Well, the remaining three Republican presidential candidates held a town hall meeting hosted by CNN and Anderson Cooper on Tuesday evening and while the hours-long spectacle scored a "zero" on substance it clocked in at a solid "nine" on entertainment value.
Arguably, the two high points (or low points, depending on how you look at it) came when Cooper first pressed Cruz on his now famous “Muslim patrols” then later asked Trump to weigh in on the completely absurd “war of the wives”. “He started it,” Trump told the crowd. “With all due respect sir, that’s the argument of a five-year-old,” Cooper remarked, incredulous.
Anyway, if there was a meaningful takeaway from the event it was that all three candidates either explicitly or implicitly reneged on their promises to unite behind whoever the GOP nominee ends up being.
Asked if he still intended to pledge his support for a Republican nominee other than himself Trump said the following: “No, I don’t anymore. I have been treated very unfairly by the establishment.”
Cruz attempted to dodge the question when asked by Cooper if he would support Trump should the billionaire get the nod. The Texas senator initially responded by saying the frontrunner would not be the nominee anyway so the question was largely asinine, but when pressed he said he “is not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks [his] wife and family."
"Let me tell you my solution to that," Cruz said. "Donald is not going to be the GOP nominee. We're going to beat him. "Nominating Donald Trump would be an absolute train wreck," he continued. "I think it would hand the general election to Hillary Clinton."
For his part, John Kasich tried to preserve his generally positive demeanor (which he hopes will set him apart from Trump and Cruz in the hearts and minds of voters) but did admit that he likely couldn’t bring himself to back a Trump nomination. "If the nominee is somebody who's hurting the country and dividing the country I can't stand behind him,” the Ohio governor said, a clear shot at the brazen real estate mogul.
"The Republican National Committee pledge was initially conceived last year as an thinly veiled attempt to push Trump to rule out a third party bid," Bloomberg wrote this morning, adding that "as Trump cemented his lead in the race, the gambit appeared to have backfired."
Yes, it certainly does "appear to have backfired," and the RNC knows it. Here's GOP pollster Frank Luntz:
Perhaps "dead" is too strong. "Down for the count," might be more accurate, but at the end of the day, the GOP is probably being a bit disingenuous with regard to Trump. While the likes of Carly Fiorina probably mean it when they say things like "he doesn't represent my party," the establishment is largely hiding behind phony moral grandstanding and vacuous platitudes about "values" when the real reason they don't support Trump is that they don't think he can beat Hillary Clinton.
And maybe they're right. But it's probably time they recognize that no matter what the latest national polls say, the idea that Ted Cruz or John Kasich are going to best Clinton in the national election is a joke. Trump, on the other hand, might just be crazy enough to pull it off.