Donald Trump won the Nevada Republican Caucus yesterday, with a slightly larger share of the vote than Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio combined. He’s won in the South, in New England, and now in the West, and he damn near won in Iowa. Unless something completely different happens six days from now—massive Super Tuesday party at my house,1 you guys—he will win the Republican nomination. One way for something different to happen would be if a candidate now vying for second place dropped out and threw his support behind the other. But that seems unlikely when one of those candidates is Ted Cruz, who I’m sure is fully prepared to accept Rubio’s endorsement for the good of the party.
“The good of the party” doesn’t mean much this year. In 2016, Republicans in the GOP seem outnumbered by conservatives and whatever the people who follow Trump call themselves. Studs, I reckon. Writing at the increasingly sleazy Vox, Ezra Klein argues that the Republican Party is broken. Its apparatus for corralling Republican voters hasn’t worked at all this year. If anything, it has turned the Republican base against whoever is perceived as a party favorite. The entity that is the Republican Party has one job, and it is manifestly failing. Why even summon the imp Reince Priebus if he has lost his power to command?
Answer: to log a shitload of billable hours. Over at the Atlantic, David Frum addresses allegations from an anonymous bundler that Mike Murphy, director of the pro-Bush Right to Rise super PAC, billed the organization $14 million for his work during the 2016 election cycle. But that’s ridiculous, said Right to Rise treasurer Mike Spies:
We put vendor per vendor compensation caps in place to ensure that nobody made more than a certain amount of money. That amount is confidential, as is standard for most contracts; we have confidentiality provisions…There is no way any so-called bundler would have any idea how much any vendor was making.
Note that he did not say, “we paid Mike four hundred grand,” or any other number that might refute the bundler’s accusations. He only said that the amount of money anyone could make off Right to Rise had a theoretical cap, and no one could know what that cap is because it’s secret.
So while the Republican Party failed to perform its core function, making Jeb Bush president, the Jeb Bush super PAC has amply served its purpose: enriching consultants. Seriously, I could get Jeb 5% in South Carolina for, I dunno, $2 million. I can deliver Mike Murphy results at one seventh the price. Call me.2