After the public seemed to make it extraordinarily clear that they did not give a tinker’s damn about Mitt Romney’s opinion on the Republican primary race, it did not stop the 2012 nominee from carrying his message far and wide. Now he’s back again, and he has a prediction about the race that is bound to rankle the ever-hopeful John Kasich.
“If Kasich and Cruz are both going at it aggressively until the very end then I think Trump gets it on the first ballot,” Romney said on David Gregory’s podcast this week.
This, of course, is Romney’s worst nightmare. He has been one of the most outspoken members of the #NeverTrump movement, even going as far as to encourage voters to go to the polls with the intention of spoiling it for the billionaire. His cynical strategy: Vote for whomever has the best shot of stealing the win away from Trump. Then we’ll just figure it all out at the convention.
But it would appear that Romney is beginning to have second thoughts about how the convention might play out. “My guess is some delegates might like to fly around on Air Trump or perhaps get a membership to Mar-a-Lago,” Romney said. He’s now concerned that it’s not enough just to keep Trump away from 1,237. He thinks the frontrunner has more than enough perks up his sleeve to close up the gap in Cleveland.
Romney said he was unsympathetic to Trump’s complaints about the nomination process. “After all, these rules are a lot simpler than the rules of foreign affairs or the rules of our economy,” Romney said. “If you want to be president, you are going to have to deal with things far more complicated than Republican delegate rules.”
Hey, it’s that old chestnut again. At what point has Donald Trump ever claimed that the Republican delegate rules were too complicated for him to understand? He’s not claiming that. He’s echoing the complaints of millions of voters who are only now realizing that they don’t have the democratic power they thought they had. This isn’t a Trump invention; in fact, it’s very similar to the outrage over the “super delegates” on the Democratic side. It has nothing to do with how simple or complicated the system is; it is about how much say Americans have in choosing the next president.
The Republican Party – if not the entire electoral process itself – is in the midst of a serious perception problem, and they don’t seem to realize that repeating “it’s the rules” over and over again is going to solve it. They may be able to devise some chicanery that can rob Trump of the nomination, but what are they going to do about his supporters?