Postmodern Conservative

What a Sad Year This Is!

What a sad year this is! Cruz is still in the race and pretty close, I say, to being the presumptive nominee by having made a big bleepin’ deal of winning Texas (where I hear he lives). Rubio had to drop out in shame because he couldn’t carry his Florida. And Kasich gets to stay around because he managed to defeat Trump by less than double digits in his home state (where he is, studies show, a very popular governor and with the whole party establishment and so forth and so on behind him).

Candidates who aren’t Trump are made and unmade by being or not being favorite sons. Meanwhile . . .

Trump has no home and is running amok. Most Republicans most places don’t want him but can’t stop him. If they all hang together, they still can’t stop him. Probably he can be stopped if everyone stands aside and lets Cruz be Cruz. And so many Republicans would rather not have to watch that. 

Even though, to repeat, I really think Cruz has the edge over Trump at this point, I do so having to come to terms with the fact that he was 0–5 Tuesday and hasn’t won any sizable state but Texas so far.  

Rubio told us, at a certain point, don’t worry, I’ll start winning soon. That’s what Cruz says now: It’s only Donald and myself now, and so all respectable people will have to vote for me, like it or not. That’s actually true enough. And that’s why he will prevail in a majority of the contests ahead, culminating in a decisive victory in California. 

I have no faith in (or no feeling for) Cruz’s magnetic attractiveness, but I have seen his competence time and again. I can see why Trumps attracts some and repulses other, and I have some confidence that, quantitatively speaking, he’s more repulsive than attractive. I also still think his ignorance and incompetence will catch up with him. I admit that George Will didn’t have much evidence to back up his assertion that we’ve seen “peak Trump.”

And Kasich gets a chance to be alone on stage with Cruz and passes it up! You’d think a candidate running a pathetic third with 10 percent of the delegates might want to take a risk or two. He’s just in it for the ride, pretentiously presenting himself as the civilized alternative to a fascist and a fanatic. There is, after all, no evidence at all that he actually win in any other state at this point. I admit that it’s hard to know for sure whether his persistent vanity is good or bad for the anti-Trump cause in the weeks ahead.

Kasich seems to think he might be a kingmaker or even the safe choice of a brokered convention.  

But “democratic legitimacy” means  more than ever at a time when there’s no real evidence of a responsible and effective party establishment. So here’s my boldest prediction: The nominee will certainly be Trump or Cruz.

Peter Augustine LawlerPeter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and served on President George ...


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