The “Politico Caucus” ― a group of well-connected flibbertigibbets who brought you such hits as “Rubio wins in Walker’s demise” and “Kasich could win a contested convention” ― have now spent two weeks evaluating Donald Trump’s post-convention performance and have suddenly decided that something deeply wrong is going on. Time for their wise counsel, everybody: “Republican insiders in key battleground states have a message for The Donald: Get out.”
Oh my. For real, you guys?
That’s according to The POLITICO Caucus — a panel of activists, strategists and operatives in 11 swing states. The majority of GOP insiders, 70 percent, said they want Trump to drop out of the race and be replaced by another Republican candidate — with many citing Trump’s drag on Republicans in down-ballot races. But those insiders still think it’s a long-shot Trump would actually end his campaign and be replaced by another GOP candidate.
A long shot, you say? Hmmm, interesting. Almost as interesting as the 30 percent of this cohort that thinks everything is going just peachy. Of course, as I look back through the Politico Caucus’ back catalog, I see that just a few weeks ago, after they’d expressed just how much they were “dreading” the Republican convention, Politico’s insiders took a measure of Trump’s performance in Cleveland and concluded that he’d “nailed it.”
“Trump gave a simple message and expanded the Republican Party: law and order, economic populism and defeat the rigged system,” said one. Another felt that he’d delivered “a very good speech” that “struck on issues and policies that people wanted to hear about” and that Trump was “absolutely right ― this is a movement, not a normal campaign.”
Another said, “He talked to the people he needed to very effectively. The speech defined the race and made him a voice for the people — something he should have done months ago.”
Hot stuff! But what happened since then? Well, hold on to your hats, people, but the Politico Caucus has since arrived at a host of very different conclusions, like “I’d rather take our chances with nearly anyone else than continue with this certain loser” and “He is an egomaniac” and “If he loses, and I believe he will, God help us all because Trump and his minions will foment an uprising of epic proportions.”
So, you know, these guys picked up on some really subtle stuff about Trump that only really came to the surface in the past 10 days. Probably stuff that only really cagey political insiders can notice. I guess the only thing left to ask this group of veteran political thought-havers is what’s going to happen next?
The Iowa Republican predicted that rumors of a Trump exit are likely only to get louder: “Talk of Trump dropping out will reach a fevered pitch next week, when his poll numbers bottom out,” the Republican said. “We need to brace ourselves.”
Brace yourselves for what? A continued career of being rich, dumb and wrong about everything?
Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.