Anybody But Trump. Except Cruz.

Is Ted Cruz really the only alternative to Donald Trump?

anyone-but-trump-2016

The NYT editorial board wonders, “Why Should ‘Never Trump’ Mean Ted Cruz?”  Like me, they’d much prefer John Kasich:

With more than half of the 2016 presidential primary races in the history books, Republicans desperate to deny Donald Trump their party’s nomination now say Wisconsin, where Ted Cruz is leading, will show that their effort has turned the tide. They shouldn’t start bragging yet.

At a televised Republican town hall on Tuesday, it was painful to watch farmers, students and a man whose son died of a drug overdose pose earnest questions to Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz, who were more interested in attacking each other. Only John Kasich connected with these voters.

Despite its noble aim and big budget, “Never Trump” has become a panicky reaction in search of a strategy. In Wisconsin, “Never Trump” means “How About Cruz?” as self-interested leaders like Gov. Scott Walker try to sell Republicans on a dangerously reactionary senator as an improvement over a dangerously ignorant businessman. But for the state’s — and the nation’s — moderate conservatives, “Never Trump” should more logically mean “Maybe Kasich.”

Kasich would be the logical successor to Mitt Romney, John McCain, George W. Bush, and Bob Dole, all of whom were moderate conservatives who beat out considerably more hard line alternatives in the primaries. He represents the Republican Party that I’ve supported since before I was old enough to vote. Alas, that increasingly looks like the GOP’s past.

While Kasich got my vote in the Virginia primary and is easily the candidate in the race that I’d most like to see elected president, he’s currently in fourth place in a three person race. He has fewer delegates that Marco Rubio, who left the race three weeks ago.  He’s actually come in behind Rubio in contests held since Rubio dropped out.

Like it or not—and I don’t—Cruz is the only candidate in the race who has any conceivable shot at beating Trump outright.  Regardless, the NYT goes on:

The framework that Mitt Romney sketched for a “Never Trump” movement on March 3 rested on an analysis of delegate allocation rules in the remaining primary states. If Mr. Trump continued to win pluralities in winner-take-all states, he could easily nab the nomination. But through careful engineering and the targeted use of resources, those states could be won by the other candidates, throwing the nomination to the convention.

[…]

In some coming states and districts, voter data indicates that Mr. Kasich, not the ultraconservative, evangelical Mr. Cruz, could be more competitive. Yet there’s been no real effort by “Never Trump” leaders on Mr. Kasich’s behalf. Indeed, some Republicans are pressuring the Ohio governor to quit and coalescing around Mr. Cruz, a candidate who was once almost as unthinkable to them as Mr. Trump and should still be.

This is happening even though the numbers are there to deprive Mr. Trump of the nomination without delivering it to Mr. Cruz on a platter, says Henry Olsen, of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank in Washington. “If your goal is ‘Never Trump,’ you should put your bets on the best candidate depending on the delegate allocation rules and the demographics of the state,” he says.

This means “Never Trump” backers would help Mr. Cruz in California’s Los Angeles media market and Central Valley, and in New Mexico, South Dakota, Indiana and Montana, which favor him. And they would work to deliver Delaware, the San Francisco Bay area, the Philadelphia suburbs, and urban areas in New York State to Mr. Kasich.

[…]

ut in a year when cruelty and exclusion stand as hallmarks of conservatism, “It would be courageous to stand up and say that Kasich is a different kind of conservative,” who doesn’t see government, or foreigners, as enemies, Mr. Olsen says. “These voters exist, and there’s a lot of them.” He adds that Mr. Kasich should be doing better at wooing them.

Mr. Cruz has been trying to bully Mr. Kasich from the race by billing himself as the only viable alternative to Mr. Trump. It would be ironic if Mr. Cruz became the candidate of a party whose leaders hate him. But if those leaders can’t find it in themselves to take a more courageous path, they deserve whatever they get.

Strategically, it makes sense for anti-Trump forces to pursue the strategy Olsen outlines. And, even aside from my personal preferences, I think Kasich would be a much stronger nominee against Hillary Clinton than Trump or Cruz. But there’s just no conceivable way that he’ll win enough states to be perceived as a legitimate nominee.

While “brokered convention” has been a pundit’s pipe dream for decades, it’s actually quite possible this year because there were so many candidates and so many primaries and caucuses with other than a winner-take-all delegate allocation. But, absent a stunning change in the electoral climate, Trump is likely to go into the convention with the most votes, followed by Cruz. They’re both considered “non-establishment” candidates. It’s almost unfathomable that a supermajority of delegates who went to the convention supporting them would somehow compromise on Kasich, who’s not only an establishment guy but, arguably, to the left of the establishment on some core issues. And, if the unfathomable happened, Trump is metaphorically if not literally right: the base would quite rightly revolt over having been summarily overruled in that fashion.

I don’t think I can support Cruz. While he’s undeniably brilliant and conventionally qualified to be president, the disdain with which he’s viewed by his Senate colleagues signals that he’s not temperamentally suited for the job. And he’s well to the right of any recent nominee.  He would seem, however, to be the only alternative to Trump as the GOP standard bearer.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Pch101 says:

    This sort of thing is going to keep happening until establishment conservatives who are motivated primarily by economic and regulatory issues denounce the racists, conspiracy theorists and religious extremists who are proud to call themselves Republicans.

