Roger Simon throws in the towel and declares Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee:
La Serenissima may be among the most beautiful cities in the world but everything there seems to be done “for affect” as well. It’s all a stage set.
As was the debate Tuesday night, because, for all the back and forth, the chills and semi-thrills, the Rubio-Cruz-Paul contretemps, the desperate pleadings of Jeb Bush, the reminder by Chris Christie of what might have been if he hadn’t kowtowed to Lord Obama, Carly Fiorina telling us again that she has met Putin, Frank Luntz and all his focus groups and all the thumb-sucking wise men and women in all the ships at sea and CNBC, as they say about a mile up the Strip from the Venetian at the Monte Carlo, “les jeux sont faits.“
No more bets, ladies and gentlemen. The game is over. Donald Trump has won the nomination.
Everyone acknowledged as much, heads nodding around me in the press room, when, nearly at the end of the debate, Hugh Hewitt served up by far the most serious, in the sense of fateful, question of the night by asking Trump to answer finally whether he will support the Republican candidate under any circumstances.
The Donald smiled, stared straight into the camera with the practiced skill of a Cronkite or a Murrow, though more playful and, one reluctantly admits, winning, and acknowledged that, yes, he will. He has been treated well by all concerned and even come to like and admire many of the candidates on the stage with him. Murmurs of approval all around.
And then he administered the coup de television. Looking square into the lens at America he promised to beat Hillary Clinton in November. And he did so in full recognition by all concerned, barring force majeure, he already was the nominee and everybody knew it. He was taking a graceful bow.
Game, set, match, tournament and whatever they say in bocce.
I wouldn’t count out the inevitable shenanigans on the part of the Republican establishment. But regardless of their best efforts, it is obvious that Trump has successfully defied every expectation and prediction of his collapse.
Of course, it didn’t help the establishment that they lined up behind Jeb Bush, arguably the worst mainstream candidate in recent history.
“We can’t disassociate ourselves from peace-loving Muslims.”
– Jeb Bush
Or from rainbow-farting unicorns.