GOP Stumbles Toward the Abyss

By | 3/31/2016 Leave a Comment
GOP establishment Mitt Romney Reince Priebus Lindsey Graham

Like the alcoholic who refuses to acknowledge they have a problem, the Grand Old Party continues its tumultuous path toward its convention in July still blindfolding itself to the reality of the monster they are creating along the way.

As the Wisconsin primary approaches, the latest poll from the Marquette University Law School has Mr. Cruz with a 10 point lead over Mr. Trump – an exact reversal of just four weeks ago when Trump held a 10 point lead. And keep in mind that this poll was taken before the current crop of negative events that have bedeviled Mr. Trump of late, including the insults directed at Cruz’s wife, the arrest of his campaign manager Cory Lewandowski, and the debacle over his comments on abortion and his very clunky attempts at damage control in the immediate aftermath.

If Cruz goes on to win in Wisconsin, which is looking ever more likely, it will be trumpeted as a major victory for the Stop Trump movement, which up until now has been largely disorganized and ineffectual, with plenty of bark but little bite – a sort of United Nations of the Republican establishment. It would serve as a blow to Trump’s momentum as the race heads east and pierce the aura of inevitability he’s enjoyed ever since he dusted himself off after his Iowa loss. In fact, if Cruz were to win all eight of Wisconsin’s congressional districts, he would walk away with every delegate in the state and leave Trump with nothing.

But in reality the Stop Trump conglomerate will be unable to win in the end, regardless of how successful their campaign against their nemesis is. That is to say, the majority of the party establishment and their allies, who make up the well-funded but discordant anti-Trump crusade, have already blown it.

Many months ago the GOP had the opportunity to either embrace the one interloping but dominant candidate in the race who looked increasingly unstoppable, or to throw all of its influence and resources behind a single establishment candidate to try to shape a viable alternative. They did neither. Instead they smugly waited for Trump to implode and left the others to a televised debate version of The Hunger Games, where only the strong survived and the eventual winner would, naturally, be one of their own.

Now though, whatever the ultimate result of the nomination race is, they will still end up the big losers. If they succeed in denying Donald Trump from reaching the magic 1,237 to clinch to nomination outright, they face a convention battle that will end up with either Trump eventually being awarded the nomination anyway through a floor fight, or crowning someone else and alienating Trump’s millions of rabidly loyal followers who will then either follow the billionaire as a third party candidate – should he choose to go that route – or refuse to vote in November altogether.

Whether Trump gets the nomination, chooses to run as a third party candidate, or decides to step aside completely, there is one thing that is certain – he’ll have been taking names. Of the often impulsive and unpredictable Mr. Trump, there are certain personality traits that have been consistent throughout his life: he bears grudges, he settles scores and he fights back – hard!

The party may succeed in stopping Trump or they may fail and have to live with him as their newly anointed leader, but in either instance there’ll be hell to pay.

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