Nothing would be funnier, after a year of Reince Priebus rolling over and letting Trump scratch his belly, than watching him become some sort of hard-ass disciplinarian in 2020, striking Ted Cruz and John Kasich from state ballots. If you were trying to script the perfect ending to the GOP’s self-immolation this year, having the party leadership purge conservatives and moderates for refusing to back the nationalist con man on principle is the only way it could go. It’d also be wonderful news if you believe it’s time for the different elements of the right-wing coalition to finally be done with each other and part ways, whatever that might mean for 2020. Nothing would convince anti-Trump conservatives that it’s time to abandon ship quite like having the RNC block their favorite candidates from running for president after the Committee stood by and did nothing whatsoever to stop Trump.
You would think Trump himself would be somewhat alert to that and would have the basic good diplomatic sense to use less vinegar and more honey in trying to bring Cruz and Kasich back into the fold too. A few complimentary words about how he respects them and would still like their endorsements would lower the friction with Cruz’s and Kasich’s supporters even if the candidates themselves don’t come around, which could matter a lot on Election Day. But Trump is what he is: He’s not going to repay a snub with supplication, even if he stands to gain by it, because that would suggest that the person who snubbed him is dominant. Trump would rather lose the election than practice basic unification politics.
“Thankfully, there are still leaders in this country who put principles before politics,” Weaver wrote. “Throughout his life, Governor John Kasich has always made decisions based on what is best for our country. The idea of a greater purpose beyond oneself may be alien to political party bosses like Reince Priebus, but it is at the center of everything Governor Kasich does.”
“He will not be bullied by a Kenosha political operative that is unable to stand up for core principles or beliefs,” he continued, naming Priebus’ hometown in Wisconsin. “In fact, Reince should be thanking the governor for standing for an inclusive, conservative vision that can actually win a national election and improve our country.”
Trump will have his revenge on Kasich in November when he wins Ohio, as seems increasingly likely, despite Kasich not having lifted a finger to help him. And if Trump loses the election anyway, Kasich will have his revenge on him in 2020 when he runs again and no one within the party utters a peep about it because they’re desperate not to reopen any old Trump-inflicted wounds from 2016.
Skip to 19:00 here for the key bit from this morning’s “Fox & Friends,” although you should start a few minutes before that if you want to hear Trump remind everyone five or six times how badly Kasich lost in the primaries. The hosts could have responded to him calling for pledge-breakers to be barred from the primaries by reminding him that he broke the pledge too, but this is “Fox & Friends,” after all. It’s basically a Trump podcast.