Will Trump and the Establishment Get Married?
by Tom Donelson on January 22, 2016 at 5:34 PM
The Republican establishment is quite confusing to understand. First, they fear the upcoming Trump Revolution, but it is now becoming even more apparent that the establishment is making its peace with Trump.
This has been making the rounds for quite a while, but the first to bring this possibility was Breitbart's Ben Shapiro, who discussed this in a piece for Breitbart.com when he wrote, “Truthfully, the establishment fears a Cruz candidacy more than a Trump candidacy – should Trump lose, they can blame the base, then say that Trump was a clownish representative of the Party anyway. They’ll get behind him.” He added in another piece, “The establishment can’t stand Cruz because they believe he unfairly rips establishment Republicans for insufficient ideological purity. They think Cruz doesn’t understand the necessary deals that must be cut in politics in order to 'get things done'—they think he’s more interested in posturing than in achieving practical policies to help Americans…They will have to put such concerns aside if they want to defeat Trump. The establishment will never be able to convince grassroots conservatives to consolidate around their favorite, Marco Rubio.”
National Review's Myra Adams theorized that maybe Trump would actually pick John Kasich as his running mate, and while this may sound like “are you kidding”, she makes a very good point. Kasich is not just part of the establishment, but he brings the possibility of adding Ohio to the GOP this election and helps to make inroads in the Midwest for Trump. There are no serious scenarios in which Trump or any Republican can win the Presidency without Ohio and Florida, and Kasich shores up Ohio. Trump putting Kasich on the ticket also assures the “Republican establishment” that he can work with them. There is one thing about Trump, he views himself a deal maker and his positions on issues are more centrist than Right. He has tapped into the Nationalist populist mood of the country, and Kasich is not much different in many of his views including the possibility of adding tariffs to Chinese goods.
If there was ever a guy who reeks establishment in this election, it is Kasich and as Myra Adams observed, his vast experience in Washington and as governor to go along with his stint on Wall Street will shore up Trump relations with the establishment. Ted Cruz wondered out loud how quickly the establishment will abandon Rubio for Trump, and he doesn’t have to wonder too much longer. When Governor Terry Branstad came out opposing Cruz due to Cruz's opposition to ethanol subsidies, he might as well have worn a Trump sticker on his lapel. He made it clear that defending ethanol subsidies is more important than defeating Trump. And as I have mentioned in the past, Trump’s position outside of trade is not much different than many of the establishment. His tax plan is a slicker version of Bush’s plan; his views on immigration are far more lenient that he lets on as he has made clear on numerous occasions, the vast majority of those immigrants here illegally today will still be here after his reforms. His proposal is similar to Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's, who is considered a card carrying member of the establishment. They may not like his vulgarity on the stump, but they know Trump does deal and he will deal with them.
The establishment fears Cruz mainly because he might just be as conservative as he says he is, whereas Trump has a history of deal making with both Republicans and Democrats over his career, and there are enough Republicans who can deal with that.