    Of course, that is never going to happen when they are busy ignoring Hamilton’s views on the process of choosing Supreme Court justices (funny to see that coming from the original intent crowd), suppressing minority (read: mostly Democratic) voters in the name of “voter fraud” and competing with each other to see who can support the most outlandish policies against immigrants possible.

    In other words, the Republican party has to be destroyed before it can be saved (and I wouldn’t vote for a Republican for dogcatcher, let alone president, until it is.) But most of them don’t want to be saved.

  2. Slugger says:

    Maybe we should rethink the whole system. Our government was designed as a compromise between the competing interests of the states comprising the putative United States in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. This compromise was uneasy from the beginning with a horrific Civil War before the Union was one hundred years old. We now have an additional 37 states, and the burning issues of 1780 are not foremost.
    The descent of the Republican Party into Bizzaro world is due to the effort to unify disparate interests. The business community, the foreign policy interventionists, and the declining white Christian demographics actually do not have much in common except nominal party membership. We see this in the yes-I-will, no-I-won’t expressions of their candidates regarding support for the nominee.
    I just wonder if switching to a parliamentary system does not make sense. Two hundred and fifty year old solutions can’t possibly be useful.

  3. Franklin says:

    My biggest problem with Cruz is his stance on climate change. I mean, it’s one thing to question what we can do about it (given that rising third-world countries are only going to make it worse, plus the supposedly detrimental effects on our economy of any action), and that’s almost forgivable. It’s another thing to question whether humans are contributing to it; while the science is getting pretty clear on that point, I would still be slightly sympathetic to people who think there’s a conflict of interest with government-funded research.

    But Cruz goes way beyond all this and says the climate isn’t even changing at all. Personally I think I’d prefer Trump on this issue. Even though he currently thinks it’s a big money and power grab by socialists (even though, like most things, he hasn’t actually given it any thought), he might eventually listen to the military leaders and others who agree this is a real issue that we need to do something about.

  4. MBunge says:

    Kasich would be the logical successor to Mitt Romney, John McCain, George W. Bush, and Bob Dole

    Three of whom lost, two of them running campaigns that were almost hilariously bad, and a fourth who turned out to be one of the worst and most destructive Presidents we’ve seen since at least the Vietnam era.

    Mike

    PS – The hilariously bad campaigns were Romney and McCain. Dole lost big but that was more because he was running against an incumbent who had peace, seeming prosperity and the entire media establishment on his side.

  5. dmichael says:

    Kasich is a “moderate conservative” in the tradition of Romney, et al? Either you don’t know his positions or your view of what is a moderate is in the current Republican Party is a truly “off-center” one. He is a anti-women, anti-abortion fanatic, a governor who slashes taxes for the rich, robs funding from public institutions like schools and whose campaign against public sector unions was soundly repealed by the voters of his state. He, like Trump, is prone to sudden outbursts of anger and is a pompous christianist. I suggest reading up on his positions and his actions: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/11/john-kasich-ohio-moderate-voting-record-republican-president-campaign. The only reason some polls have him doing better against a Democratic Party candidate is that people don’t know who he really is and because people like you insist on calling him a “moderate.”

  6. Pch101 says:

    @dmichael:

    These days, a “moderate Republican” is someone who appears to be calm and doesn’t behave like the lead character of a horror film. At this point, Republican moderation is all about demeanor, not policy.

  7. Rafer Janders says:

    @MBunge:

    Three of whom lost, two of them running campaigns that were almost hilariously bad, and a fourth who turned out to be one of the worst and most destructive Presidents we’ve seen since at least the Vietnam eraWar of 1812.

    Fixed that for you.

  8. Rafer Janders says:

    @dmichael:

    Kasich is a “moderate conservative” in the tradition of Romney, et al? Either you don’t know his positions or your view of what is a moderate is in the current Republican Party is a truly “off-center” one.

    Don’t forget, James also claimed in a long argument with me several years ago that Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Mike Dukakis were, in his words “hard-left candidates.” In James’ world the most centrist Democrat is a hard leftist, and the most right-wing Republican is a moderate.

  9. CSK says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Perspective is everything. In TrumpWorld, Paul Ryan is a hard-left Democrat in league with Obama to turn us into a third world socialist state.

  10. dmichael says:

    @Pch101: Doesn’t act like the lead character in a horror movie? Check this out (humor): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqVrpFXXdB0#t=352.197868

  11. @MBunge:

    Republicans were not going to win in 2008 regardless of who they nominated. Not only were the Bush Administration’s numbers among the lowest for an outgoing Administration since the end of the Second World War, but the same was true of the Republican Party as a whole. Add into that the factors that led to Barack Obama’s ability to pull off the seemingly impossible and beat Hillary Clinton, and I think it is safe to say that there isn’t anyone who could have done much better than McCain.

