Two weeks ago, I assumed that — as candidates such as Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich floundered — the GOP establishment would migrate to Marco Rubio and then Ted Cruz before coalescing around Donald Trump if and only if he emerged as the inevitable nominee.
I may be wrong. Simply put, I keep underestimating establishment distaste for Cruz. In conversations with establishment figures I respect — people who love this country and have nothing substantial to lose from either a Trump or Cruz presidency — I’m detecting a preference for Trump.
Erick Erickson has written that this preference is tactical. The way he figures it, “the Establishment thinking is that if Trump beats Cruz in Iowa, they can then beat Trump with Rubio, Bush, or Christie.”
I’m sure that some strategists see it that way, but others are far less optimistic about anyone else’s chances against Cruz or Trump, and are asking themselves which candidate would make a better nominee and, potentially, a better president.