Will A Brokered Republican Convention Lead To Bloodshed In Cleveland?
Don't say Herr Trumpf didn't warn you. In a rare moment of self-awareness, he described himself to a bunch of entertainment-starved hicks in Iowa as a "very greedy person... Now, I’ll tell you, I’m good at that-- so, you know, I’ve always taken in money. I like money. I’m very greedy. I’m a greedy person. I shouldn’t tell you that, I’m a greedy-- I’ve always been greedy. I love money, right?" Cruz wanted to make sure South Carolina voters knew about it too... so he put out a new ad this week, emphasizing that particular aspect of the Trumpfian personality disorder:
Sahil Kapur, reporting for Bloomberg, reiterated the Establishment still has no real plan to stop Herr. Their acceptable candidates keep savaging each other-- demanding the others drop out-- while Trumpf and Cruz waltz around the field basically unmolested.
Not only did the billionaire's 20-point blowout in the New Hampshire primary fail to cull the field enough to present a clear mainstream alternative, the three remaining establishment candidates-- U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor-- spent Wednesday going after one another, as they have throughout the nomination fight.The Kochs would be OK with that but many Establishmentarians feel Cruz is as bad-- if not worse-- than Trumpf.
“Enormous pressure is on the establishment wing to consolidate around one candidate soon or else it will hand the Republican nomination over to Trump,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist and former senior congressional aide.
They're running out of time. With plenty of campaign cash to spare, Trump is pushing the kind of America-first message that resonates in South Carolina, a state that flew the Confederate flag on its Capitol's grounds until last year. The primaries beyond are just as southern and just as friendly to Trump's message. And he remains an extremely difficult candidate to beat in a war of words and media attention.
“As long as there's five of six people running, I think Donald benefits from that, no doubt about it,” Rubio said Wednesday on CNN.
The anxiety has grown more palpable as Trump has shattered predictions that his crowds and poll numbers wouldn't translate at the ballot box.
“Donald Trump has proven he can turn his rally-goers into voters, and now it’s time for his challengers to prove they’re capable of taking the steering wheel away from him,” said Rory Cooper, a Republican operative and former House leadership aide.
The GOP's best hope of stopping Trump may be Ted Cruz. The Texas senator has amassed a devoted following of Tea Party conservatives and evangelical Christians, a war chest worth $19 million at year's end, and an enviable ground game that led him to an unexpected victory over Trump in Iowa and a respectable third place finish in New Hampshire.
While Cruz and Trumpf sniped at each other, the establishment candidates kept attacking each other viciously and Rubio stopped sucking his thumb long enough to crack a tooth on a candy bar. Thursday, the poor little robot told reporters he was chomping on a Twix bar when he cracked a molar. He rushed to a dentist and temporary resin filler. But what he's hoping for now is a broken GOP convention-- deadlocked/brokered, knowing it's the only possible way he's going to be the GOP nominee. Except it won't be, because there's no way the Elders of Right-wingism reject #1 (Herr) and #2 (Cruz) to go to #3 (him)... and they'd much rather have Ryan, the fake budget expert than Rubio, the fake foreign policy expert.
His campaign manager told the media that Rubio's disastrous 5th place finish in New Hampshire will extend the primary season into May, at the earliest, exactly what the Establishment wanted him to guarantee them wouldn't happen.As we saw last week, the Kochs say they'll back him if he eliminates Trumpf, who they detest. And Rubio-- petrified that Trumpf will yell at him-- is now trying to psych himself up for a showdown.
As he shifts his attention to South Carolina's Feb. 20 contest, the 44-year-old freshman senator wants voters to know he's learned an important lesson from his experience in New Hampshire. Instead of trying to avoid attacking his GOP rivals on the debate stage, Rubio said he's now prepared to fight back when necessary-- particularly with his party's front-runner Donald Trump.
"I don't need to start these fights, but if someone starts one in the future we're going to have to point out the differences in our records in a sharper way," Rubio said. "I don't think we have the luxury any longer to basically say 'Look, I don't want to argue with Republicans.'"
Apparently, Ted Cruz and his team came to the same conclusion. This new ad released in South Carolina today speaks right to the audience Herr Trumpf has been reaching. Maybe it will be effective where the others have just fallen on deaf ears: