I think I had a moment of despair where I thought Trump would be nominee, but generally I have been of mind that the universe doesn’t allow for that absurdity. Not that Trump hasn’t been incredibly damaging. Anyway, on 2/29 I gamed it this way.
A Trump stalls out now, Rubio or Cruz reaches a decisive delegate count pre-convention
B Trump keeps rolling, reaches a near decisive delegate count pre-convention, Rubio is nominated on the 2nd ballot.
C Trump keeps rolling, reaches a decisive delegate count pre-convention, runs as the nominee,
C was looking probable for a while right, and driving us to said despair. But by 3/30 Cruz was still in and Rubio wasn’t, and it was he who had turned Trump’s momentum. Scenario B remains valid, but with Cruz taking Rubio’s place, and it is now the current favored conventional wisdom (though I don’t know that the betting markets have priced that adequately yet).
Cruz looks well equipped to pull this off, but the conventional wisdom that pilot fishes with the other CW is that this brings hell to pay in the form of alienated Trump voters who will disrupt the R convention in the streets or in the hall.
You had Trump consigliere Roger Stone the other day encouraging Trump supporters to come to Cleveland and figuratively or literally muscle the Trump delegates so they stay firm. Ostensibly scary amirite. Well ya know I was wrong like others such that ‘Trump supporters’ actually got out and primary / caucus voted en masse in the first place. I didn’t think they’d do that, but the reason I thought that is still true. At least half of them are crackers, rubes, and barstool philosophers. Now that’s populism, and that can bring fervor and energy to an election day, but these dispossessed people ain’t going to Cleveland to be persuasive to anyone. They ain’t got that in them. They’re too old + too poor and then too dumb to go to a national political convention, sorry not sorry.
Such that Trump does have committed delegates for the first ballot….these people attending the convention are party reptiles with quite a bit more wisdom. You read the news about how Cruz is organizing the actual delegate slates, and there is every appearance these people are on board with the notion they pay proper homage to the process and give their first ballot vote to Trump if so assigned… and then move to Cruz because reality and seriousness demand it.
For sure there has been a great deal of embarrassment this year when having to revisit claims of inevitability but….getting around Cruz at the convention requires Trump be different than he is. Requires he utilize a skillset he doesn’t have, requires he leverage party relationship capital. Which is to say these are things that are impossible for him and he’s going to lose. Its inevitable.
Now I guess there’d be typical Trump sport to be had bitching, moaning, and trash talking as it happens… but to be present to do that you also got to have the character to be defeated in public on the battlefield right there. I have my doubts he’s up for it.
It’s one thing and maybe kind of a fanciful thing at that to psychoanalyze Trump. But there’s a practical matter I think that cinches he comes to terms with getting out before being defeated by Cruz, that being money.
We’re to (properly) understand this campaign hasn’t cost Trump meaningful money yet. If it did at first, it was something he was willing to spend (to build the brand…). Then though, his cash to campaign was replaced by that of donations from the rubes…
When you’re going to lose, the rube spigot turns off on a moment’s notice. You get into the summer here with it apparent Trump will not win, he’s going to have to fund his campaign himself again. I really doubt he does that. And ya know, there was always the other matter of whether he was really liquid / rich enough to make a proper contribution to his own general election campaign, that necessary when corporations and PACs recoil in disgust…. He isn’t that rich. Which is just to say the GOP isn’t going to nominate him, the ability to properly finance a general election campaign being a non-negotiable criteria.
So he ain’t going to be nominated, and what I’m saying is, there’s a scenario D where Trump withdraws before the convention because he’s just not that Quixotical, certainly given the money it takes to be Quixotical here. He’ll get out late June, and sure, he’ll make noise complaining about a corrupt process. But he won’t be in Cleveland and they’ll be relatively little chaos. Maybe Cruz wins on the 1st ballot. You’ll almost have the appearance of a unified party, certainly if you squint.