    The same can be said of 2012 and Mitt Romney. By the time the General Election campaign had started, President Obama’s job approval ratings were well above 50%, the economy was in more or less good shape, the foreign policy arena had not yet exploded into the chaos we see today, and Republicans were under fire for creating gridlock on Capitol Hill. The odds that the American public was going to fire an incumbent President under these circumstances were quite low. Besides, other than Romney what other candidate on the GOP side in 2012 would have done better than he did? Go ahead, name one but be prepared to support your argument.

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    While “brokered convention” has been a pundit’s pipe dream for decades, it’s actually quite possible this year because there were so many candidates and so many primaries and caucuses with other than a winner-take-all delegate allocation.

    I was at the last contested Republican convention. Here’s what to expect at Trump’s. Tanya Melich

    When the Republican convention opened in Chicago on July 7, 1952, Taft’s forces controlled its machinery. Taft led in committed delegates but not enough to be nominated. Some 70 were in dispute.

    Rules and credentials were the center of the struggle even as policy issues fueled intense
    emotion. There was even a bitter two-hour debate over which rules the convention should follow.

    I was on the floor of the convention during this debate. My father was a Utah Taft delegate. I was a volunteer teenager for Taft along with Yvonne Romney, the young daughter of the Taft western regional chairman; the campaign gave us signs reading, “Utah Bees Buzz For Taft.” We were told to march in front of the New York delegates, who were seated on the convention floor directly facing the speaker’s podium.

    As we innocently paraded in front of Dewey and his delegates, Illinois Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen, in a booming voice from the podium, roused the Taft delegates and pointed his finger down at Dewey, shouting: “We followed you before, and you took us down the road to defeat. Don’t do this to us.”

    The convention erupted. Delegates booed, rising to their feet and screaming epithets at Dewey. Republicans’ pent-up bitterness over the 1948 loss overflowed, resulting in long, heartrending screeching.

    I too was overwhelmed and vehemently waved my sign at the New Yorkers. A man, at least a foot taller than my 5 feet, leaped out of the New York delegation, yelling, “Hey, girlie, how much did they pay you for that?”

    I was furious. The idea that anyone would pay me to do my patriotic duty was more than I could stand. I hit him with the sign, shouting something about how dare you say such things.

    My Taft buddies and a security guard escorted me gently off the floor. I was okay, more angry than frightened. Not until later when I learned of other violent incidents — less modest than mine — did I realize how dangerous the convention floor had become.
    http://www.vox.com/2016/3/21/11257862/melich-conventions-first-person

    A good time was had by all!

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Pch101:

    This sort of thing is going to keep happening until establishment conservatives who are motivated primarily by economic and regulatory issues denounce the racists, conspiracy theorists and religious extremists who are proud to call themselves Republicans.

    And if they denounce the “racists, conspiracy theorists and religious extremists” who, besides James, is going to vote for them?

    They have aided and abetted Murdoch, Limbaugh, et al in creating a base largely divorced from reality. (And I include, for instance, the supposedly upscale readers of the WSJ.) Given that the program of the “establishment conservatives who are motivated primarily by economic and regulatory issues” is largely low taxes for themselves, environmental disaster, destruction of our safety net, freeing the banks to screw us over again, and permanent war, who else would vote for them?

  14. Grewgills says:

    It’s almost unfathomable that a supermajority of delegates who went to the convention supporting them would somehow compromise on Kasich, who’s not only an establishment guy but, arguably, to the left of the establishment on some core issues.

    Other than accepting the Medicare expansion on what issues is Kasich arguably to the left of the establishment? He’s to the right of the establishment on women’s health and he’s in line with the now far rightward shift of the establishment on everything else I’ve seen. By any definition based on policy he’s more hard right than Sanders is far left. There is exactly one centrist candidate left in the race and it isn’t Kasich.

  15. Gustopher says:

    I’m really struggling to come up with a definition of Moderate Republican that includes Kasich, Romney, McCain, George W. Bush and Bob Dole, but not Trump and Cruz.

    Is it just temperament? Because that’s all I’ve got.

    Opposes torture? Nope, it’s only an issue because of Bush.
    Favors a balanced budget? Nope, see Bush again.
    Believes tax cuts magically pay for themselves? Nope, Cruz believes that.
    Doesn’t want to randomly attack countries in the MidEast? Nope,,Bush, McCain…

    Completely baffled. Not a nihilist? But McCain gave us Sarah Palin…

  16. C. Clavin says:

    …While he’s undeniably brilliant…

    Huh???
    Did someone change the meaning of brilliant?

  17. Pch101 says:

    And if they denounce the “racists, conspiracy theorists and religious extremists” who, besides James, is going to vote for them?

    Well, that certainly is the problem that motivated the GOP to get into bed with these people. It’s a numbers game, and there aren’t enough of them to win elections strictly as a pro-business party.

    At the same time, kowtowing to the crazies carries a high price. It is reaching a point that the GOP establishment will have to acknowledge that all of this can be traced back to Reagan’s grand coalition with ex-Dixiecrats and the Religious Right. A shift in strategy would require a great deal of effort and would certainly produce some painful losses during the interim.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: Looks to me like Kasich is nothing but Scott Walker with twenty more IQ points. Same program. And 20 points up on Walker is far short of “brilliant” territory.

