With the Trump army enjoying another week of yuge margin victories in the popular vote, and sweeping yet again nearly 100% of the delegates, the Conservative Movement faction of the old Republican Party is struggling for a way to rationalize their continued utter defeat.
Hey, I know -- "Those states don't count since they're just worthless liberal East Coasters that will never vote Republican in a million years."
Great mindset for winning a general election, dipshits.
Then again, when you look at how the Conservative Movement has been behaving all along, it's becoming clear that they never did want to win the election. If they did, they'd have to find some way to appeal to blue states so that they'd switch at least temporarily to red. And yet they have instead doubled down on hardline rhetoric about the culture war, laissez-faire economics, and neocon foreign policy, which they know will only peel off more red states into the blue column. ("I guess they weren't that red to begin with, then -- good riddance," moans the impotent bitter culture warrior.)
These types -- from anonymous internet commenters, to talking heads, to the leader of the Cruz Cult himself -- are angry that Trump has put so many blue states into play for his brand of politics in the general election. For the right-wing culture warriors, nothing could be more desecrating of their brand than to see Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, or Massachusetts listed in the same column as Texas, Kansas, and Utah.
The Cultural Right is more disgusted by the thought of New Englanders joining the Republican tent than they are about illegals streaming over the Mexican border, or their Tea Party heroes giving Obama everything he asked for in the omnibus budget.
For these ideological purists, the Republican primary is not supposed to produce a contender for the general election. Rather, it's supposed to serve as the Conservatism Olympics, where the candidates perform in a variety of events -- stump speeches, televised debates, sit-down interviews, in-person pandering, photo ops, etc. -- and are given a Conservatism score by a panel of judges, namely the outcome of the primary or caucus or convention.
Only some of those outcomes matter, though, since we are talking about the Conservatism Olympics -- Texas, Kansas, Utah, they all count, but we can just throw out the results from New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Massachusetts.
The function of the nominating convention, then, is to formally coronate the gold medalist in the Conservatism Olympics. No one expects him to achieve anything in the general election, but that was never the point. The whole point was to stage an elaborate series of games for political athletes, creating a spellbinding spectacle for the right-wing audiences.
The candidates, their managing and consulting teams, the RNC, etc., all get to line their pockets with funds raised to put on the big show. The emotionally driven voters get to enjoy the spectacle. And the donors get to launder a shit load of money, and although getting nothing in return at the national level (their nominee will not become President), they can still enjoy influence at the local, state, and regional level.
None of the actors truly loses if the Conservative gold medalist loses in the general, so why would anything stop this circus from repeating itself every cycle?
In fact, if the contests of ideological purity kept going, pretty soon the Republicans would be glibly writing off every state except for Texas, Kansas, and Utah. "Yeah, well, Kentucky and Alabama used to be Conservative, but then they got drawn in by the Trump phenomenon, so like, nice knowin' ya." And then Texas and Kansas would get demographically replaced by Democrats, and it would be only Utah's caucus (electoral votes: 6) that mattered in the minds of the Conservative Movement.
The old Republican Party -- Wall Street shills at the top, and the Cultural Right as the base -- would have headed in that direction toward greater irrelevance, impotence, and invisibility. So the Trump movement's hostile takeover of the GOP is only saving them a slow and painful death. We are breathing new life into the party, but it is populism and nationalism that is animating the body politic, not Conservatism (or Liberalism, for that matter, on the Democrats' side).
Keep your eyes on the Cruz Cult, and you'll see the profound disconnect between their old failed style and the new winning style. They are plainly dismissive about winning any new states in the general election because that's not the point. The point is to see who scores the most points with the reddest of red states, for Conservative Movement bragging rights.
How about we cut to the chase and formally award Cruz with a gold medal in Conservatism, say at Trump Tower, and he can drop out of the race and let the Trump movement get on with the real-world business of destroying Hillary Clinton (we've already destroyed the Bush dynasty), and then on to making America great again!