trump and Cruz are #1 and #2. Their backers are by far the angriest people in the party.

How's that going to work out for the GOP? Is there where I should be saying, "Pass the popcorn"?


mlbxxxxxx said...

I don't see how a brokered convention isn't going to be just about who will be Trump's VP. If they try to supplant Trump, given that he will have likely won a solid/strong plurality, there will be hell to pay. The people that have taken a personal stake in the election of Donald Trump are not (all) nice people. That they are angry should, by now, go without saying and they are also armed, bull-headed and have very little quitting sense. Trump has shown that he can mobilize them and I don't think he'll stand by and take having the nomination denied him without calling out his minions. Hell, he sics them on peaceful protesters at rallies now, what is he going to do then?

This idea of Rubio winning Fl, Kasich - Ohio, etc. is nuts. Total nuts, but it'll be free entertainment for me so, whatever, I guess. But if they want to beat Trump -- and there is still time -- they need to collapse the field to 1 non-Trump STAT. Maybe even try backdating it. It is their only hope. Not a dream-date at the convention.

How the fuck are they the majority party?

Victor said...

IF it's brokered, I can see the coming 2016 GOP Cleveland Convention's "Brooks Brothers Riots" * being an updated version of the 1968 Demoratic hippies riots in Chicago!

* Minus the nice suits, of course. But about the same level of mayhem as Chicago's.

Unknown said...

"How's that going to work out for the GOP?"

As they see it, it will work out swell. As Brooks writes:

"This isn’t about winning the presidency in 2016 anymore. This is about something much bigger. ... If the G.O.P. is going to survive as a decent and viable national party, it can’t cling to the fading orthodoxy Cruz represents. But it can’t shift to ugly Trumpian nationalism, either. It has to find a third alternative: limited but energetic use of government to expand mobility and widen openness and opportunity."

Ignore the bullshit about "limited but energetic use of government". The key thing, as Brooks and his masters see it, is that they'll continue to set the Republican agenda forevermore - in defiance of the rabble who stupidly expected their votes to get them something.

Of course, the Republican Party will not have the White House or the Senate. Eventually they won't have the House either. But they'll still have their pride, damn it!

Unknown said...

"Is there where I should be saying, "Pass the popcorn"?"


Feud Turgidson said...

Unk, Friar Brooks may be hallucinating: he describes a choice among a revival of the Jacquerie of 1381, with Drump's followers roasting any members of the GOP establishment so negligent as to wander within their grasp and force feeding Priebus the still sizzling meat; a renewal of the cycle of late 1400s religious purity trials and purges with Cruz leading as Grand Inquisidor, or a return to the Republicanism of 1931.

Rand Careaga said...

A brokered convention? Does the baby jeebus love me that much? If they go that route, it needs to be "open carry" in Cleveland. Make for some damn colorful floor fights.

Ten Bears said...

No Vic, the cops won't teargas them, or stomp on them with horses.

Ten Bears said...

Indeed Feud, those few who know a bit about the history of Freemasonry are viewing this with far more alarm than the larger population yet still few who know a bit Hitler's history.