Here is what happened this weekend at Nebraska’s bizarre GOP state convention, and the message it was clearly intended to convey.
During the course of the long and contested GOP primary, almost exactly 60% of Republican voters did not vote for him. If you remove the New York and the Acela primary states (which have no hope of going Republican in a Presidential election, ever), he won less than 37% of the vote. Trump’s die hard supporters are nowhere near a majority of GOP voters, but they are trying to take over the party and its apparatus.
See, if and when Trump loses badly in November, the people who work for Trump and who have been paid shills for him have been told repeatedly that they are through in Washington and will never work in politics again. If you have talked with anyone who has worked with Trump or defended him publicly in any capacity, they have known for a long time that if Trump didn’t win they were done for in politics.
The one way they have seen that they can avoid this fate is to take over the party itself. If they take over the state conventions and staff state and national parties with Trump supporters or those who are sympathetic to Trump, then they can continue making their consultant cash even after Trump goes down in flames in November. At the very least, they are going to try to use Republican hatred of Hillary to get as many Republicans as possible on the record in support of Trump so that they don’t look so bad as early adopters of Trumpism.
That’s exactly how to understand this weekend’s fracas in Nebraska, which saw the Nebraska GOP convention issue what can only be understood as a rebuke to Ben Sasse. This was all orchestrated by Deb Fischer allies, some of whom were staffers for Ben Sasse’s primary opponents in his Senate race. These people don’t have an ideological dog in the fight at all – they are just trying to insure the future of their own political consulting career. And they see in the Trump ascendancy the opportunity to settle political scores along the way and shove rivals out of the way.
Whether the establishment political class was on board with Trump from the beginning (and most were not), they are going to use loyalty to Trump as an excuse to purge conservatives of conscience from having any political work at all. And the people who still remain opposed to Trump are the same people who are likely to align with the conservative troublemakers in both the House and the Senate. With the willing aid of the Trumpkins, the goal is to crush Cruz’s actual and ideological allies and drive them from the party.
Which means, if you’re an actual hard line conservative, that you have to decide one important question: do you care enough about the future of the GOP to fight them?