* * *
After winning only six delegates in Wisconsin, and with Ted Cruz poaching delegates in states he has won, like Louisiana, Donald Trump either wins on the first ballot at Cleveland, or Trump does not win.
* ACTUALLY... WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO PAT... I'M NOT SURE HE'S RIGHT. OH... SURE... I'D RATHER TRUMP GET THE 1,237, BUT IF HE DOESN'T ON THE FIRST BALLOT HE'S NOT NECESSARILY OUT. FAR TOO MANY VARIABLES AND SCENARIOS. ANYWAY... JUST TRYING TO CHEER UP YOU TRUMP FOLKS! (MY FELLOW TRUMP FOLKS, THAT IS!)
Yet, as that huge, roaring reception he received in his first post-Wisconsin appearance in Bethpage, N.Y., testifies, the Donald remains not only the front-runner, but the most exciting figure in the race.
Moreover, after the New York, New England, mid-Atlantic and California primaries, Trump should be within striking distance of the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.
He will then have to persuade uncommitted delegates to back him, and perhaps do a deal with one of the defeated candidates, Marco Rubio or John Kasich, to win the remaining few needed to go over the top.
* WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT WITH SOAP, PAT BUCHANAN! BOTH RUBIO AND KASICH ARE SCUM! I FEAR PICKING ONE OF THEM TO RUN AS HIS VP WOULD BE THE KISS OF DEATH TO A TRUMP-LED TICKET.
In 1976, Ronald Reagan, shy of the delegates he needed to defeat President Ford, offered second place on his ticket to Sen. Richard Schweiker, a moderate from Pennsylvania. This brainstorm of Reagan campaign manager John Sears did not produce the required delegates, and Reagan received an envelope from a conservative Congressman with 30 dimes in it — 30 pieces of silver. Still, Reagan was right to roll the dice.
* WELL... COULD SCHWEIKER REALLY HAVE BEEN WORSE THAN BUSH? (FOR AS WE FOUND OUT... BUSH WAS PRETTY FRIGGIN' BAD...)
But assume Trump reaches 1,237 on the first ballot. Would the GOP establishment accept his leadership, back his ticket, and help to bring together all the elements — nationalist, Tea Party, conservative and moderate — of a grand coalition to defeat Hillary Clinton?
* THEY'D HAVE TO! THEY'D HAVE NO CHOICE!
Or would the Establishment refuse to endorse Trump, ensure his defeat, and hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered party, as Govs. Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney assumed they would do after they deserted Barry Goldwater in 1964.
* NOPE. THEY WOULDN'T. AND THAT'S THAT.
Prediction: If the GOP establishment does collude to steal the nomination from the candidate who has won the most states, most delegates and most votes, not only could the party be crushed in November, but that Establishment could be discredited in perpetuity.
* FRANKLY... I WOULD PREDICT ASSASSINATIONS. DEFINITELY VIOLENCE WOULD BREAK OUT - MASSIVE CIVIL DISORDER. THERE'S ONLY SO FAR YOU CAN PUSH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE... THOSE WHO REMAIN TRUE AMERICANS, THAT IS.
For those who have come out for Trump, and have given the GOP the largest turnouts of any party in a primary season in history, will not be give their allegiance to a Beltway elite that cheated them of the prize they had won. Sullen and angry, they will be going home, not soon to return.
* NO. AGAIN... VIOLENCE WOULD BE THE INEVITABLE RESULT. AND IN THE AGE OF THE INTERNET NO DELEGATE WHO BETRAYS "WE THE PEOPLE" WILL BE SAFE. THEY JUST... WOULDN'T DARE STEAL THE NOMINATION.
An Establishment embrace of a rule-or-ruin course — Better to lose, than win with Trump! — seems irrational. But it is not irrational if one’s preeminence and position are the summum bonum of one’s political existence.
* NO. IT'S NOT "IRRATIONAL." EXCEPT... IF ONE VALUES HIS/HER PHYSICAL SAFETY AND INDEED HIS/HER LIFE... I'D STRONGLY ADVISE AGAINST IT.
* FOLKS... DON'T GET ME WRONG... I'M NOT PREACHING VIOLENCE - I'M SIMPLY SHARING MY ANALYSIS OF THE SITUATION AND THE LIKELY OUTCOME OF STEALING THE NOMINATION FROM TRUMP AND/OR CRUZ.
* AGAIN... IF TRUMP DOESN'T WIN 1,237, THEN IT'S A TWO-MAN RUN-OFF - TRUMP VS. CRUZ. IF THAT HAPPENS... MAY THE BEST MAN WIN.
