#NeverTrump = #AlwaysHillary

As reported by Rush Limbaugh, and per the Huffington Post, Karl Rove was at a hush-hush enclave of mostly tech moguls conferring (all right, plotting) about ways to lay-low Donald Trump. The focus was blocking Trump from gaining enough delegates to win the GOP nomination outright. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, among other usual suspects, were in attendance, too. It was a #NeverTrump confab on steroids.   

The cabal of super-rich and establishment Republicans is a last-ditch effort; the aim is pushing the nomination fight to the Republican convention floor. It’s there, they suppose, that through brilliant manipulation of the rules and maneuvers worthy of Rove’s retainers, Trump – oh, and Cruz -- will be stopped. A suitable Republican replacement will be found; a button-down, hands-across-the-aisle Cartelian. Maybe John Kasich, who through Rove’s chicanery, magically secures the nomination. Kasich has declared that he wouldn’t “get personal” with Hillary. Bill’s and Hill’s low ethics are out of bounds -- or as the Brits used to say, “Not Cricket.”

No, Kasich -- or whoever the tub of tapioca is that the establishment could manage to dish up -- will keep to the high ground.  It’ll be an autumn of platitudes du jour -- a tinkerer’s delight. You know, “trim this budget, tweak that program.” Don’t discard ObamaCare; fix it. An illegals problem? Settled through amnesty – to the liking of Democrats and cheap labor business interests. The former gets votes and the latter gets… cheap labor. Oh, and don’t we need to give Barack’s Iranian appeasement deal a wee-bit more time? But, by golly, never shatter the consensus (between Democrats and RINOs): big government is here to stay.     

If only the Republican establishment would turn its lonely eyes to Mitt Romney, who in the last week or so has found his warrior-spirit, bashing Trump in ways he couldn’t bring himself to do against Barack Obama. Alas, note that Warrior Mitt’s Bay State Republicans went solidly for the very man he’s bashing. Mitt just can’t win. 

There’s some effort by the GOP establishment to consolidate support behind Ted Cruz, not because there’s a sudden infatuation with Ted, though one wonders about Meghan McCain’s recent declaration of love. Here, we must offer a grittier assessment.   

If the establishment managed to line up behind Ted, it’s solely to stymie Trump. At the convention, the establishment would dump Ted like a sack of Idaho potatoes. Cruz knows this and is trying to use the users in a end-run to surpass The Donald. 

Cruz has every incentive to retard Trump’s progress in hopes of taking him to the convention. But next Tuesday looms as pivotal to Cruz’s fortunes. Good for Cruz if Kasich takes Ohio (a distinct possibility) next Tuesday. That’s 66 delegates denied Trump.  But the worm turns to Trump’s benefit in Florida, where he’s expected to add 99 delegates to his column. Ditto Illinois and Missouri. North Carolina seems headed Trump’s way, but the delegate allotment there is proportional.    

Cruz’s challenge in any deal with the GOP establishment is to make sure it’s merely convenient and doesn’t slip into Faustian. His supporters are breathing anti-Trump fire today, but if Ted appears to sell his soul for the nomination, watch out. Or, if at the end of the day, the establishment can drive a wedge between the Trump and Cruz constituencies at the convention and somehow, some way, shoehorn one of its own into the nomination, Cruz’s name becomes Mudd.                                            

Rest assured, though, the establishment won’t succeed in inserting one of their own into the GOP nomination. Cruz is too smart to be duped. That Trump falls short of a majority of delegates is a real possibility, but that wouldn’t have much to do with establishment machinations or Cruz’s mastery. That would have more to do with a once-crowded field and a plethora of proportional contests.    

Come Cleveland, if Trump hasn’t amassed 1,237 delegates, he and Cruz will control over 60% of the delegates, regardless. That’s hard math, Karl. The natural convergence is between Cruz and Trump forces (the current acrimony, notwithstanding). At some point, Trump and Cruz need to make nice.     

