Will Susana Martinez be the Republican nominee?
The case for Ted Cruz
Let’s say that Trump reaches the convention with less than a majority of the delegates. If the GOPe takes the attitude that they will let the votes fall where they may, I think it’s very likely that Cruz wins the nomination. I suspect that the majority of delegates like Cruz, and they will be predisposed to vote for him because he would be the natural anti-Trump choice given that he did second-best in winning delegates. The GOPe may hate him, but they control the party through their access to rich donors and their influence with elected politicians and the mainstream media. The foot soldiers of the Party tend to be TrueCon anti-abortion types, and I think the delegates will be disproportionately made up of foot-soldier types.
But surely the GOPe would see that a Cruz nomination would be a disaster, right?
It’s hard to imagine Trump not having a strong plurality of the delegates. Any result but a Trump nomination will cause his very loyal followers to feel that the election was stolen from him, and a large number of them will sit out on election day, or may even vote Democratic to spite the Republican Party establishment. The GOPe will expect Trump to be a sore loser about it and encourage such behavior.
Meanwhile, Cruz is a candidate who only appeals to the evangelical TrueCon base. It’s hard to imagine any swing voters swinging for him, and his hardcore fire-and-brimstone anti-abortion conservatism might even turn off moderate Republicans who voted for McCain and Romney.
The mainstream media has been giving Cruz a pass because they hate Trump more. But once Trump is gone, they will go full-throttle against Cruz, and if Trump is Hitler, they will paint Cruz as Mussolini.
And on top of all that, he was born in Canada. Is he even legally qualified to run? Do you think Hillary would not use that against him? Hillary will do anything to win the election.
The GOPe hates Cruz, so I doubt they will feel any personal motivation to overlook his flaws.
The case for some other white male
Why would the GOPe encourage a contested convention (by not supporting Trump now and helping him to win a majority) only to give the nomination to Cruz who is just as bad as Trump? No, clearly they would want to use a contested convention to nominate a candidate who they view as being better than either Trump or Cruz.
Of course there’s an assumption here that they have the power to do that. The GOPe has proven itself pretty incompetent during the last year, so I wouldn’t necessarily assume it’s a 100% given that they have the power to thwart Cruz and convince the delegates that they should rally around someone else. But assuming that they do, or at least that they might try to do that, what’s their game plan?
Three white males have been commonly floated around as possible nominees: John Kasich (because he’s the last “establishment lane” candidate left standing), Mitt Romney (because he won the nomination last time), and Paul Ryan (I guess for the same reason they selected him for Vice President four years ago, although I’m not sure that I understand the reason).
But does the GOPe seriously think any of those guys could beat Hillary? In addition to Trump’s loyal supporters sitting out the election, the GOP also faces the prospect of Cruz’s loyal supporters also sitting out the election, because they too will feel that the nomination was stolen from them.
In the previous two presidential elections, the establishment white male candidate lost. What swing voters will Kasich, Ryan, or Mitt-round-two win in 2016 that they couldn’t win in 2012? Add on top of that the fact that the electorate is slightly less white (and therefore more Democratic) than it was four years ago. And then subtract the unhappy Trump and Cruz supporters who sit out the election. The result is a huge loss to Hillary. But at least the GOPe demonstrated to the mainstream media that they don’t support a racist like Trump, or a crazy reactionary like Cruz. The GOPe believes that if they only suck up enough to the mainstream media, the mainstream media will finally see them for the good guys that they are, and even come to realize that abortion is really bad and they should be opposed to it. While the GOPe is smart enough to see why Cruz, Kasich, Ryan or Romney won’t defeat Hillary, they are not smart enough to see the flaws in their standard mode of thinking.
If only they could find a Hispanic to run…
The GOPe continues to believe that the future of the party lies with winning more of the Hispanic vote. They believe that Hispanics are “natural conservatives” and if only they could convince Hispanics of their goodwill towards them, they would win them over from the Democrats.
Once upon a time, Rubio was the Great Hispanic Hope for an element of the GOPe. No doubt many of them are thinking that if only they had consolidated around him back in 2015 and drove Bush, Kasich and Christie from the race, but especially Bush with his massively funded Super PAC, Rubio would right now be the presumptive nominee.
They could still try to get Rubio nominated, but Rubio has the big aura of LOSER written all over him. Trump totally trounced him in his home state. How can he win over independents in a general election if he only won 27% of his home state among Republican voters?
Nope Rubio is damaged goods.
If only they could find some other Hispanic out there, preferably a governor who doesn’t have any sort of legislative record that could be used against him or her, preferably a governor who has spent at least five years in office so he or she has enough seasoning to be considered ready for higher office. Even better if this person was a woman. Wouldn’t that be exciting? Now where can the Republicans pull someone like this out of their trick hat?
The case for Susana Martinez
There is a such a person in New Mexico! Susana Martinez was elected governor in 2010. She never served in Congress, so there’s no legislative record on which they can pin anything on her. She’s a blank slate to be written over. And she even has a law degree!
Picking Susana Martinez fits in with the established modus operandi of the GOPe. They believe that they can swing elections with an “exciting” pick. That’s how we wound up with Sarah Palin in 2008, and with Ryan in 2012 instead of the older and therefore more “boring” Rob Portman. She can win the Hispanic vote! She can win the women’s vote! She can win every vote! She slices and dices!
And even if she loses for the same reason that the other previously-discussed candidates lose (because too many unhappy Trump and Cruz supporters sit out), at least the loss can be considered a strategic loss that moves the party in the right direction and garners the praise of liberals in the mainstream media.
I’m not saying I agree with this logic, I am just telling you what I think that GOPe must be thinking right now. They are probably already plotting a Martinez dark-horse nomination, but are keeping it very tightly to themselves.
It looks like someone on PredictIt was kind enough to sell me 2000 Susana Martinez shares for only one cent each. This $20 investment will be worth $2000 if I turn out to be right.