GOP leaders surrender to Trump

Oth­er lead­ing Re­pub­lic­ans in the state have re­mained si­lent. Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who con­tro­ver­sially tweaked his own party for its un­stint­ing so­cial con­ser­vat­ism dur­ing the last pres­id­en­tial cam­paign, has been pub­licly si­lent on Trump from his perch at Purdue Uni­versity. As a prin­cipled prag­mat­ist, he would have been a power­ful voice in con­vin­cing John Kasich sup­port­ers how im­port­ant it is to sup­port Cruz—simply as a means of deny­ing Trump the nom­in­a­tion. If Kasich ends up play­ing spoil­er, Daniels’s si­lence will have spoken volumes.

Be­hind the scenes, donors are ex­hausted. Even when the stakes are the highest, many are un­will­ing to dish out more anti-Trump dough. It’s one reas­on why the “Stop Trump” groups were mostly off the air­waves in the ex­pens­ive North­east­ern states hold­ing primar­ies, giv­en the pro­hib­it­ive cost of ad­vert­ising. Mean­while, there’s little en­thu­si­asm with­in Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship circles to deny Trump the nom­in­a­tion if he comes very close to the ma­gic 1,237 num­ber. Trump’s past polit­ic­al blun­ders have quickly been for­got­ten; if he wins In­di­ana, it would take an­oth­er epic blun­der for him to blow it. With Paul Man­a­fort and a more pro­fes­sion­al staff now on board, that’s less likely to hap­pen again.

What makes this GOP sur­render so re­mark­able is that, by not fight­ing Trump more ag­gress­ively, Re­pub­lic­ans are act­ing against their own self-in­terest. This rarely hap­pens in polit­ics.