Denial has been Trump's greatest ally. Republicans and commentators didn't believe he would run. They didn't believe he could be an attractive candidate to rational people, no matter how angry with "the establishment" voters said they were. They -- which includes me -- were wrong.
The denial lasted longer for some than others. Long after many observers had come to the realization that Trump was the front-runner,
Over the weekend,
Priebus explained, rightly, that the rules are the rules, and that if Trump can't secure the required 1,237 delegates before
Trump's response to this floor-fight talk was to vomit up the usual word salad.
"All I can say is this, I don't know what's going to happen," Trump told
Even through the syntactical fog, Trump's point is clear: If he can't reach 1,237, he should get the nomination anyway. Because he is Trump. If that doesn't happen, his supporters will stay home, defect from the party, riot or all three.
And he's right. Not about deserving the nomination even if he doesn't have the delegates. That's typical Trumpian whining. But he's right that if he's denied the nomination, many -- not all, but many -- of his supporters will bolt from the convention and the party.
Left out of Trump's unsubtle threat: Many anti-Trump Republicans will desert the convention and the party if he's not denied the nomination.
There are only three possible ways to avoid a calamitous walkout.
Second, Trump could reveal he has a hidden reservoir of magnanimity and patriotism, and rally his faithful to the consensus nominee. Stop laughing.
Third, the delegates could pick someone sufficiently attractive that Trump followers get over their understandable bitterness and support that candidate despite Trump's objections. Who would that be? Certainly not
All of these scenarios are so unlikely in part because the split in the
Put simply, and with the incessant and obtuse comparisons of Trump to Reagan notwithstanding, you cannot have a party that's both Reaganite and Trumpish.
Trump's cheerleaders insist that he's a symptom of long-simmering maladies on the right. I'm persuaded (even though I think Dr. Trump's remedies are nothing but snake oil). Even now, too many
To wit: This ends in tears no matter what. Get over it and pick a side.