As the GOP race narrows itself down to the pastor’s son and a walking, talking abridged Turner Diaries, the various elements of the GOP have begun lining up in their support accordingly — and multiple top GOPers have already made their choice, favoring the Teflon Don over Ted Cruz.
Anyone But Him
Ever since he dove in, individuals have argued over whether Trump is capable of winning. Early on, I was one of them, wondering aloud whether his campaign was a joke. The one thing that was never a joke, though, were the swarms of people he drew. They were the real representative of the American Id.
Trump has weathered event after event that would’ve crippled a lesser campaign, in large part to his appeal to authoritarians.
Now, as the campaign season winds down and we march inexorably towards November, the GOP field has fallen away, and the two remaining candidates are looking more and more like they’ll be the Donald and Ted Cruz. And the Establishment of the GOP has already decided who they’re going to support.
When asked who he would pick, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah told CNN he didn’t think Ted Cruz stands a chance in a general election.
“I think we’ll lose if he’s our nominee,” Hatch said, adding Trump had the best chance of netting “moderates and independents” and Cruz would have trouble doing that:
There’s a lot of people who don’t feel he can appeal to people across the board. For us to win, we have to appeal the moderates and independents. We can’t just act like that only one point of view is the only way to go. That’s where Ted is going to have some trouble.
He added Donald Trump stands the best chance:
I’ve come around a little bit on Trump. I’m not so sure we’d lose if he’s our nominee because he’s appealing to people who a lot of the Republican candidates have not appealed to in the past.
The Republicans have always been racists and Neo-Nazis. They’ve just never been this honest about it before.
Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad echoed Hatch’s sentiment, with Branstad telling reporters he thinks Cruz’s nomination would be “damaging” even though he never voiced direct favor for Trump.
Even Bob Dole is getting in on the act, telling the Gray Lady of the New York Times he preferred Trump because Cruz’s nomination would mean “wholesale losses in Congress and state offices and governors and legislatures” and called those losses “cataclysmic.” He added Trump “has toned down his rhetoric.”
A Republican lobbyist, Richard Hohlt, told the New York Times, “We can live with Trump.” He cautioned while not everyone loved Trump, people didn’t “feel” Trump was going to replace party personnel with his own people, whereas Cruz would.
Another lobbyist and former Republican campaign operative, Charles Black, cautioned if Cruz won, “what would happen is a lot of the elected leaders and party elders would try to sit down and try to help Cruz run a better campaign, but he may not listen.” Black added:
Trump is another matter. You can coach Donald. If he got nominated he’d be scared to death. That’s the point he would call people in the party and say, ‘I just want to talk to you.’
Former congressional aide and pundit, John Feehery, echoed Branstad, saying Cruz would “do long-lasting damage to the GOP coalition” and Trump wouldn’t, while Republican strategist Craig Shirley told the HuffPo Cruz doesn’t have enough support in Washington:
Cruz has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in D.C., whereas Trump hasn’t, and Trump up until this year was pretty much a player. Ultimately, the Washington establishment deep down — although they find Trump tacky or distasteful — they think that they ultimately can work with him. Deep down, a lot of people think it is an act.
One thing I heard repeatedly was Trump’s popularity owed a lot to his status as an outsider, because he would take on the establishment, because he didn’t have support from Washington, and all the other populist B.S.
Sounds to me like if people honestly cared about that, Cruz, not Trump, would be your man. Unfortunately for Cruz, he hasn’t quite figured out how to tap into that virulent, Ebola-esque strain of racism, xenophobia, and fascism Trump has, and that’s scary when you consider Cruz is a full-blown Christian Theocrat.
Feature image via Flickr