The Evidence Piles Up: Yes, The Establishment Wants Trump Over Cruz


As usual, dear readers, I am right.

Earlier this week, I wrote:

[T]he establishment would prefer Trump. They’ve been holding out, of course. They’ve been complaining endlessly about Trump’s candidacy, because he has been holding back some of their favored nominee possibilities. But if given the choice between Trump and Cruz, they’d pick Trump.

Now the evidence is piling up. Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com today:

[T]he party isn’t doing much to stop Trump. Instead, it’s making such an effort against Cruz.

The New York Times:

[T]he cadre of Republican lobbyists, operatives and elected officials based in Washington are much more unnerved by Mr. Cruz, a go-it-alone, hard-right crusader who campaigns against the political establishment and could curtail their influence and access, building his own Republican machine to essentially replace them.

The Washington Post:

[T]he Republican Party establishment and its elders would pick President Trump over President Cruz if push came to shove.

Fox News:

Fox News First asked 10 Republicans on K Street, Capitol Hill and political shops which would be a better choice for the party, not accepting “neither” as an answer. The participants included the former chief strategist for a Republican presidential candidate, a top messaging guru, a veteran pollster, a senior House leadership aide, a retired member of Congress turned lobbyist and a leading business advocate on K Street, as well as other current and former GOP campaign operatives.

The split was seven for Trump and three for Cruz. While hardly scientific, it reflects a growing sense in conversations around Washington that Trump is the better bad option for the party.

And then there are the politicians. Iowa ethanol boondoggle Governor Terry Branstad. Establishment icon Bob Dole. Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) said he’d vote for Bernie Sanders over Cruz. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) explained that Cruz will lose, but he’s “coming around” on Trump. Senator Dan Coates (R-IN) said “It would be a major challenge” to get behind Cruz “because of the wounds that are deep.” Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) explained, “Ted Cruz has burned some bridges with some fellow senators.” Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said “I think people are concerned” about a Cruz nomination. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) opposes Cruz, too. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that picking Cruz or Trump would be like choosing death “by being shot or poisoning.” Remember, Graham labeled Trump “all-over-the-board crazy” two days ago.

Yes, the establishment wants Trump. They’re lining up for him as Jeb! fades and takes Marco Rubio down with him. That’s because they can work with Trump. They can’t with Cruz.

That’s a pretty strong case for Cruz.

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