Now They Notice Cruz Is No Better Than Trump

Finally, some media outlets are beginning to catch on to what I’ve been saying for weeks, which is that there isn’t anything better about Ted Cruz than Donald Trump and that either man will be a complete disaster for the Republican Party’s brand and the office seekers who will have to share a ballot with them.

Alex Isenstadt wrote it up for Politico and it’s pretty much identical to the pieces that have been churned out about Trump for more than half a year now. The difference is that it drops the pretense that Cruz would be an improvement.

The news in the piece is that Alex Castellanos (the creator of the infamous Jesse Helms “White Hands” video) is trying to put together some billionaires to fund a carpet bombing campaign against Trump. You might remember Castellanos better from his 2000 work for the Bush campaign, including his subliminal rats commercial he ran criticizing Al Gore’s prescription drug plan. His body of work would easily send him to hell if hell were a real punishment for immoral inexcusable behavior.

In recent weeks, Alex Castellanos, a veteran TV ad man who was a top adviser to George W. Bush and Romney, has been meeting with top GOP operatives and donors to gauge interest in launching an anti-Trump vehicle that would pummel the Manhattan businessman on the television airwaves.

Those who’ve met with Castellanos say he’s offered detailed presentations on how such an offensive would play out. Castellanos has said that an anti-Trump ad campaign, which would be designed to cast him as a flawed strongman, would cost well into the millions. It was unclear, the sources said, whether Castellanos, who did not respond to a request for comment, would ultimately go through with the effort.

Even if Castellanos were the genius he seems to think he is, destroying Trump will avail nothing if it just results in Cruz getting the nomination. And intelligent Republicans understand this:

“At some point, we have to deal with the fact that there are at least two candidates who could utterly destroy the Republican bench for a generation if they became the nominee,” said Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We’d be hard-pressed to elect a Republican dogcatcher north of the Mason-Dixon or west of the Mississippi.”

“Trump and Cruz are worrisome to most Republican candidates for governor, senator and Congress,” said Curt Anderson, a longtime GOP strategist and former Republican National Committee political director. “Some will say they are not worried, but they are.”

As I’ve also said repeatedly, however, I’m not seeing the savior who is supposed to be so much more acceptable to the American people.

For one thing, the GOP has kind of locked themselves into another base mobilization strategy. It worked, barely, in 2004, and probably thanks only to shenanigans in Ohio. It hasn’t worked in the last two presidential elections and seems less likely to work with each four-year passage of time.

But, if you’re stuck with base mobilization as your strategy, you have to at least mobilize your base. Who’s going to do that besides Cruz or Trump?

As I see it, their goose is cooked and their only hope is some kind of Black Swan situation where everything goes to shit at just the wrong time for the Democrats.

But you can’t bank on that, and if it happens, it probably doesn’t matter who the Republicans have nominated.

When these billionaires settle on a champion that will be more interesting than all these articles about how they don’t want the top two Republican contenders.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.