Blast off: Shaky Jeb Bush campaign ready to soar thanks to coveted Eric Cantor endorsement

I feel like we’re going to find out six months from now that Trump bribed Cantor to do this.

Eric Cantor, former House majority leader, will endorse Jeb Bush on Thursday evening and will be named a Virginia state co-chair of his presidential campaign, Republican sources tell POLITICO.

Cantor was courted intensely by other candidates. Cantor retains a strong political network in Virginia, a key primary and swing state. And he has enviable connections among Jewish business leaders who can be key supporters and donors…

A Cantor source said: “They have known each other for a long time, speak regularly and have great mutual respect for one another. Eric believes he is the only candidate with a real long-term vision for the country who can also actually implement it – not just talk about it.”

I … guess this makes sense? Right now, if you’re Jeb, there’s nothing you can do about Trump except hope that Republicans are having a summer fling and that old-fashioned establishmentarianism will reassert itself this fall. In the meantime, you focus on sidelining Walker and Rubio by winning the donor primary. Even in a worst-case scenario for Bush where Trump stays strong through New Year’s, he and his team are convinced they can win a head-to-head primary death match as undecided Republican voters say to themselves, “We’re not really going to give Donald Trump the nuclear codes, are we?” If we’re destined to have a “Trump vs. Not Trump” race, then obviously the thing to do now is make sure that you’re the strongest “Not Trump” available. Cantor’s connections will help with that, especially with Kasich bearing down on Jeb in New Hampshire. Who knows? It may even be that Jeb’s hoping to see Trump’s success continue through the fall. He may have a better shot at winning a “Trump vs. Not Trump” battle as the “Not Trump” than winning a “Bush vs. Not Bush” battle with, say, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz as “Not Bush.” As Trump himself said today:

Indeed, which is why Jeb’s smart to lock up another big fundraiser. But yeah, all that aside, it’s high comedy that a guy who’s increasingly dismissed as an uncharismatic pro-amnesty cronyist underperformer would be touting the endorsement of someone who washed out of his House primary last year for being too soft on immigration and too cozy with cozy with D.C. lobbyists. It’d be like Kasich breathlessly announcing that he’s secured the Jon Huntsman endorsement. A little self-awareness, dude, please.

Speaking of which, wise words from Sean Trende on cause and effect in this year’s primary:

Trumpmania would have been a thing even without Jeb in the race, I think, especially if Rubio had emerged as the frontrunner and given Trump a juicy Gang-of-Eight target on immigration, but I don’t think there would have been the same populist frenzy. Bush is so baldly an “anointed” figure by party power brokers, reeking of aristocracy, dragging bags of money and favors owed behind him, and underwhelming everyone at every turn that backing a brawling vulgarian like Trump feels like the only logical democratic response. There wouldn’t be the same urgency to punish the donor class if Walker or Rubio or Cruz or someone else of modest beginnings from the new generation of Republican pols had climbed into the lead. Some parapsychologists will tell you that poltergeists aren’t “ghosts” as we commonly understand that term but rather a psychokinetic entity brought into being by a person with psychic powers when they’re forced to cope with extreme stress. The poltergeist, supposedly, is a sort of projection of their inner turmoil; once it’s manifested, it operates independently of the person who unwittingly created it and wreaks havoc. That’s Trump. He’s the poltergeist of the Republican primary. The donor class dropped $100 million on Jeb early as a sign that they were prepared to foist yet another bland centrist nominee with lots of connections on the party, and the anguish that generated in part of the base was so enormous that it hatched a banshee who’s now tossing people around the room and retweeting “bimbo” cracks about Megyn Kelly. Anyone know a good exorcist?