GOP Establishment ‘Using Cruz as Cats-Paw’ to ‘Nominate an Establishment Figure’

Pollster and political strategist Pat Caddell, a mainstay of the “Political Insiders” roundtable on Fox Report Sunday, joined SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon on Thursday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily to talk about the state of the Republican primary race and the hopes of the GOP establishment for an eventual nominee other than the current candidates running in Wisconsin.

Caddell didn’t like the intensity of the personal attacks between the Trump and Cruz camps, especially since the looming possibility of a brokered convention would make it difficult to unite the party for the general election under the best of circumstances.  Party unity after an ugly, personal brawl between Trump and Cruz will be even harder, especially if the Republican Establishment is still plotting to brush both of them aside, and insert an entirely different candidate after the first round of voting at the convention.

On that subject, Caddell speculated that many of the delegates Donald Trump has won during the state primary races have been set up as “faux delegates” who will abandon him after the first round of voting, possibly allowing the Party to introduce an entirely new candidate, such as current Speaker of the House and 2012 vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan .

Caddell said he believes the GOP Establishment is “using Cruz as a cats-paw.”

“Look, you don’t really think that Jeb Bush, and Lindsay Graham, and some of those who have endorsed … Marco Rubio you don’t really think they want Ted Cruz, do you?” Caddell asked.  “They’re using him to stop Trump.”

This strategy will face a crucial test in Wisconsin’s primary on Tuesday, where Caddell noted the generally reliable Marquette poll was showing “a huge surge for Cruz.”  He found such a surge believable, given that Governor Scott Walker and other potent political forces in the state have aligned behind the senator from Texas, while Trump has been “off-balance” in Wisconsin.

“I think the odds are the Trump is the decided underdog right now,” said Caddell, predicting that a big Cruz win in Wisconsin would make it “very difficult” for Trump to collect the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the first round of balloting at the Republican National Convention.  Also, a loss in Wisconsin will “energize” those who wish to block Trump from winning the nomination.

“It depends on how he recovers, and how the electorate that’s been pushing him recovers,” said Caddell.  “There’s a Quinnipiac poll out this morning that shows him with 56% of the vote in New York.  He’s never been higher than 30 in Wisconsin, but he’s going back to his home territory.  New Jersey is winner-take-all.  California is a big campaign.”

If Trump can’t recover and get the delegates he needs, Caddell thought Senator Cruz would likely find himself discarded after the first ballot at the convention, his usefulness to the Party bosses at an end.

“If they can stop Trump, then Cruz will pick up some more on the second ballot… but I don’t think they’re gonna nominate him,” he explained.  “I think they will then move to nominate, to try to nominate an Establishment figure, someone who hasn’t run.  I think that will blow the Republican Party up.”

Caddell said the GOP Establishment is “terrified of Trump,” and also opposed to Cruz, because “they are worried about their arrangements being broken up, their power.”  

He said these Establishment politicians would “absolutely” rather lose the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton than win with Trump or Cruz.  Conversely, the voters who have propelled Trump and Cruz to victory over a platoon of more Establishment-approved candidates are unlikely to “reconcile” themselves to an Establishment pick inserted at the Republican National Convention.