  19. MBunge says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    1. Black guy with Muslim-sounding name.

    2. Palin.

    3. “47%”

    I don’t know if another Republican could have won in 2008 or 2012 but that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the quality of campaigns run by McCain and Romney, which I notice you don’t even try to defend.

    In fairness, you could argue their campaigns were so terrible because of the things they had to do to placate a dysfunctional GOP electorate. McCain, who should have been a pretty strong candidate, seemed personally damaged by all the grovling/making nice he did with the forces in the party who savaged him in 2000. Romney, however, is one of the worst candidates I’ve ever seen and couldn’t have been elected dog catcher if he wasn’t able to outspend opponents by 10 to 1 and didn’t have a media who cut him slack because he “looked presidential.”

    Mike

  20. DrDaveT says:

    [Kasich] represents the Republican Party that I’ve supported since before I was old enough to vote.

    I’d love to hear you expand on that claim, James. Which specific Kasich policies do you associate with your adolescent notions of what Republicans are all about? More generally, what did you think Republicans stood for, in those halcyon days?

    If it had to do with fiscal responsibility, rational foreign policy, or pro-growth economic policy, there is still a political party that has consistently promoted those things. It just isn’t the GOP.

    If it had to do with protecting wealth, delaying social justice, keeping women in their place, preaching now-discredited magic bean economic theories, and invading random countries from time to time… that’s some weird nostalgia.

  21. SteveGinGTO says:

    The GOP establishment is using Cruz. And they SHOULD. Trump is the Götterdämeriung, and anything they can do to stop him, they need to do. But Cruz is Damian the Oracle, too, so they need to stop HIM, too.

    In fact, had Trump not shown up, all this was going to happen ABOUT CRUZ. They hate his sorry a** perhaps even more than Trump. Of course, none of this was supposed to happen.

    JEB! Was supposed to kick everyone’s behinds, royally. They would have ended up with the same revolt, anyway, though, because the Tea Party wasn’t going away. And it HASN’T, either. Trump’s magnificence has just outshone them. Watch what happens when they frustrate Cruz.

    So, for now, and once they are assured that Trump is stopped (he is), then they can breathe a little bit and let Cruz do their dirty work for them.

    The throwing under the bus will come later – after that first ballot blockade and the delegates begin to be freed of their obligations. The state party loyalists who happen to be bound to Trump will flip faster than you can say Jack Robinson.

    Who TO? Who cares? The BLUE WALL kills the GOP candidate, anyway. This GOP-Trump-Cruz b.s. is all side show. And an appointed GOP candidate will be even weaker than Trump or Cruz. The Presidential race is in the Dem primaries.

    So it’s Hillary or it’s – oh, yeah, that one is over. It’s Hillary.

    Madam President. For 8 years. Get used to it.

    And start to see what a functioning government looks like again. To begin with, 100+ federal judges will be vetted and put in place, including at least one Supreme Court Justice (probably 3 or 4 in the 8 years).

  22. SteveGinGTO says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    It’s a done deal. Trump can’t get there from here. He was already below water, but WI clinches it.

  23. SteveGinGTO says:

    @MBunge:

    HAHAHAHA – Yeah. Does not looking like Alfred E Neumann count as looking presidential?

    Romney always looked to me like some control freak rich mommy’s idea of a good, compliant 8-year-old. Someone who was still waiting for permission to go to the bathroom.

  24. Rafer Janders says:

    [Kasich] represents the Republican Party that I’ve supported since before I was old enough to vote.

    So the party which wanted to bust unions, gut Planned Parenthood, punish women for their reproductive choices, limit voting rights, steal from the poor to give to the rich, and engage in illegal and stupid aggressive wars of choice?

    Well, yes, in all these ways Kasich is EXACTLY representative of that Republican Party.

  25. SteveGinGTO says:

    “Like it or not—and I don’t—Cruz is the only candidate in the race who has any conceivable shot at beating Trump outright.”

    HUH????

    There IS not beating Trump outright. He is on target with WI to end up with about 1185-1190 delegates – about 50 short.

    So, there is no discussion about Trump making it or not.

    And as for Cruz, it is mathematically impossible for him. Especially since some of the states are still proportional.

    So there IS no outright. It WILL go brokered.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    @SteveGinGTO:..It’s a done deal. Trump can’t get there from here.

    What is your prediction for the price of oil? I’m thinking of reallocating my portfolio?

  27. SteveGinGTO says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Oil’s not my bag.

    But I can count delegates and read polls.

    Go read up at http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/will-donald-trump-clinch-the-republican-nomination-before-the-convention/ —- A nice chart there.

    THEN adjust for how badly Trump is doing in WI polls right now. A loss of 15 delegates from what 538 was determining – and I know exactly WHY. And why that 15 take him down below 1200. If he is within 15 or 20 Trump MIGHT be able to wheedle those – but not 50.

    It’s not exactly rocket science.

  28. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    A shift in strategy would require a great deal of effort and would certainly produce some painful losses during the interim.

    In the end they face a “retiree restaurant” dilemma :P.

  29. stonetools says:

    Kasich is considered moderate because he says in calm tones the same ludicrous, discredited Republican ideology that Cruz and Trump shout.
    James, the problem is not Trump and Cruz. It’s the Republican Party. That’s what needs to change.
    Ponder that McConnell is considered a moderate Republican . But he is refusing to hold hearings on a very well qualified moderate Supreme Court nominee for no good reason other than the President is a Democrat.
    More specifically, what needs to change is the Frankenstein monster of a Republican Party base that the Republican Party and the conservative media created, and which is now driving the Republican Party to insane right wing extremism. You are going to have to figure out if you can continue to support that.

  30. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    From what I heard on the radio news this morning, all of the GOP bigwigs who went on talking head shows were promising that the good feature of Trump not winning the first ballot was that the party was not going to need to nominate ANY of the current candidates. The nomination would be wide open.

    Who they are thinking of, I have no idea. But it doesn’t seem to be Cruz (or Kasich for that matter).

  31. MBunge says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: The nomination would be wide open.

    That’s technically true, but imagine how both Trump and Cruz supporters will react. Between the two of them, they’ll have won at least 80% of the vote. How do you nominate someone else and not cause a nationwide rebellion?

    Mike

  32. SteveGinGTO says:

    @stonetools:

    You are not the only one that’s picked up on that. A lot of us are just TIRED of GOP-think. And we have become very alert to it’s subtle ways, it seems.

    The problem for the establishment over there isn’t WHAT Trump says, but that he f-ing says it out loud.

    It’s like Romney and his 47% insult to half the USA – it wasn’t meant to be heard outside their safe houses. Everyone there was on board with the 47% comment.

    Trump blurts out those things and they CRINGE, not because he thinks that, but because he doesn’t know the dog whistle secret codes.

    NASTY and SNEAKY and VICIOUS people, and McConnell does it with such a calm demeanor. He is probably Kasich’s model.

  33. SteveGinGTO says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    I agree. That has been kind of obvious since they all hated Cruz and the money people were behind Bush and wanted to be behind Rubio, but they haven’t gotten behind Kasich.

    When it began to look even a LITTLE like Trump ,ight make it, they all got behind Cruz, instead, because he seemed most able to slow Trump down. But MEIN GOTT, do the not like Cruz.

    So they are USING Cruz and are going to throw him under the bus.

    IMHO, all of this was going to happen this year, even if Trump hadn’t showed up. It was going to be CRUZ. So Trump brought his own problems, but he also gave them the chance to not face the anti-Cruz thing in public. They will dump him in the brokering meetings – which are certainly not going to be done in public.

    I myself have been looking forward to it for MONTHS. I want to see them destroy their party, and I want it done as publicly as possible. I am enjoying this! It’s like watching a movie and seeing when the bad guy is cioing up to the moment he gets screwed or killed.

    GOP R.I.P.?

    I HOPE SO!!

  34. SteveGinGTO says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The GOP hasn’t had a competent candidate since Bush I. We might say Dole, but Dole was really weak.

    Incumbents don’t lose, without extraordinary circumstances.

    Hoover had the Great Depression.
    Carter had 15.5% inflation plus the Iran Hostage Crisis.
    Bush I had Perot who split the conservative vote. Perot gave Clinton the WH with 43% of the vote. That would normally have lost handily.

    Romney always acted to me like a compliant little boy, who needed to ask Mommy if he could go pee.

  35. Grewgills says:

    @SteveGinGTO:

    If he is within 15 or 20 Trump MIGHT be able to wheedle those – but not 50.

    Uncommitted delegates that were for
    Carson = 9
    Rubio = 171
    The rest = 7
    I think Trump can pull at least 50 out of that 187. Much more would be difficult, but in the neighborhood of 1/3 is certainly possible. If he can make a deal with Kasich before the convention, then he could easily make up a gap of over 100. Things are far from certain at this point.

  36. gVOR08 says:

    @SteveGinGTO: I think the Stop Trump guys agree with you and have written off this presidential election. They seem to think the choice is between Cruz, who will lose big time, or Trump, who will lose big time and destroy their party.

    I disagree, I think they’re a bunch of proto-fascists conservatives who will display in-group and hierarchical loyalty and line up behind Cruz, Trump, or the poor schmuck who gets drafted on the 203rd ballot in Cleveland. But that seem to be their thinking, that Cruz will do less damage down-ballot and to the Party.

  37. Mister Bluster says:

    Tennessee Waltz
    Trump backers: ‘There will be war’ over disputed delegates

    On Saturday Haynes said there were even “death threats” from Trump supporters in advance of the committee’s gathering. Leatherwood said one threat, which came over social media, “involved trying to hang people.”
    http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2016/04/02/trump-backers-confront-tennessee-gop-over-delegate-flap/82550024/

  38. SteveGinGTO says:

    @Grewgills:

    Perhaps…..

    But think about it:

    Kasich isn’t staying in the race to hand it to Trump. He is in it for himSELF.

    I’ve also read that Rubio has asked his delegates – which are NOT unpledged – to stay with him. Rubio wants in on the action, too.

    I don’t know who told you that Rubio’s are unpledged. I am sure that is not correct.

