“Cruz has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in D.C., whereas Trump hasn’t, and Trump up until this year was pretty much a player,” said Craig Shirley, a longtime GOP strategist and charter member of the establishment. “Ultimately, the Washington establishment deep down — although they find Trump tacky or distasteful — they think that they ultimately can work with him. Deep down, a lot of people think it is an act.”…
Among some seasoned Republicans, the animus towards Cruz is so strong that a schadenfreudian hope has begun to emerge. In a contest against Trump, the thinking goes, it might be best for Cruz to win the nomination, only to suffer a lopsided general election defeat, proving once and for all the true limits of his appeal. It is taken for granted that the party under Cruz cannot win. And, in Washington, life will go on.
“I’m rooting for Hillary,” said one half-joking somebody in the GOP establishment. “She can’t win a mandate, so we hold the House and don’t get slaughtered in the Senate. We will have a great midterm in 2018 running against her,” he said, requesting anonymity for obvious reasons. “We are a great opposition party.”
A longtime GOP hand who is active in the 2016 elections added that there is a “feeling that with Trump, it’s easier for House and Senate candidates to separate themselves from the top of the ticket versus a fellow senator and particularly one who is running a hard-right campaign with no apparent desire to do outreach to independents and minorities.”