My fact checker says that Goldberg is absolutely correct. Any loss is on Trump, not the National Review and all those other insiders.
I’ll make one last point on all this. I think it’s fascinating how so many people are already pre-blaming a Trump loss on the #NeverTrumpers. My old friend John Nolte seems blinded with rage at all of us, tweeting, “If Trump loses to Hillary . . . I will forever blame #NeverTrump.” Herman Cain is on Fox every five minutes ranting and bullying Trump opponents as fools and de facto Hillary supporters. I am beset by Lilliputian trolls on Twitter insisting I am pro-Hillary (a strange case to make if you read my chapter on her in Liberal Fascism — or quite literally anything I've ever written about her).Now of course Cain is not on Fox News every five minutes any more than Goldberg is. And his column contains annoying butt hurt and CYA that turns me off.
But his main point, that Never Trump cannot hurt The Donald, is valid. Hell, they could not stop him in the primaries when their size was was proportionally much larger than it will be in November. Like the Japanese soldiers stranded on those islands after World War II, there are not enough Never Trump voters worth worrying about. Unless they vote for Hillary Clinton out of spite, they do not matter.
This is not to say that the National Review, the Weekly Standards and all the little tax-exempt think tanks their contributors work for made a mistake in melodramatically standing athwart history. No, it was great branding that should knock down bigger checks from donors. Bill Kristol should cash in with his next books. I suggest "Athwart History."
That does not mean they are insincere in their beliefs. I believe that they really do think he is unpresidential.
But there are marketing opportunities and I say Cruz will do quite well next year.
I remember the Goldwater Conservatives, who were stereotyped as little old ladies in tennis shoes when I was a child. I imagine a post-general election Cruz working that crowd like Oliver North worked a similar crowd in the 1980s and 1990s. It's a good life. Harold Stassen (whom I interviewed in 1984) was still working his near miss in the 1948 presidential race decades later. Heck, John Edwards got Bunny Melton to pay off his mistress.
So as a marketing tool, Never Trump rocks.
As a political force, Never Trump is non-existent. Cruz lawyered a win in Colorado and Scott Walker handed him a win in Wisconsin without any help from Never Trump.
Looking to November in April, I do not feel as confident as I did about November 2010 in April 2010. But I do know Cruz could not defeat Clinton, because he could not beat Trump. But that does not mean Cruz won't milk that storyline for the rest of his life.