To avoid the Hobbesian choice — back Trump or abandon Trump — the Establishment must block him from a first-ballot victory. And indispensable to the Anybody-But-Trump coalition is Ted Cruz, whom the Establishment, if possible, detests even more than Trump.
* YEP. THEY DO! (WHICH IS A HUGE PLUS FOR CRUZ IN MY BOOK!)
One testament to the esteem in which Cruz is held is that only two of his 53 Senate GOP colleagues have endorsed him, and one of these, Lindsey Graham, did so as the lesser of two evils.
* RAND PAUL IS A SELF-RIGHTEOUS VINDICTIVE LITTLE PRIG.
Here is the second peril for the GOP elites. If Trump is stopped on the first ballot, the delegates who leave him on the second ballot may go to Cruz, and the stampede could be on.
* YEP. THAT'S TRUE. AND I CAN LIVE WITH THAT. AGAIN... A RUN-OFF BETWEEN THE TWO TOP VOTE GETTERS SEEMS REASONABLE TO ME! THE NUMBER IS 1,237 AND IF TRUMP CAN'T GET THERE... WELL... THEN IT'S A TWO-MAN RACE TO 1,237. THOSE ARE THE RULES AND THEY'RE FAIR RULES. (SUPERBOWL... WORLD SERIES...)
Yet, it is hard to see how a Cruz nomination is better for the party than a Trump nomination.
For Cruz cannot win in Cleveland, unless the man with the most votes and delegates is deprived of a nomination to which he has a far stronger claim, if this country remains a democratic republic.
* AGAIN. I DISAGREE. CLEARLY RUN-OFFS - RUN-OFFS BETWEEN THE TOP TWO - ARE NOT ONLY IN KEEPING WITH THE LETTER OF THE RULES, BUT ALSO THE SPIRIT - AS WELL AS THE SPIRIT OF AMERICAN CONTESTS IN GENERAL. (AGAIN... SUPERBOWL... WORLD SERIES... ETC.)
A Cruz victory in Cleveland would likely lead to the angry and bitter departure of the Trump delegates, and, in the fall, to a mass defection of the blue-collar, Middle-American Trump voters, especially above the Mason-Dixon line where Cruz is already weak.
* AND, FOLKS... THIS IS WHERE ALL TRUMP SUPPORTERS AND ALL CRUZ SUPPORTERS NEED TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE! COME WHAT MAY, TRUMP AND CRUZ MUST BE ON THE SAME PAGE AS SUPPORTING EACH OTHER AGAINST BOTH THE DEMOCRATS... THE LEFTISTS... AND THE RINOs.
The latest poll of Republicans in New York has Trump above 50%, with Cruz running third at 17%. Even in the South, which was to be Ted Cruz’s firewall, Trump beat him repeatedly.
* FOLKS... AGAIN... IT'S A COMPETITION BETWEEN TRUMP AND CRUZ; IT'S LIFE OR DEATH... THE FATE OF OUR COUNTRY... WHEN IT BECOMES LEFTIST DEMOCRATS AND RINOs VS. "WE THE PEOPLE."
And while Cruz can claim to be a more reliable conservative than Trump, how does that translate into electoral votes in the fall?
* IF TRUMP WINS... CRUZ MUST SINCERELY SUPPORT HIM 110%; AND THE SAME APPLIES WITH REGARD TO TRUMP AND HIS SUPPORTERS SHOULD CRUZ PULL IT OUT IN A RUN-OFF. THE LEFTISTS AND THE RINOs MUST, MUST, MUST BE DEFEATED COME NOVEMBER OR ELSE THE COUNTRY IS LOST. AND THAT'S THE GOD'S HONEST TRUTH.
Is the Republican Establishment, having been repudiated in the primaries in a historic turnout by the party base, now engaged in a willful act of self-deception?
* I'M FOCUSED ON REALITY, FOLKS.
Can that Establishment believe it can rob Trump of a nomination he has all but won, then hold off a right-wing Cruz surge that would ensue, then trot out of the stable one of its own, Speaker Paul Ryan, crown him at the convention, and then win in November?
* NO. (BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THEY BELIEVE... OR WHAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE; ALL THAT MATTERS IS THE REALITY, AND THE REALITY IS THAT EITHER TRUMP OR CRUZ MUST BE THE NOMINEE.
* AND, AGAIN... I'D LOVE A TRUMP-CRUZ TICKET!
The Republican Establishment is not the solution to the party’s problems; the Republican Establishment is the problem.
* SO TRUE!
While the GOP appears headed for a train wreck in Cleveland, the principal ingredients of a Republican victory and a Republican future will all be present there: Cruz conservatives and Tea Party types, Trumpite nationalists and populists, Rubio-Kasich-Bush centrists and moderates.
Political statesmanship could yet bring about unity, and victory.