The probability that their delegates -- anti-GOP establishment to the core -- would bolt in favor of Jeb! or Paul Ryan or some other insider on a second, third, or fourth ballot suggests how divorced from reality the Washington Cartel’s junior partners are. Or how eager the DC Republican consulting class is to separate super-wealthy tech titans from some of their cash. 

Failing to stop Trump, the GOP establishment and some conservatives seem ready to go all-scorched earth should The Donald secure the nomination. The Twitter hashtag, #NeverTrump, is bandied about on that social media outlet like The Finger. The purveyors of that hashtag (Erick Erickson got it going) intend to take a walk if the scoundrel Trump wins the nomination. 

Say the NeverTrumpers, there are too many questions about The Donald -- and unsettling answers -- that make their hair stand on end. There are, however, fewer questions and more answers about Hillary and what she would do as president. It ain’t good; in fact, it’s downright awful. Nonetheless, making a grubby choice -- Trump with questions versus Hillary with answers -- lacks virtue. Washing one’s hands and wrapping oneself in the flag is simpler; one’s conscience stays clean while the nation assuredly goes deeper into hell-in-a-hand basket under Ms. Clinton’s leadership.

For establishment Republicans, a #NeverTrump stand might mean losing the General Election to Hillary, but she can be worked with, they reason. And “worked with” hasn’t much to do with policy. It has to do with maintaining their comfy stations in DC and New York.    

There’s still a vigorous contest for the Republican nomination underway. Trump and Cruz are duking it out. Trump appears to have a tailwind, but Cruz isn’t done -- nor should he be. The fight makes either Trump or Cruz the stronger candidate in the fall. Hillary is a most imperfect and vulnerable candidate. If she’s indicted, that mean-spirited dunce, Joe Biden, is off the bench. He’s imperfect and vulnerable, too, but the Democrats will rally around whoever they nominate. 

Any which way, the Democrats and their allies will throw everything and anything at the GOP nominee to win, be that the wobbly John Kasich or the hard-edged Trump or Cruz. Democrats play for keeps; they play to win. Hashtags be damned.  

As reported by Rush Limbaugh, and per the Huffington Post, Karl Rove was at a hush-hush enclave of mostly tech moguls conferring (all right, plotting) about ways to lay-low Donald Trump. The focus was blocking Trump from gaining enough delegates to win the GOP nomination outright. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, among other usual suspects, were in attendance, too. It was a #NeverTrump confab on steroids.   

The cabal of super-rich and establishment Republicans is a last-ditch effort; the aim is pushing the nomination fight to the Republican convention floor. It’s there, they suppose, that through brilliant manipulation of the rules and maneuvers worthy of Rove’s retainers, Trump – oh, and Cruz -- will be stopped. A suitable Republican replacement will be found; a button-down, hands-across-the-aisle Cartelian. Maybe John Kasich, who through Rove’s chicanery, magically secures the nomination. Kasich has declared that he wouldn’t “get personal” with Hillary. Bill’s and Hill’s low ethics are out of bounds -- or as the Brits used to say, “Not Cricket.”

No, Kasich -- or whoever the tub of tapioca is that the establishment could manage to dish up -- will keep to the high ground.  It’ll be an autumn of platitudes du jour -- a tinkerer’s delight. You know, “trim this budget, tweak that program.” Don’t discard ObamaCare; fix it. An illegals problem? Settled through amnesty – to the liking of Democrats and cheap labor business interests. The former gets votes and the latter gets… cheap labor. Oh, and don’t we need to give Barack’s Iranian appeasement deal a wee-bit more time? But, by golly, never shatter the consensus (between Democrats and RINOs): big government is here to stay.     

If only the Republican establishment would turn its lonely eyes to Mitt Romney, who in the last week or so has found his warrior-spirit, bashing Trump in ways he couldn’t bring himself to do against Barack Obama. Alas, note that Warrior Mitt’s Bay State Republicans went solidly for the very man he’s bashing. Mitt just can’t win. 

