Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Republican Establishment has no significant constituency

The entire logic behind the Rubio, Kasich, Bush, and Walker campaigns was based on the idea that whichever one of those "establishment candidates" was the last guy standing, they would easily beat the non-establishment Trump and Cruz. This explained why each one of those candidacies was not doing well. The problem wasn't that the Republican establishment-types no longer had support of many Republican voters, the problem was that the establishment vote was divided among too many candidates. That theory was based on the premise that the establishment Republican had a significant constituency among Republican primary voters. (It also assumes that Senator Cruz is not "establishment" just because everyone hates him, notwithstanding his very establishment job)

To some extent I bought the premise of the establishment Republican constituency. I didn't necessarily think that constituency had a clear majority of Republican voters. But I did think that the establishment had a solid base, along with a fair number of people who would prefer a safe standard GOP candidate as a second choice over someone like Trump.

Now that Kasich is the last establishment GOPer standing, that premise is clearly wrong. It might still hold some water if we let Cruz into the establishment club. But I'm no longer 100% sure that Trump wouldn't still win the nomination in a 2-person race against Cruz, especially not with his current lead.