I think I’m starting to get it now.
Up to now, I couldn’t figure out why Lindsey Graham and other mainstreamers such as Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney were backing Ted Cruz, when we know:
- They can’t stand Cruz.
- They think he’d be a horrible president.
- They have every reason to believe he will lose to Hillary Clinton (as would Trump).
- They have nothing against John Kasich and to varying degrees probably believe he’d be a good president.
- They know Kasich would likely beat Hillary Clinton, according to all the polls.
I couldn’t figure it out until I read this observation in a couple of places over the last day or two:
Graham admits that Ohio Governor John Kasich “would be the best nominee, but he doesn’t have a chance.” So he tries to talk up Cruz as the one candidate who might be able to slow Trump’s march to the nomination…
Let’s unpack that statement that Kasich “would be the best nominee, but he doesn’t have a chance.”
He doesn’t mean Kasich doesn’t have a chance in the fall. He’s the one Republican still running who does consistently win a matchup with Hillary. In fact, if Republicans actually want to do what parties are supposed to exist to do — win elections — no one would waste a second talking about doing anything but nominating Kasich.
But while Graham knows he can count on the American people (sorry, Barton) to choose Kasich, he’s convinced that his own party will never do so.
Are you following me? Here we have a situation in which one of the smartest Republicans holding elective office has made the calculation that the best candidate, and the one who would lead the party to victory, has no chance of being nominated by his party.
That’s what “he doesn’t have a chance” means. Not that Kasich wouldn’t win the election in a walk, but that the Republican Party is so royally fouled up that it won’t nominate him, under any circumstances. No matter how urgently or fervently Graham and other rational people might advocate for him.
It’s so hopeless that they won’t even TRY. They’re resigned to failure because of their lack of confidence in their fellow Republicans. Defeat in November is a given. In fact, they’re counting on it, to save the country. They just believe the defeat will be less ignominious if Cruz is their nominee rather than Trump. They think there will be some pieces left to pick up this way.
They think that with Cruz, there’ll be something still to preserve from this Götterdämmerung.
I believe that is the saddest commentary on the Republican Party I’ve ever read in my life.