    Now, if the rules committee keeps the 8-win (MORE THAN 50% WIN!) rule, Rubio’s name cannot be put into nomination – and then neither can Kasich’s name.

    Hell, up to about Super Tuesday, I don’t think even TRUMP had any 50% wins! (I looked.) His highest early on was MA, with 49.8%.

    If Rubio’s name does not get put into nomination, they have rules for his delegates, and I DO think you are right there: They could be more or less free agents. But don’t bet on that. They may still be bound for that first ballot.

  39. SteveGinGTO says:

    @gVOR08:

    I don’t think I agree with you, but what you say is not implausible.

    I think they WILL do loyalty – but remember that Cruz has NO friends in the Senate where he works and he is TOTALLY Tea Party. The establishment hates THEM as much as they hate Trump.

    I do NOT believe that their loyalty extends to getting behind Cruz. That is the game they are playing right now, but I expect them to stab him in the back when the first ballot is over.

    Cruz is working HARD to align delegates. The party is also working them hard. Who will win that tug-of-war, with Trump in the middle of it all? The party is weakened immensely. Riebus acts as if he is in charge, but I wouldn’t bet on it. They may not have enough pull anymore to win this battle.

    In any event, whoever comes out with the nomination will be the nominee of a horrendously split and weakened party. That person will have zero chance in November. If that person doesn’t know that going in, that person is a FOOL. That person will be a sacrificial lamb and needs to know that and USE it for leverage.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @SteveGinGTO: I have seen stories that some rules committee members are talking about modifying the rule. I also am given to understand that the rule as-is doesn’t say quite what everyone thinks it does. Apparently if eight state delegations, prior to a vote, say a majority of their delegates will vote for Rubio, he then has support from eight states and his name goes on the convention ballot, even if he won zero primaries. Same would apply to Ryan, Romney, Little Jebbie!, or anyone else.

    A month ago I’d have said no way the Republicans will not nominate Trump if he gets close. I’m realizing more and more that there is no such thing as “the Republicans”. Or “brokers”. It’s either first ballot win or every man for himself and devil take the hindmost.

    Although I can’t rule out Trump offering Cruz, ‘Throw your support to me and I’ll name you VP and resign in February.’

  41. gVOR08 says:

    @SteveGinGTO: I’m with you. I don’t have confidence in anything with the Republicans this year. Except I’m sure anyone who’s been mentioned as a possible R nominee would be a bloody disaster if elected. And I would be eating up the schadenfreude if I didn’t feel like there’s going to be a lot of collateral damage from the GOP train wreck.

  42. SteveGinGTO says:

    @gVOR08:

    I just hope they don’t find a peacemaker before July.

    We can thank Newt Gingrich for inviting the crazies into the party of St Reagan.

    He thought he was pulling the slickest deal EVER. The GOP hadn’t controlled the Congress for more than 40 years – frankly because there aren’t enough rich people to vote for rich people issues. So he thought, well the evangelicals stand against liberal things, so why not make a deal with them to join us?

    Short term genius move, long term disaster for his party. He got several Congresses under their control.

    Let me run with that a second…

    Those many decades the GOP was a minority party i Congress they did a solid job of being a minority party. But when they became a majority party, they simply went wacko, letting it go to their heads. They didn’t understand that Congress needs to work WITH the Executive branch, in flexible ways. But they got it into their heads that they could now DICTATE everything.

    Back to my point…

    The GOP used those evangelicals to win elections, but then they didn’t even give them scraps from the table in terms of congressional effort. It was only a matter of time before the evangelicals woke up to being used and discarded. Many people in this primary season expressed anger at the GOP, saying, “We helped them over and over, and they never gave us anything back!” Quite true and surprising that it took them that long to realize it. But THEY DID. Hence, the Tea Party. And then the Tea Partiers seemed desitined to battle tooth and nail, to try to hijack the Republican Party.

    IMHO, that was going to happen THIS YEAR. Cruz was going to be the first real Tea Partier to go for the Presidency. THAT was going to be chaos, in and of itself.

    But then Cruz couldn’t step out of the crowd and left the opening for Trump and his reality show persona. The chaos is still happening, and Cruz, instead of leading the rebellion, is being used to stop the rebellion. Or so he thinks.

    So, the GOP got 15 years of dominance before the Tea Partiers woke up in 2009, and ever since it’s been hell to pay. And it’s not over. The establishment GOP will one day be separate from the Tea Party, but also out of power. And it will – I can only hope – return to the Democratic Party dominating the Congress again. The Tea Party may take a few western states and a Southern State or two. Which ones the GOP gets, I don’t know. But with the conservative vote split, it will hand ALL the purple states to the Dems, meaning the BLUE WALL will not be 242 electoral votes, but over 300. The GOP will be locked out of the WH for a VERY long time.

    And the Dems will win a 3-way for most Congressional seats, too.

    Personally, it’s not so much power to the Dems that I want. I want a functioning government. People who BELIEVE that government needs to function and DO stuff. And not be pawns of the 1%ers and corporations.

    I see that on the horizon. THIS year I see as being critical.

