CNN’s political prediction market seems to have the Republican nomination down to a 3 person race.
The market is not a poll rather a prediction of how likely it is that a candidate wins the nomination.
Currently Cruz is listed at 32%, Trump at 29%, and Rubio at 26% and no other GOP candidate eclipses 5%.
In the year of the outsider, it may be time to explore the not-so-implausible scenario that the GOP nomination comes down to billionaire Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Trump has continually made bombastic comments not limited to women, Hispanics, and Muslims that are clearly non-representative of the party’s ideology. It would seem unconscionable for the party establishment to back Trump.
Would they reluctantly back Cruz?
I would like to assert the hypothesis that from the GOP establishment’s perspective – Cruz may be no more appealing than Trump.
Cruz has made his living in Washington by being highly critical of not just the Democrats but of his own party as well.
In regards to the TPA trade deal, Cruz accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying to Senate Republicans about the inclusion of an export-import bank.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Cruz criticized the majority leader’s politics as “empty showmanship” and “an exercise in meaningless political theatre.”
In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity Cruz claimed “The Republican leadership is leading the effort to kill conservative principles.” He elaborated by saying “What we have today is the McConnell-Reid Leadership team….they are a part of the Washington cartel, career politicians in both parties who get in bed with lobbyists and special interests.”
Needless to say throwing bombs at the leaders of his own party has been a staple of the Cruz agenda. He may be a hero in conservative world, but his allies are likely few and far between in Washington.
Cruz vs Trump is a disaster scenario for the GOP establishment and conventional political wisdom (albeit ineffective thus far in 2016) does not bode well for them in a general election.
It would seem Rubio is the best hope for party leaders at this point in time. Even a Rubio nomination is a victory for the conservative movement as Rubio rode the Tea Party wave to the Senate in 2010 and is one of the more principled conservatives in the senate.
A local veteran at a John Kasich event in Nashua, NH may have summed it up well for the GOP establishment – “The scary thing about Trump is he doesn’t know what he is doing. The scary thing about Cruz is he thinks he knows what he is doing.”