Friday, May 13, 2016
It is really hard to figure out what was going through Ted Cruz's head when he chose to drop out and then say he would re-enter the race depending on how he did in Nebraska, only to lose big there as well. It was one of those petulant moves, like a kid retreating to the corner of the playroom and saying he wouldn't come back to play until his playmates said how much they loved him. As it turned out, the folks of Nebraska didn't love him.
No one really did. He was just the last best hope for the Evangelicals to rock the GOP establishment, but when Ted started garnering all that support from political insiders in a last ditch off to knock off Trump, Cruz pulled the rug out from under the Evangelicals, so they begrudgingly flocked to Trump, who still projects himself as the outsider. That may change now that Trump is getting all chummy with the GOP elite in an effort to "unite" the party, but for now the Donald gets to bask in all the glory, having finally put pesky Eddie Munster to rest.
In the end, it didn't take Trump much longer to subdue Cruz than it did Romney to finally mute Rick Santorum, the 2012 Evangelical Poster Boy last time around. It's just that no one expected Trump to win, but here he is the presumptive GOP nominee and it is the Republican establishment that finds itself having to bite the bullet rather than its electorate, which was forced to accept Romney four years ago.
It seems the party leaders are accepting Trump as their nominee, even if many of the endorsements have been lukewarm at best. Forty-one Republican senators have announced their support for Trump. Among those is John McCain, whose war record Trump besmirched early on in the campaign. No matter, says former POW John. It seems he is more worried about his re-election hopes in Arizona than he is the soul of the GOP, or his fellow POWs who aren't Trump's kind of "war heroes."
Mackie is in a "damned if you, damned if you don't" situation. Obviously, Trump is going to hurt his chances of reaching out to Hispanic voters, but the Donald will help him maintain his core of Republican support, assuming Trump offers his support in kind. It is hard to say with the Donald, who has played this election cycle like a reality show and will only do what helps his long term chances. At this point, Mackie needs Trump more than Trump needs Mackie, as the senator finds himself being challenged by Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.
Whether the Congressional leaders like Trump or not, they have to rally around their Presidential nominee for the good of the party. This includes Paul Ryan, who seems to being having a little more difficulty swallowing this bitter pill than have his contemporaries. As a result, he has earned the wrath of Sarah Palin, who has come out in support of his opponent in the Minnesota Congressional primaries, vowing to "Cantor" Paul Ryan. If you don't know what that means, Eric Cantor was the number two man in the House before he got face slapped by Dave Brat in the 2014 Virginia Congressional primaries.
If you are going to stand against Trump, you have to do so defiantly as Lindsey Graham has done, not be all mealy mouthed about it, as Ryan and others have been. This does not endear you to your constituency. However, even dear old Lindsey seems to be softening. Talk of a third-party candidate like Romney has receded, especially given the last time the Republicans did something like this, all it succeeded in doing was handing the White House over to the Democrats.
As bad as Donald is for the GOP, he stands a fairly decent chance in the Fall, largely because Hillary hasn't exactly endeared herself to the electorate, suffering consecutive losses in Indiana and West Virginia after her surge in the Northeast primaries. In fact, new polls show Donald running neck and neck with Hillary in a hypothetical match-up in November, when you take into account the 4.3 per cent margin of error. I say hypothetical as there is still an outside chance Bernie Sanders could crash Hillary's convention, depending on how California goes.
Why Ted didn't stay in the race until California is a mystery to me? His choice of Carly Fiorina as his running mate seemed gauged for a big showdown in the delegate-rich state. If he had kept to the outside of the establishment, he may have very well beaten Trump in Indiana, West Virginia and Nebraska, as these states favor Evangelical candidates. But, Ted got all giddy when he saw these unsolicited endorsements coming his way and thought he had turned the GOP establishment in his favor, even if it hurt him among the Evangelical base of the Republican party. Still, he should have ridden this election cycle out as Bernie is doing.
Now, we have this runaway train in the Donald J. Trump campaign, which looks like it will stay on track as far as the Cleveland convention, but beyond that is anyone's guess. The names being tossed out as potential VPs are enough to make anyone cringe, even some of those being suggested. Can one imagine Trump with Newt Gingrich or Jan Brewer or one of these 5 people, particularly Chris Christie, who appears at the top of the list? Newt had the best reaction, "Why should I say 'no' to the circus?"
Hillary would be sitting pretty if she weren't shrouded in the many concerns that surround her candidacy -- Benghazi, the e-mail scandal, this latest bit of claptrap about a rape case in Arkansas, in which she mocked the 12-year old victim. Not to mention Big Bill and all the unsavory baggage he represents on the campaign trail. Or, the fact that she now has the support of the KKK Grand Dragon. There is more than enough stuff here for Trump to exploit and deflect attention away from his many shortcomings. He has already started doing so.
It is going to be a very very ugly campaign! So, put that popcorn in the microwave and grab a seat and watch these two runaway trains head toward their collision in November.