    I read today of a woman who said Hillary Clinton is THE woman that all women have been hoping would come along, and that Hillary would be the greatest President in history. I DO see that potential, too. Greatness comes from timing and opportunity, as well as the person. And Obama has set the table very well. We do need someone exceptional and strong to take us forward. That someone is not Sanders and it’s not anyone on the GOP side.

    Sorry this was a bit long….

  43. Grewgills says:

    @SteveGinGTO:

    Kasich isn’t staying in the race to hand it to Trump. He is in it for himSELF.

    He’s certainly in it for himself or he’d be out already. If he sees the writing on the wall before the convention that he won’t be the establishment pick, ie if Ryan or some other dark horse emerges as their choice, I could see him withdrawing and throwing his support behind Trump for a VP slot.
    I don’t think he’ll have enough delegates to throw it to Cruz and I don’t see Cruz going for anything less than the top spot at this point.

  44. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @MBunge: Not my problem, I only reported what I heard.
    Don’t much care, either–GOP going up in flames? pass the popcorn and tap me a beer.

  45. robz says:

    According to the 1992 exit polls concerning voters second choices, 38% of Perot voters said if Perot wasn’t running, they’d have voted for Bush. The same percentage said they’d have voted for Clinton.

    24% said that if Perot hadn’t run, they wouldn’t have voted at all.

    http://www.pollingreport.com/hibbitts1202.htm

  46. gVOR08 says:

    @SteveGinGTO: Obama has indeed set the table. And he’s played a long game. We need continuity to follow through, which she’s better positioned than anyone else to provide. But in the long judgement of history, I think it’s going to be hard to look great in his shadow. (Barring a major war, which seems, sadly, to be the thing that generally defines “great” presidents.) However, she may get credit for stuff that reaches fruition in her terms, rapprochement with Iran perhaps. Or a climate change deal. But historically it’s tough to hold the WH for four straight terms.

  47. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: I do agree with those who say we’re saying the splitting up of the Republican party.

    Someone, however, is going to have to grasp the nettle and figure out how to put together an economy where automation and robotics are getting rid of more and more “stuff that needs to be done by humans.” The CEOs and the business class seem to think that they can skim more and more off towards the top and leave less and less for those on the bottom. And for those they yank jobs away from because production costs are less in Mexico? Oh, standard operating loss.

    Anyone who thinks you can have a functioning society when a high percentage of people are in the underclass/not working/considered useless has to be smoking something. At some point it won’t work, and you’ll have a revolution. In our case, with a lot of firepower, because Second Amendment.

    There are enough people out there who are enraged at having done all the things they were supposed to do in life and STILL not succeeding that if I were a rich guy I’d be really worried about it. At the moment, they’re following Trump—how angry do you think they’re going to get when they discover that he’s just one of the crowd that’s used them and couldn’t care less?

  48. SteveGinGTO says:

    @Grewgills:

    “I don’t think he’ll have enough delegates to throw it to Cruz and I don’t see Cruz going for anything less than the top spot at this point.”

    I agree. Trump does not have 50%, yet Cruz plus anyone else except Rubio cannot approach 50%.

    Cruz’s ego would never accept anything but top spot. Cruz thinks he is the smartest bimbo in the chorus line, and he’s been angling and looking to play the technicalities.

    Cruz might be able to steal it on those technicalities, against the wishes of the bigwigs, but I don’t think he is very close to achieving such a coup. But he THINKS that is it within reach.

    So, this is probably very Shakespearean, with all sorts of intrigues and twists. ALL FOR NOTHING, because Hillary is going to beat the living bejeezus out of whomever wins the right to be the sacrificial lamb.

    It is SO far out of the control of the bigwigs… ROFL

  49. SteveGinGTO says:

    @robz:

    Robz – THANKS for that.

    I guess you are right. WOW!

  50. SteveGinGTO says:

    @gVOR08:

    I’ve mentioned The Blue Wall, but let me elaborate…

    18 states that have 242 electoral votes have voted Democrat in SIX consecutive elections. With 270 electoral votes winning, the Dem only needs to take 28 additional electoral votes to win.

    The Red Wall is only 102 electoral votes. To win, they need to take 168 out of the unclaimed 194 – 86.6%.

    In four of those six elections, the Dem won. One was stolen by the Supreme Court, and the other was the incumbent Dubya. Had the SCOTUS not stepped in, Gore would have won in 2000 and probably have been re-elected in 2004.

    So, in some sense the Dems won 6 straight. Or should have.

    There seems to be no reason that the Blue Wall will not hold again. In fact, unless the GOP does something new, there does not seem to be any reason that the Blue Wall won’t hold for the foreseeable future.

    In terms of the Supreme Court, this is terrifically important. The Dems may end up appointing all nine Justices. Even naming the next 3 or 4 will change the court for a generation. This will have YUGE effect on the direction of the law.

  51. SteveGinGTO says:

    @gVOR08:

    BTW, I’d heard that story about the 8 delegates. When I heard it, it was presented as speculation. I wonder if by the time it got to you someone had got it wrong.

    I am not saying I have the story right, but that’s what I recall.

    There is a LOT of speculation going on nowadays.

