“People think we’re not going to win in November anymore. All the candidates that had a shot at winning don’t appear to have a shot at winning the nomination. Everyone is resigned to that,” said a high-ranking GOP operative about the thinking among Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio alums as well as Republican party officials and big-money donors.
“People think we lose with Cruz, but we don’t lose everything,” said the operative, who opposes Trump and asked to speak anonymously. “He’s still a real Republican. We don’t lose the House and Senate with Cruz. We don’t lose our soul as a party and we can recover in four years and I’m not sure people think we can recover from Donald Trump.”
Said one high-level operative inside the Koch network: “He’s the devil you know.”
Indeed, many establishment Republicans would rather lose with Cruz and play a long 2020 game than risk having their party and conservative principles hijacked by Trump—a candidate they do not trust even as they recognize his political dexterity and the possibility that he could be just cagey enough to win on Election Day.
If Republicans are just going to give up on winning the presidency, that’s certainly fine with me! And given a decade of extreme gerrymandering, they probably do hold on to the House. It’s looking increasingly likely that Democrats might well take the Senate. But to rely on Ted Cruz to hold your party together? Really? And what is supposed to happen between now and 2020 within the Republican base that is going to make Scott Walker or Marco Rubio palatable to them or competent enough to win? None of this is at laid out.
The idea that Ted Cruz can unite the party is amazing. I’m sure his hatred of undocumented immigrants and plans to cordon off Muslim neighborhoods (which in this nation is what, a few areas of Dearborn?) will really prove to the nation’s voters that Republican senators are to be trusted with governance! Ted Cruz, Party Uniter!