There’s some effort by the GOP establishment to consolidate support behind Ted Cruz, not because there’s a sudden infatuation with Ted, though one wonders about Meghan McCain’s recent declaration of love. Here, we must offer a grittier assessment.   

If the establishment managed to line up behind Ted, it’s solely to stymie Trump. At the convention, the establishment would dump Ted like a sack of Idaho potatoes. Cruz knows this and is trying to use the users in a end-run to surpass The Donald. 

Cruz has every incentive to retard Trump’s progress in hopes of taking him to the convention. But next Tuesday looms as pivotal to Cruz’s fortunes. Good for Cruz if Kasich takes Ohio (a distinct possibility) next Tuesday. That’s 66 delegates denied Trump.  But the worm turns to Trump’s benefit in Florida, where he’s expected to add 99 delegates to his column. Ditto Illinois and Missouri. North Carolina seems headed Trump’s way, but the delegate allotment there is proportional.    

Cruz’s challenge in any deal with the GOP establishment is to make sure it’s merely convenient and doesn’t slip into Faustian. His supporters are breathing anti-Trump fire today, but if Ted appears to sell his soul for the nomination, watch out. Or, if at the end of the day, the establishment can drive a wedge between the Trump and Cruz constituencies at the convention and somehow, some way, shoehorn one of its own into the nomination, Cruz’s name becomes Mudd.                                            

Rest assured, though, the establishment won’t succeed in inserting one of their own into the GOP nomination. Cruz is too smart to be duped. That Trump falls short of a majority of delegates is a real possibility, but that wouldn’t have much to do with establishment machinations or Cruz’s mastery. That would have more to do with a once-crowded field and a plethora of proportional contests.    

Come Cleveland, if Trump hasn’t amassed 1,237 delegates, he and Cruz will control over 60% of the delegates, regardless. That’s hard math, Karl. The natural convergence is between Cruz and Trump forces (the current acrimony, notwithstanding). At some point, Trump and Cruz need to make nice.     

The probability that their delegates -- anti-GOP establishment to the core -- would bolt in favor of Jeb! or Paul Ryan or some other insider on a second, third, or fourth ballot suggests how divorced from reality the Washington Cartel’s junior partners are. Or how eager the DC Republican consulting class is to separate super-wealthy tech titans from some of their cash. 

Failing to stop Trump, the GOP establishment and some conservatives seem ready to go all-scorched earth should The Donald secure the nomination. The Twitter hashtag, #NeverTrump, is bandied about on that social media outlet like The Finger. The purveyors of that hashtag (Erick Erickson got it going) intend to take a walk if the scoundrel Trump wins the nomination. 

Say the NeverTrumpers, there are too many questions about The Donald -- and unsettling answers -- that make their hair stand on end. There are, however, fewer questions and more answers about Hillary and what she would do as president. It ain’t good; in fact, it’s downright awful. Nonetheless, making a grubby choice -- Trump with questions versus Hillary with answers -- lacks virtue. Washing one’s hands and wrapping oneself in the flag is simpler; one’s conscience stays clean while the nation assuredly goes deeper into hell-in-a-hand basket under Ms. Clinton’s leadership.

For establishment Republicans, a #NeverTrump stand might mean losing the General Election to Hillary, but she can be worked with, they reason. And “worked with” hasn’t much to do with policy. It has to do with maintaining their comfy stations in DC and New York.    

There’s still a vigorous contest for the Republican nomination underway. Trump and Cruz are duking it out. Trump appears to have a tailwind, but Cruz isn’t done -- nor should he be. The fight makes either Trump or Cruz the stronger candidate in the fall. Hillary is a most imperfect and vulnerable candidate. If she’s indicted, that mean-spirited dunce, Joe Biden, is off the bench. He’s imperfect and vulnerable, too, but the Democrats will rally around whoever they nominate. 

Any which way, the Democrats and their allies will throw everything and anything at the GOP nominee to win, be that the wobbly John Kasich or the hard-edged Trump or Cruz. Democrats play for keeps; they play to win. Hashtags be damned.