Donald Trump could indeed go down to a major defeat for the Republicans as their presidential candidate in November, though he could also do a far better among the core white, working class patriotic core than the GOP has managed since its ludicrously fraudulent portrayal of George W. Bush as a victorious war hero in 2004.
But if the GOP elite was thinking rationally, which it certainly is not, it would recognize that a Trump candidacy win or lose is the only hope it has to hang on to the House of Representatives, and possibly even the Senate. Trump’s landslide victory in the New York primary on Tuesday drove that lesson home in no uncertain manner.
The scale of the victory should have been no surprise: John Kasich is a nonentity anywhere except in Ohio. And Ted Cruz was going to lose no matter what.
However, the scale of Cruz’s annihilation – winning only 14 percent even among loyal Republican primary voters – hammered home the lesson clear: If Cruz is the candidate, the GOP gets annihilated in New York, California, Illinois and Florida: And rest assured, it’ll get its clock cleaned in Ohio as well.
Cruz never expected The Donald to call him out when he sneered about “New York values” in the Republican presidential debate last year. And even after that, Cruz certainly never dreamed that Trump would hammer that same message home, as relentlessly and mercilessly as Max Baer pummeling Primo Carnera to pulp (and for that most one-sided of heavyweight championship bouts, you have to go back to 1934).
In any case, Cruz faces a dire month after his drubbing in New York. He has shown less strength than anticipated by far in the South, though more than expected so far than in the Midwest, albeit in the exceptionally favorable conditions of Wisconsin. Now he simply must repeat that performance in Indiana to stay alive.
But first, Cruz must weather one humiliating defeat after another in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland Delaware and most of all Pennsylvania.
All of these are old northeastern industrial states, part of what Joel Garreau in his groundbreaking 1982 book The Nine Nations of North America called the “Foundry” region. These are the old areas of manufacturing supremacy and well-paying jobs that were devastated by Free Trade, by the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and by China entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2000.
Cruz has nothing, nothing to say about, or against Free Trade. How can he when his wife Heidi pocket more than $200,000 a year working for the New York –based Goldman Sachs? That $200,000-plus is clearly a New York value Cruz does not disdain.
Next Tuesday, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island and Connecticut vote: Polls show Trump already far ahead of Cruz in all of them. Dick Morris writing in The Hill on Tuesday, acknowledged, “It now looks like the billionaire will get the overwhelming share of the 267 delegates to be selected over this period, putting him less than 100 votes shy of 1,000 delegates. Trump needs 1,237 to take the nomination outright.”
What even Morris, and virtually every Jurassic Era conservative and liberal pundit in America still refuses to acknowledge is that Trump’s remarkable rise is not powered just by his anger or rhetoric. Cruz had cynically sought to harness both.
But Cruz offers not a single new idea or alternative policy to those that have bankrupted America and devastated its families: Trump does. It is Trump’s industrial, trade and foreign aid policies, his championing of the needs of the American people first – regardless of their race, color, religion or geographical distribution that propelled him to victory in New York State.
Those policies look set to take him further yet.
Martin Sieff is author most recently of Cycles of Change, a history of US politics from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama (Amazon-Kindle 2015). Follow Martin on Twitter @MartinSieff and at his web site www.martinsieff.com
Martin Sieff is an editor at Sputnik, the Russian-owned news organization. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (2008), Gathering Storm (2014) and Cycles of Change: The Three Great Eras of American History and the Coming Crisis that will Lead to the Fourth (2014). Follow Martin on: @MartinSieff