The Corner

The Establishment Is Surrendering to Someone It Never Fought

The establishment’s capitulation to Trump that began in earnest last week is significant in that it has reinforced the narrative of Trump’s inevitability. But it’s not as though the establishment ever really fought Trump. First, it told itself that Trump would fade on his own (not a crazy thing to believe last summer or fall, but clearly wrong by December or January); then some element of it hoped that Trump would win Iowa, thus ending Cruz’s candidacy and making the way for a preferred non-Trump candidate; then, when Trump got loose and started racking up wins, many donors were too weary to fund an anti-Trump effort after pouring money into the Bush SuperPAC to no effect or into some other forlorn campaign (a few donors have backed this anti-Trump effort, to their great credit); then, when the race narrowed to a Trump-Cruz contest, the establishment sat on its hands and entertained fantasies of a white knight at a contested convention. This account is necessarily a rough sketch, but you get the idea — the establishment may have hoped Trump wouldn’t get the nomination, but it never fought to keep it from happening.

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