Hillary Vs. Trump: Godzilla Vs. King Kong?

When and if it comes down to a vote for one of just two candidates in the remaining Republican primaries, a majority may still vote for Ted Cruz, which at this point I think is the far wiser course. In November, like most conservatives I’ll probably hold my nose and vote for whoever is the Republican nominee—unless, of course, she or he is arrested or indicted or springs a private server on us.

But will the so-called establishment do the latter?

For all the denials, there is a Republican “establishment” that overlaps with a Republican “elite.” At times lots of us are sort of and sort of not part of it. They are roughly those Republicans who hold elected federal, and major state and local, offices. Included are big donors who regularly give liberally to, or bundle big money for, Republican candidates. Some even end up as ambassadors or political appointees.

Political handlers, pollsters, and professional campaign advisors are other varieties of the establishment. So are CEOs of major corporations and Wall Street financiers, as well as the Chamber of Commerce types all over the nation. Pundits who write for major newspapers and magazines, especially those who reside in the media-rich New York-Washington corridor and appear regularly on news shows, along with big-media conservative celebrities are establishmentarians. Those who write conservative books and work at center-right think tanks are establishment as well. Degrees from tony schools and influential jobs—an Ivy League B.A. or a D.C. lobbyist or activist—perhaps can earn establishment status. Millions, of course, both do and do not qualify as Republican elites.

Most of the above—as well as the majority of Republican voters (given that Trump so far has not regularly won over 50% of the primary votes)—have naturally gone ballistic over Donald Trump, over both what he does and does not say.

Partly they loathe his demeanor and rhetoric, and feel dirty by association, in that he is a stain on Republican Marquess of Queensberry rules, best exemplified by Mitt Romney’s professional, polite—and losing—candidacy. (Perhaps they ignore how the uncouth cutthroat Lee Atwater [read his interviews sometimes on the racial roots of the “Southern Strategy”] got George H.W. Bush elected by utterly destroying Michael Dukakis, and how Atwater’s absence in 1992 him helped not to be reelected.)

Partly, the abhorrence arises from the fact that both the establishment and the majority of Republican voters so far are not convinced that Trump is a conservative.  I agree that his positions on private property, free speech, small government, and foreign policy are all over the place. Even if he were coherent, his past support for liberal Democrats in a normal year would disqualify him as a serious Republican candidate.

Partly, the establishment is baffled over his lack of serious advisors and handlers and rightly assumes that his either his refusal or willingness to release his tax returns, inter alia, will serve as a rich feast for liberal vultures in the general election. Again, these are all more than legitimate worries.

Finally, both the elite and the Republican base fear that even a tiny hint from them now that Trump might be the nominee only weakens the fighting chances of the last standing Trump alternative, Ted Cruz. And, of course, those who swear that they would never vote for Trump in April may, in fact, do so in November if he should clean up his act, tone down his speeches, bring on Republican elites to his team, and more or less "get with it." I think that was the point of Karl Rove’s latest op-ed instruction manual for Trump.

Mostly unmentioned, except for a few bolder Republicans, is the specter that elites and establishment types really will form a third party, stay home, or vote for Hillary Clinton. We can dispense with the triad of choices, because there is only one choice: staying home or forming a third party, despite all the high-minded professions, is a vote for Hillary Clinton, or rather a third term for Barack Obama. And there lies the dilemma that everyone dreads.

So the looming questions for the elite concern whether Godzilla Hillary would be better than King Kong Trump.

See the next page for the answer.