The Republican establishment is going through the stages of political death. As Donald Trump continues to gain momentum, denial that he will likely be the presidential nominee no longer works. So now it’s onto bargaining, with the party praying for a brokered convention at which they can stop Trump.
Of course, there are a few problems with the latest straw the party is grasping at. For one thing, the party would have to change the rules to stack the deck against Trump, guaranteeing a revolt the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Democratic convention in 1968. Plus, television cameras would be following every minute of the battle, creating a lethal spectacle redolent of The Hunger Games.
With typical rhetorical restraint, Trump has said that if he is close to the requisite delegates to win the nomination outright and is denied the nomination, “I think you’d have riots.” Based on the way his supporters behave at his rallies, there’s no reason to doubt the prediction.
Except, of course, Trump can easily find a way around the brokered convention. Between them, Trump and Ted Cruz will have way more than a majority of votes to control the convention. And the easiest way to do that would be to announce a Trump-Cruz ticket.
Cruz and Trump dominated once again yesterday in another round of primaries. So once you get past the visceral reaction of America’s biggest blowhard and America’s creepiest Senator joining forces, you have to admit that it makes a lot of sense.
Here are seven reasons why it could come to pass…
1.If they don’t act, they both lose
Both Trump and Cruz stand to lose at a brokered convention. The GOP elite hate Cruz only slightly less than they hate Trump. Neither would be the nominee, and they both know it. They need to get in front of the party before it has a chance to act.
2. It’s a great drop-dead to the establishment
By combining forces in a deal, Trump and Cruz could strike the final blow against the party elite, which they both despise.
3. Trump’s and Cruz’s supporters are cut from the same cloth
Each candidate’s supporters would likely be happy with the arrangement, since both groups are animated by the same anti-establishment sentiment.
4. It makes political sense
Conventional political wisdom hardly applies in this election cycle, but to the extent it does, a Trump-Cruz ticket follows the rules. It’s a geographically balanced ticket. It features a vice-presidential candidate who is well tested on the national stage.
5. It burnishes Trump’s reputation as a master deal-maker
Trump loves to think of himself as the greatest wheeler-dealer ever. This would actually be one of the few times when his dealing would live up to his hype.
6. Cruz may be the only choice Trump has got
Trump hasn’t exactly had Republican leaders falling all over him in awe. But Cruz has been generally respectful of Trump, and though Trump likes to call Cruz “Lying Ted,” he has been pretty respectful for Trump. Really, who else can Trump turn to?
7. Cruz would want to position himself for 2020
Assuming Trump loses, Cruz automatically emerges as one of the leaders for the 2020 presidential race, satisfying his long-term ambition. Not being at the top of a losing ticket will allow Cruz to pretend that his presence had nothing to do with the loss.
Now Trump could win enough delegates outright not to make the whole scenario moot. But why should Mitt Romney and his pals think that Trump would sit back and let the party roll over him? Unless, of course, they are delusional.
Or haven’t come to accepting the inevitable: that the party is terminal.