In the halls of CPAC, media heads, government officials, and party supporters mingled outside the back of the ballroom, working on press materials and talking business. One of the most common questions everyone asked, by way of greeting, was “Who do you support in this coming election?” I blandly answered “Whoever gets the nomination,” since it’s the truth and I’m not really sure who I support otherwise.
Their first response was, reliably, “Even Trump?” After we laughed it off, I replied “Well, how about you?” Almost every single person I spoke to answered “Rubio.” I was speaking to people who were party loyalists, not just fans who’d come to CPAC for fun or to watch their candidate speak. This, more than anything, leads me to think that a brokered convention would not be an easy-breezy solution to stopping Trump.
It’s no secret that the establishment doesn’t like Cruz. He is on record as opposing them many times, sticking hard to his Tea Party ideals and doing whatever it takes to make them reality. This sounds like what the Republican party ideologically stands for, but the GOP as an institution is less about ideals and more about consolidating their power against the Democrats. This is the essence of a political party, a consolidating of political power. No political party in their right mind would actually want to shrink their power, like Cruz wants.
If there were to be a brokered convention, the people casting the votes are going to be people who are high up with the party and want to keep power consolidated. Rubio, the clear establishment candidate, would be the perfect pick for this. So would Kasich, but Rubio currently leads over Kasich. (Many murmurs are being heard about Kasich as a VP pick, but we can save that speculation for when we actually have a nominee).
However, the idea of Rubio as our candidate is offensive to the very notion of our government obeying the will of the people. Why do I say that?
Because Rubio is not the will of the people! Both Trump and Cruz seperately double the amount of delegates Rubio has, plus Trump’s lead over Cruz is far more narrow than Cruz’s lead over Rubio. The Republican party is speaking, and they don’t want Rubio.
To further add to the inspiration, Kasich and Rubio are being out-polled by Trump in their own states (Ohio and Florida). The lead is narrow enough that the results don’t necessarily mean anything is set in stone, but it definitely isn’t a good sign for a candidate to not have their home state in the bag. Going forward, it doesn’t look like Rubio or Kasich are going to recover any momentum.
It remains to be seen how the GOP will handle two anti-establishment candidates as their only two viable options. Personally, I think that the GOP will favor the more power-hungry Trump over the libertarian/tea party Cruz, because at least Trump will continue to consolidate power and do whatever it takes to get his initiatives passed (whether or not it’s truly conservative). But we need not speculate, since the situation will undoubtedly unravel more quickly than we’d all like.