Postmodern Conservative

There Is No Republican Party

Now there’s no way Never Trump can spin last night’s results as anything but a disaster. Sure, everyone knew Trump was going to win everywhere. But he exceeded what were already very extreme expectations. I’m told he won every county in every state.  It’s an understatement that he has the momentum.

The Republican elected officials and public intellectuals who oppose him have less and less influence. Lots of policy wonks love Cruz because his views are so smart and consistent. They really are. But his strategy of putting the Reagan coalition back together by being the most consistently conservative candidate has failed. 

Ted Cruz, you’re no Ronald Reagan.

Not only that, you have failed to even put the Never Trump coalition together. 

Having said that, it remains conceivable that Cruz could be nominated. He will have to win Indiana, of course. I wouldn’t bet on that this morning. I wouldn’t bet against it either. Still, if Cruz does win, I imagine it won’t be by much. Trump’s base of support, to say the least, isn’t contracting. Making Indiana a game-changer will be a very hard sell.

Assuming he wins Indiana, Cruz has to convince the country that it’s all or nothing on California. And, of course, actually win California decisively.

The nomination of Trump would prove that there’s no Republican party apart from the platform of the national convention and the views of its candidate. But Trump won’t actually control — or even be liked by – most the delegates at the convention. How’s that going to work out? The platform and the candidate may well be on really different pages, for one thing. At that point, who or what is the Republican party?

The nomination of Cruz, absent a decisive California victory, will seem really illegitimate to the MSM and the Trump voters. I’ve had days when I thought Cruz was so astute and determined that he could accomplish anything. But putting the Republicans back together under those circumstances?

At this point we can say Cruz isn’t an “armed prophet” after all. I’m mean, who is? So it’s become more about hoping he gets really lucky.

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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