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There can be no greater endorsement of someone who poses a real threat to the Washington establishment than this story from CNN: The Ted Cruz pile on: GOP senators warn of revolt should he win nomination.

Republican Party leaders and prominent senators are sharpening their knives against Ted Cruz, expressing growing alarm over his candidacy as he continues to mount a serious threat in Iowa.

In interviews with CNN, a growing number of Republicans are beginning to echo remarks made by the likes of former Sen. Bob Dole and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, warning that the party would suffer deep losses down the ticket and risk electing a Democratic president if the Texas senator wins the nomination.

"I think we'll lose if he's our nominee," said Orrin Hatch, the most senior Republican in the Senate.

"There's a lot of people who don't feel he can appeal to people across the board," Hatch said. "For us to win, we have to appeal to the moderates and independents. We can't just act like that only one point of view is the only way to go. That's where Ted is going to have some trouble."

It's not just Jeb Bush supporters like Hatch who are speaking out more aggressively. A large number of GOP senators say Cruz's divisive tactics, which have included describing his colleagues as part of a corrupt "Washington cartel," will make it hard --- if not impossible --- to get behind him if he's the nominee.

Who is quoted beside Orrin Hatch? Dan Coats. Shelly Moore Capito. John Cornyn. Lindsey Graham. John McCain.

Their talking point is the same: that the party will suffer in down ballot races if Cruz is the nominee. This is patent bullsh**. The polls show him and Rubio as the strongest against Hillary Clinton -- they are the only two candidates that beat her head-to-head. The polls also show he is the most popular candidate in the GOP races if you add totals of first and second choice as candidate.

Their dislike of Cruz is simply personal. They expected him to arrive in the Senate as an empty receptacle into which they could pour their Failure Theater and stupidity. Instead, they found that Texas has actually elected a man who believed what his constituents did and took seriously his duty to represent them.

While Donald Trump is a member of the establishment, our self-anointed ruling class, and the establishment is warming to his candidacy, the same is not true for Ted Cruz.

Indeed, some in the party establishment do believe that Trump would have cross-over appeal, despite his incendiary comments.

"I've come around a little bit on Trump," Hatch said Thursday. "I'm not so sure we'd lose if he's our nominee because he's appealing to people who a lot of the Republican candidates have not appealed to in the past."

The establishment reacts to him like the Devil to Holy Water. He is the clear anti-establishment choice in this race.