While Donald Trump’s passionate support base – and has-been political insiders like Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Chris Christie -- insist that Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is an establishment cuck in thrall to the elites, the evidence shows precisely the opposite: Trump is a political insider who will cut awful deals with Democrats and provide establishment Republicans with a four-year back rub. All the insiders know it. And they’re laughing openly at the rubes who buy their “Cruz is the establishment” brand of bull.
Here are five pieces of evidence from the last 24 hours:
John Boehner Backs Trump, Hates Cruz. Ultimate establishment Republican former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) was so disliked by the conservative wing of his own party that he took retirement rather than being ousted internally from his position as speaker. Now he’s spoken out about Cruz and Trump. Here’s consummate insider Boehner on Cruz: “Lucifer in the flesh…I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” Here’s Boehner on Trump: “texting buddies.” By the way, Boehner says he’d vote for Trump over Hillary, but he wouldn’t vote for Cruz over Hillary. Orange people gotta stick together, apparently.
Trump Defends Mitch McConnell Against Cruz. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has cut deals with President Obama on everything from funding for Obamacare to funding on executive amnesty. He’s one of the least popular Republican figures in America among the Republican base. Cruz called him a “liar” on the floor of the Senate. Yesterday, Trump ripped Cruz for doing that: Cruz, said Trump called “the top man, who’s actually a good guy, Mitch McConnell, a liar. You don’t do things like that!” This is not the first time Trump has defended McConnell from Cruz. Remember, Trump has called Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeb! Bush, and everyone else who has ever opposed him a liar.
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) Is Praising Him. After Trump gave a wildly incoherent but relatively subdued – for him – speech about foreign policy yesterday, plaudits began arriving from establishment figures including Senator Corker (“a very good foreign policy speech”). Corker, of course, is the delightful fellow who came up with a plan to enshrine President Obama’s Iran deal as law without a Senate treaty vote.
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) Is Backing Him. On Wednesday, Cornyn – again, as establishment a Republican as you will ever see – said of Trump, “I think he could change the electoral map in ways we haven’t seen before. This disrupts the usual Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal paradigm, and I think we don’t know how this will all play out. I think it will be OK. You don’t need to despair.” Well, not if you’re not a conservative, at least.
CBS Endorses “Moderate” Trump. Here’s CBS News’ Will Rahn on Trump’s candidacy:
Trump also has one main advantage, which is that he’d be probably the most moderate nominee in decades. Now, Trump is not normally what we think of when we think of moderates – “reactionary moderate” is perhaps the best term to describe him. But border walls and Muslim bans aside, Trump really most closely resembles an old-school northeastern centrist Republican. Trump likes the welfare state. He’s made protecting entitlements central to his pitch. It’s safe to say that he’s likely, at heart, socially liberal — the story of how he became anti-abortion, for example, doesn’t make a great deal of sense.
This is obviously true. But shhh! Don’t tell the Trumpkins, who insist Trump will break apart the traditional Washington power structure.
Trump’s politics are establishment. The establishment has been perturbed by his incapacity to control his id, but that’s about all they dislike about the man. They agree with him on policy, they know they can work with him, and they believe that he’ll enrich them and empower them so long as they properly worship at his altar.
And Trump’s supposedly anti-establishment are being taken for a ride.