With a key moment in the primary season approaching, the Republican Party is falling over itself to unseat its leading candidate: Donald Trump.
As the New York mogul continues to pick up wins in advance of next week’s Super Tuesday, prominent members of the party have launched a series of desperate, often hapless attempts to thwart his momentum, reports the New York Times.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is organizing lawmakers to break with Trump should he win the party nomination, but people can’t seem to hold their positions from one week to the next. Senator Marco Rubio’s attempt to win over New Jersey governor Chris Christie has backfired spectacularly, with the former candidate endorsing Trump this week. And at a meeting of Republican donors and governors earlier this month, Maine governor Paul R. LePage was an outspoken Trump critic. He urged his fellow governors to draft an open letter to the nation warning voters against the candidate, according to the Times. A week later, he endorsed him, too.
If this all seems like a panicked, disorganized mess—well, it apparently feels that way from the inside too.
“There is no mechanism. There is no smoke-filled room. If there is, I’ve never seen it, nor do I know anyone who has,” former Utah governor and Mitt Romney advisor Michael O. Leavitt told the Times. “This is going to play out in the way that it will.”
Atlantic editor and former George W. Bush speechwriter took to Twitter to vent the frustrations of the party’s more rational observers.
Emergencies don’t leave much time for self-reflection. But these last-ditch plans to stop the man who has captured a critical number of GOP voters’ imaginations suggest a certain disregard for what constituents seem to want.
If a selling point of Trump’s message is that the GOP establishment is out of touch with its base, then openly planning to overrule the base’s stated preference seems to only prove that point.