How the GOP debate rammed home Republicans' terrible choice

Hay was made last night of Trump’s latest twist on his go-to theme — the almighty deal. But the “Good Deal” he promised merely followed, however vaguely, in the grand presidential tradition of our New, Square, and Fair Deals. The real nightmare aroused by Trump is that with him as the nominee or the president, there is no deal at all. Amid today’s vast uncertainty over America’s near-term future, Trump’s sweeping promises come off too often as a satanic parody of hope and change.

Meanwhile Cruz, for many insiders and outsiders alike, still comes off as the consummate cynic, the guy who thinks he can represent himself in a lawsuit against the Devil and get himself off on a technicality. Refusing to go for Trump’s jugular, dumping attack ads on Rubio in Florida, he, too, thinks he can still win. Will his supporters buckle under the pressure? Will he finally fight too dirty? Will he snatch victory from Trump only to be stuck with Trump’s foulest constituents? The questions circle like vultures.

And beyond Cleveland awaits Clinton, the candidate who might or might not bring back ’90s neoliberalism, ’90s interventionism, and the uniquely dispiriting ’90s brand of cronyism, fueled by the Sid Blumenthal jet set that has been partying like it’s 1999 since, well, 1999.