Just last month, Republican Party officials scurried into Trump Tower to extract a loyalty pledge from a certain unpredictable billionaire real estate mogul turned presidential candidate.
Who knew that it should have been Donald Trump extracting just such a loyalty pledge from Republican bigs?
In a stunning admission of just how wildly out of touch they are from actual, breathing human voters, GOP establishment insiders say that if Mr. Trump continues his unfettered march to the Republican nomination they will go to war to take him out.
Asked by the Washington Examiner’s Byron York to describe how they would greet a Trump candidacy, one “leading conservative” said: “Massive resistance.”
That is an unfortunate term for a Republican to be caught using in print, even anonymously.
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“Massive resistance” was the despicable tactic deployed by Democrats in Virginia to maintain their party’s ironclad, 90-year devotion to racial segregation. That particular case of “massive resistance” was the Democratic effort to maintain segregated public schools.
And now, in 2015, the term is embraced by an influential GOP establishment strategist seeking to doom a Trump presidential bid.
Is it any wonder that in the hands of these witless apes now running the GOP, the party of Abraham Lincoln has somehow become the “racist” party?
It is precisely this level of stupidity, of an inability to speak clearly or market ideas effectively that has created such a vast tundra of talentless mopes into which Mr. Trump wades so effortlessly and immediately takes total command.
The whole reason Mr. Trump left out there the threat that he would mount a third-party candidacy was to keep the GOP establishment on its toes. All he asked for was a promise that he be treated fairly.
Eventually, he got that promise. And then signed their pledge.
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Not that Republican officials were, at any point in the process, operating entirely in good faith. The whole loyalty pledge was a gimmick designed to trap Mr. Trump, whom they figured would never sign such a thing and then lose support among Republican voters.
Of course, they bungled the whole thing and when it was all over there was Mr. Trump standing again before yet another sea of television cameras, waving the signed loyally pledge and announcing, “I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands.”
That last part was a subtle, yet brilliant, jab about how the Republican Party “stands” for conservative principles, yet rarely adheres to them and almost never delivers on them.
Mr. Trump had won again. And earned another two weeks of free media.
Today, six weeks of poll numbers later, Mr. Trump remains atop the field. He is beating establishment favorite Jeb Bush by a full 20 points. And he has certainly kept his pledge.
And now it is the Republicans who are threatening to fling a temper tantrum and grab up all their marbles and run home crying if they don’t get their way.
Sure, the Republican National Committee makes abundantly clear that they will do nothing to undermine Mr. Trump or his juggernaut campaign. But the legion of political hitmen and henchmen know exactly how this game is played and they are the ones now plotting against him.
“I don’t think Trump can withstand 10,000 points of smart negative [advertising] in Iowa and New Hampshire,” one strategist told Mr. York. “It would force him to spend money. That’s when this starts to get real for him.”
But there is hope.
These are the same Republican experts who assured everybody that Mr. Trump would never run. They said he would not be taken seriously. He would not play well. He would be chased out of the race by gaffes. He would get destroyed in a debate. And he would never, ever sign a loyalty pledge.
Now, they say, he must be stopped because Mr. Trump might win the nomination, but he could never, ever win in a general election.
Next, I guess, they will say “Well, OK, maybe Donald Trump can win the general election, but Washington will never be the same again.”
Oh, a voter can dream!
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter via @charleshurt.