Maybe it’s not inevitable, but is sure looks like it from here.
In case you’re just coming out of a coma, Donald Trump thrashed his opponents for the Republican presidential nomination in last night’s primary, winning seven states while Ted Cruz won three and Marco Rubio won one. Of course, there are a lot more primaries to take place, but the trend seems clear. The losing camps like to point out that Trump really is getting only about 35% of the votes, indicating that leaves about 65% of Republicans against him.
The problem with that is none of his opponents plan on dropping out soon and it is unclear if any of them does, where their votes would go. For example, the camps of Cruz and Rubio are far from close, so if Cruz would drop out a lot of his votes would go to Trump. At the moment the path to the nomination now looks like a red carpet for the Donald.
Except that prominent figures in that vague collection called the “Republican establishment” seem willing to try anything to sabotage a man who at times seems more liberal than conservative, has no real plans for anything and is outrageously crass whenever he feels like it. In short they cannot stomach the thought of Trump being the current personification of “the party of Lincoln and Reagan.”
The specter of a Trump nomination has driven Senator Lindsey Graham to admit with clinched teeth that he would even prefer Ted Cruz to Donald Trump. That’s quite a statement from a guy who has joked that if Cruz was murdered on the senate floor, no one would be found guilty. If you don’t get the joke, he was suggesting how disliked Cruz is by his fellow Senators, probably so since he does not have even one endorsement from them.
Things are so bad that I see various noteworthy Republicans state they won’t vote for Trump if he’s nominated, and hear much talk of plans to prevent his getting the necessary 1237 votes to win the nomination outright. While none of the others appears capable of beating him, together they may well get enough votes to leave the matter unsettled until the convention in Cleveland in July.
Hence, a floor fight or perhaps more accurately, a gang cage match.
What might happen there boggles the mind. Except it cannot be good for the Republican party. It is hard to imagine a majority of delegates rallying around either Cruz or Rubio, which might leave Ohio governor Kasich as the default choice. Being a popular governor of the state and having a positive campaign not really attacking the others he wouldn’t be a bad candidate – actually a good one in normal times – but the Trump fans are close to a religion at this point, zealots for change no matter what, and if Trump is “robbed” of the nomination, no way they’ll vote same ‘ol, same ‘ol Republican if they vote at all.
The image of Humpty Dumpty comes to mind.