by Rod D. Martin
January 8, 2016
I know, it sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
But the Republican Establishment is about to have to choose between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. They won’t pick Cruz.
The thing about Establishments is that they can’t be without a candidate: if they don’t back somebody, there is no way for them to remain the Establishment. I’m certainly not calling Donald Trump Hitler (you may have noticed over the past several months that I have tremendous respect for Trump and for his accomplishments), but to give an admittedly extreme example, much of Germany’s Establishment — and certainly a huge number of its industrialists — backed Hitler, especially once they realized he was winning.
It’s a lot easier for the Republican Establishment — which actually has called Trump Hitler, and somewhat frequently — to get behind a winner they don’t actually believe is anything like Hitler, when their predicted Trump implosion refuses to come month after month, and when their own candidates are lying in the dust licking their wounds.
To a RINO denizen of the Upper East Side, or a Republican consultant who only cares about winning, Trump’s persistent 20 or 30 point lead is some pretty potent seduction. But there’s more:
1. The Establishment doesn’t believe Trump holds any of his current positions. Many of them have known him for a very long time. They think he’s pandering to rouse the base. That’s been their game for a very long time. The fact that he’s better at it than they are impresses them, albeit grudgingly.
2. The Establishment is not oblivious to the fact that Trump’s chief stated credential is deal making. Marco Rubio thought of himself as the guy who could make the impossible deal too, and it led him straight into the Gang of Eight. They think that for all the bluster, Trump would cut the deals they need made.
3. The Establishment thinks that even if Trump means some of what he’s saying, he doesn’t really understand it. Cruz does. Cruz would actually clean house in Washington, to the degree any President can, because he has a coherent worldview and also a brilliant mind for the mechanisms through which this or that policy is implemented. Cruz would target the left’s power base in a way that no President ever has, and there would be substantial damage even if his overall program failed. He’d also name as many as five Tony Scalias to the Supreme Court. The Establishment thinks all of that is over Trump’s head (to the degree it isn’t over their heads also), and thinks Trump would name his pro-partial-birth-abortion sister to the Supreme Court.
So watch closely: I’ve called pretty much everything this entire cycle, and I’m calling this. I’m batting 1000 so far, so take that for what it’s worth. As Trump continues to lead, and perhaps even more importantly as Cruz starts to consolidate his position in Iowa, expect major Republican Establishment figures to start saying things highly positive toward Trump. It may not be full-on endorsements: that’s still early. But you’ll get the message: Trump will have become the new “moderate” candidate.
Politics does make strange bedfellows, doesn’t it?
UPDATE, Jan. 21, 2016: Right on cue, the Washington Post reports, “GOP Establishment Warms to Trump, Remains Cool Toward Cruz“.
SECOND UPDATE: And this from Erick Erickson.
THIRD UPDATE: And this: Trump embraces the Establishment’s embrace. From the AP: “Donald Trump Blasts National Review, Says Establishment is Warming Up to Him“.