Is Cruz the Pawn for a Second-Ballot, Anti-Trump Strategy?
Ted Cruz is gaining momentum. He’s up in the polls for the next big contest: Wisconsin. He’s picked up key endorsements, and he is winning over establishment Republicans by sticking to his conservative policies and beliefs. But is Cruz really bringing these leaders over to his side or simply away from Donald Trump? Is Cruz just a pawn that the establishment is using in their game of “convention chess,” where they hope to appoint someone new as the GOP nominee?
As reported at Breitbart.com, pollster and political strategist Pat Caddell spoke recently on the current political situation within the GOP. Caddell said that with Cruz success in Wisconsin, it would make it tough for Trump to gain the majority of delegates for the outright nomination. But Cruz is hated by the establishment almost as much as they hate Trump.
Caddell said he believes the GOP Establishment is “using Cruz as a cats-paw.”
“Look, you don’t really think that Jeb Bush, and Lindsay Graham, and some of those who have endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)… you don’t really think they want Ted Cruz, do you?” Caddell asked. “They’re using him to stop Trump.”
This strategy will face a crucial test in Wisconsin’s primary on Tuesday, where Caddell noted the generally reliable Marquette poll was showing “a huge surge for Cruz.” He found such a surge believable, given that Governor Scott Walker and other potent political forces in the state have aligned behind the senator from Texas, while Trump has been “off-balance” in Wisconsin.
Caddelll noted that although the establishment hates Trump, they also fear Cruz because he would disrupt their power.
He said these Establishment politicians would “absolutely” rather lose the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton than win with Trump or Cruz. Conversely, the voters who have propelled Trump and Cruz to victory over a platoon of more Establishment-approved candidates are unlikely to “reconcile” themselves to an Establishment pick inserted at the Republican National Convention.
If Caddell’s words aren’t enough to give you pause, how about listening to one of the true voices of the establishment: Karl Rove. In a story by the Washington Examiner, Rove told talk show host Hugh Hewitt that a “fresh face” chosen at the convention might be the best thing for the GOP.
Hewitt asked Rove, “Who is the most electable Republican … of the people who could be available to run?” All the current candidates have their problems, Rove answered. But there might be an outsider with just the right combination of attributes who could lead Republicans to victory:
If we have somebody who we think has, has been battle-tested, and has strong conservative principles and the ability to articulate them, and they are nominated at this convention, there will be a lot of acrimony from the people who were seeking the nomination. But if it’s somebody who has, you know, has those convictions that they can express in a compelling way, we could come out of the convention in relatively strong position … And a fresh face might be the thing that could give us a chance to turn this election and win in November against Hillary.
Are you kidding me? We have candidates who have put their lives on hold in order to campaign. They have brought their message to GOP voters, and the voters have spoken. They prefer Cruz and Trump over all the rest. If this causes heartburn for the establishment, then so be it! After all, if the likes of Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and others would have actually stood up to Obama on immigration, spending, and a host of other issues, we would not be in this situation.
NewsMax.com reports that House Speaker Paul Ryan “could be tapped as the GOP presidential nominee in the event of a brokered Republican convention this summer.”
In a column for The Hill, former Rep. Bill Owens, a New York Democrat, writes the once unlikely scenario seems a distinct possibility with establishment Republicans having “grave concerns” about both front-runner Donald Trump and second-place Ted Cruz.
Owens notes the reluctance of GOP fundraisers to support this year’s candidates with the sort of money they threw at Mitt Romney in 2012 means they believe Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich cannot win the general election.
Politico.com, in a story focusing on the upcoming Wisconsin election, notes that the Republican establishment is lining up against Cruz, but privately, “it’s killing many of them to do it.”
A substantial slice of Wisconsin Republican Party veterans and business leaders can’t stand Cruz’s combative style in the Senate, abhor his hard line on immigration, could do without his heavy religious rhetoric and have misgivings about his general election prospects. But they’re willing to swallow all of that to back their best hope of beating Donald Trump, though some can’t help but pine for Paul Ryan — or someone like him — coming out of a contested convention.
These people don’t care about a conservative agenda. All they care about is power and keeping everything in its nice, little order. If our leaders had actually followed conservative principles, we wouldn’t be dealing with Donald Trump right now. Instead, rather than seeing the writing on the wall and turning things around last year or the year before or the year before, establishment leaders turned away from conservative policies and now would rather destroy the party than change. It’s pathetic.