A couple of weeks ago I posted on how the GOP Establishment is coming to the fifth stage of the political version of the Kübler-Ross model of grief: acceptance of a Trump candidacy. In it I quoted Erick Erickson from his The Resurgent website:
I just got today’s Hotline from National Journal. It is behind a pay wall, but it is worth noting their top story confirms what I have been seeing and hearing. Josh Kraushaar writes,
It’s the $64,000 question for establishment-minded Republicans: Would they rather see Ted Cruz or Donald Trump win the Iowa caucuses, assuming none of the more moderate candidates prevail?
In an informal survey of senior GOP strategists, the clear winner was Trump. Their arguments were reasoned but underscored: a) how they’re still underestimating Trump; and b) how much they personally hate Cruz to the point where emotion is trumping strategy.
The Establishment thinking is that if Trump beats Cruz in Iowa, they can then beat Trump with Rubio, Bush, or Christie.
And this tweet from the public face of the GOP consultant class, John Feehrey:
Listen, if Trump gets the nomination, I will support him. Cruz? Not so much.
— John Feehery (@JohnFeehery) January 7, 2016
Now we have more coming, again, by way of Erick Erickson at The Resurgent (by the way, it this is not a daily stop for you, you are missing the boat.)
In that article, Erick quotes from a National Review article on the House GOP legislative strategy retreat:
The developing feeling among House Republicans? Donald Trump is preferable to Ted Cruz.
“If you look at Trump’s actual policies, they’re pretty thin. There’s not a lot of meat there,” says one Republican member in Ryan’s inner circle, who requested anonymity to speak frankly about the two front-runners as leadership has carefully avoided doing all week. If Trump were to get the nomination, he would “be looking to answer the question: ‘Where’s the beef?’ And we will have that for him,” says the member.
The member says he believes that, when it comes down to it, “almost all of the candidates would subscribe to” the conservative agenda he and the rest of leadership are hoping to advance.
Except, that is, for Cruz.
“Look at the Senate. He hasn’t been a team player. He’s always been his own person with his own aspirations and his own vision, only concerned with where he wants to go. And, you know, for us, we want to work closely with the president. And with Cruz, there’s a question of whether that could happen.”
In my post, I made this observation on why a Trump candidacy doesn’t generate fear in the GOP Establishment the way it does among grass roots conservatives who know Trump does not have a conservative bone in his body or impulse in his soul:
The secondary reason is that their objection to Trump is not based on anything that Trump stands for… to the extent we can presume to know what that may be… but rather on aesthetics. Trump is in their social circle. They go to the same parties. They play golf together. They belong to the same clubs and are on the boards of the same philanthropies. Trump is quintessential establishment. What they don’t like is his public (I say public because I’ve never met Trump and certainly never been around him in a private setting) persona. They don’t like his populism. They don’t like his seeking the adoration of the mob rather than ruling the mob. But, push come to shove, he is one of them, they are convinced they can deal with him because he really doesn’t have any guiding principles above self-interest. In other words, they are Trump but with better public manners.
Cruz, on the other hand, represents something they have never had to deal with: a man who actually believes what he is campaigning on.
And, I suspect, that a lot of the Rubio voters and a lot of the Bush-Kasich-Christie voters will go the same direction. Some because their conservatism is more linked to style than to principle and one show pony is pretty much the same as another even if the breeds are a bit different. Some will go to Trump for the same reason that the anonymous House GOP member (who is probably named Peter King) said, Trump is less likely to upset the apple cart and turn off the feeding system for the trough.
What we know for certain is that the GOP is terminally fractured. If Ted Cruz is nominated we can bet that the GOP Establishment will react to him the way they reacted to Chris McDaniel and Milton Wolf. The will do whatever they have to do to stop him and in the end they will see a corrupt Hillary Clinton as a better choice than Ted Cruz.