    I DO know this: The rules committee meets before the start of the convention and can change ANY rule they want to. It is CERTAIN that the 8-state requirement is getting tossed. It is a stupid rule, anyway, written just to exclude Rand Paul or his dad – I think his dad. That I read somewhere…

  52. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Anyone who thinks you can have a functioning society when a high percentage of people are in the underclass/not working/considered useless has to be smoking something.

    It’s been a while since I read Player Piano.

    Oddly enough, this is an area where I do blame the Obama administration for both getting it wrong and backing down on a campaign promise. It falls under the heading of ‘education’, but it’s really about life preparation and labor productivity.

    In the Bad Old Days, if you were not disabled and were willing to work hard, you could generally support yourself (and maybe even a family) digging ditches, washing clothes, mopping floors, shining shoes, serving in someone’s home. It sucked, but you didn’t starve.

    In the post-WW2 boom, there were more jobs than people to fill them. Better yet, educational opportunities meant that the kids of those janitors and laundresses could get jobs in retail, or factories, or maybe even a trade. Great-grandpa had been a farmer; grandpa was a day laborer; dad was a carpenter; junior was a construction foreman. Of course, women and minorities were still not really welcome.

    Today, we keep preaching that education thing, but it’s simply not true that there is a job waiting for everyone we push through to a college degree. We would serve people much better — especially minorities and the poor — by pushing them to the traditional stepping-stone of a skilled trade. We need more plumbers, cable TV installers, rug cleaners, pipe-fitters, electricians, practical nurses, HVAC technicians, etc. than ever before — and you ain’t gonna learn how in college, even if you’re ready for college. Let’s stop pretending college is a magic success bullet, and start putting people on paths where they might actually be able to succeed.

  53. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: While I agree with you about the virtues of “skilled trades,” I’m a little put off at the idea of these employments being the provence of “minorities and the poor.” I would also note that the area in which I live has Craig’s List ads for journey level trades paying “$10/hr if you have your own tools,” an apartment vacancy rate of 0.9% (with replacement at 3%), and I just looked at a “lovely Craftsman 2-bedroom house” selling for over half a million in what we used to call a working-class neighborhood. It’s going to take a little more than pushing people toward skilled trades to tip the balance here.

  54. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: The only thing I can think is push fashion and whatever so that it become de rigeur for the upper-middle and upper class to have servants, to take care of them after they can’t work any more, and everyone has to wear Victorian clothes with all the frills and handiwork.

    Damn. Reinvented feudalism again…

  55. DrDaveT says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    While I agree with you about the virtues of “skilled trades,” I’m a little put off at the idea of these employments being the provence of “minorities and the poor.”

    That’s not quite what I said. Let me be more clear.

    It is unreasonable to expect the children of single welfare parents to become doctors or lawyers or economists or engineers. Too much of the necessary preparation for those professions has nothing to do with intelligence, and everything to do with growing up in an environment that nurtures intellect for its own sake.

    It’s not that the trades are “the province of minorities and the poor” — it’s that the trades are accessible to minorities and the poor, as a stepping-stone to a middle class status that will enable their kids to become doctors or lawyers or economists or engineers or MBAs or what have you. (Probably not physicists or mathematicians or philosophers; that’s another generation away.)

    Like it or not, kids from crappy backgrounds are (with a few stunning exceptions) simply not ready to take advantage of a college education, with the possible exception of degrees in Education.

    There’s a custom furniture store near me that does fabulous (and pricey) work. Most of the skilled labor are minorities. Their kids will have a much better chance at mainstream success than they would have had if their fathers had tried to go the college degree route. Apprenticeship is, by far, the most proven technique for turning random kids with no prospects into professionals with steady livings.

  56. SteveGinGTO says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Well, that makes me an exception, to some degree – by your expectations.

    I came from an inner city, mixed family, half on and half off welfare in the 1950s. My father had a mule-type job with the railroad and never made $3.00/hr in his life. I became an undegreed engineer – in the days a degree wasn’t 100% necessary, and ended up V.P. of Engineering eventually. I include in my interests philosophy, poetry, physics, geology, and astronomy. I rarely found a design engineer who was any more proficient than I was. Most weren’t. And the funny thing was that I had no ambition to do any of it. It just came my way.

    I was never not the smartest kid in the classroom, but rejected college as too institutional. Mind-numbingly dull.

  57. DrDaveT says:

    @SteveGinGTO:

    Well, that makes me an exception, to some degree

    Yes and no. You didn’t go to college and get a college degree — there was a career path that didn’t require that, and you took it. Those paths are vanishing.

    I’m very much not claiming that kids from underprivileged backgrounds can’t appreciate poetry, music, philosophy, etc. I’m claiming that they have a very hard time succeeding at the stylized game called college — and your case seems to align with that.

    My own mother is a great counterexample — poor working class midwestern family, on and off welfare after grandpa became completely disabled, etc. Not the grimmest upbringing in the world by a long shot, but definitely not privileged. She became a teacher, married a sensitive egghead kid from her home town, and got out of Dodge. She’s the one who taught me to love poetry. WIthout the egghead husband, though, she’d probably still be living in that same town on a tiny teacher’s pension.