The forced march to the party conventions continued this weekend with another slate of primary contests. Once again, your humble tour guides are here to point out the signposts and landmarks.
Ted Cruz’s performance this weekend — in which he ran up the score in states that he was expected to win, and kept close margins in the states where he was expected to lose — demonstrates what’s been clear for a while: He, not Marco Rubio, is the Republican Party’s best shot at stopping Donald Trump before the convention. This is a bit like when Clarice Starling gets Hannibal Lecter’s help to catch Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs, a parallel given additional resonance by the fact that Cruz also looks like he’s wearing the face of another man like a makeshift latex mask.
Mitt Romney’s Ego
The 2012 GOP nominee for president leveled a blistering, if stilted, attack on Donald Trump, calling him a phony and a fraud in a vicious speech on Thursday. Historians had to go back 100 years to find the last time a party’s former nominee had gotten so personal when attacking the party’s current front-runner — to when Theodore Roosevelt called William Howard Taft “a fathead” and “a dimwit” who had “the brains of guinea pig.”
That Trump did a little more poorly than was expected on Saturday probably has nothing to do with Romney’s speech, but ol’ Mittens isn’t going to let a little post hoc ergo propter hoc harsh his buzz. Not only has Romney not endorsed another candidate, he also declined to rule out accepting the nomination at a brokered convention! It takes colossal ego to run for president at all, but it’s hard to imagine the gluttonous self-regard it would take to not rule out accepting a nomination after receiving zero primary votes, and after unsuccessfully running for president — twice. Fortunately, Romney is here to show us the way!
After a week in which the last two Republican presidential nominees both announced that they think his candidacy burns more than a mouthful of Trump Vodka — and yet another debate in which he came off as less than presidential — Trump is still winning by enough to keep anyone else from scoring the nomination. His supporters also remain as undeterred as ever. On Saturday — only two days after Trump alluded to his dick on live television — a woman in Kansas told the AP, "I adore Trump. I think his heart is as big as his hands. And as big as other things, as he says."
Bernie Sanders won caucuses in Nebraska and Kansas, but Clinton won Louisiana — the biggest prize this weekend — by nearly 50 percentage points. She still has a giant lead in the race, and the next few weeks look particularly Clinton-friendly. While the rest of the election starts to look more and more like Mad Max: Fury Road, being the slow and steady car in the back determined to wait until everyone else crashes before barreling in, picking up the guitar, and playing a victory ballad isn’t the worst idea.
The complete failure of the GOP establishment to stop Donald Trump from steamrolling the party has led to proclamations of the death of the smoke-filled room — that image of shadowy insiders and power brokers secretly meeting to overrule the will of the people. Then again, if no candidate goes into the GOP convention with the number of delegates necessary to win the nomination outright, we’re headed for a brokered convention — which means the smoke-filled room might already be making a comeback!
People Who Like Yoga
Not only are yoga studios probably making a killing as stressed-out political junkies descend upon them for a bit of peace, but yoga has also become a weird recurring subplot in the GOP race over the past week. During the stream-of-consciousness junk drawer that was the last Republican debate, Cruz told Trump to just "breathe." Rubio, who always looks like he’s in the middle of an intense hot-yoga session when under the lights of a debate stage, interrupted to say, "When they’re done with the yoga, can I answer a question?" He later added that Trump was "very flexible" — referring to his tendency to flip-flop — “so you never know.”
Because no political campaign can let a good joke stand without ruining it through overuse, Rubio's campaign then started offering fake #DumpTrump yoga pants on its website ("yoga pants” was just a synonym for "$10 donation"). Cruz jumped in to kill the joke even more, offering real yoga merchandise at his campaign store. A Ted Cruz yoga mat can be yours for only $35.
We have changed our minds. This is obviously a big loss for anyone who likes yoga.
People Who Like Overstuffed Blockbusters
If the 2016 presidential election didn’t have enough of a summer-movie-esque plot to please you yet (what with the threat of a last-minute convention plot twist, the corny dialogue, the amusing minor characters, and the villains with complex backstories), Arnold Schwarzenegger is here to make your day. The former governor endorsed John Kasich — on Snapchat — on Sunday.
"Thanks, Arnold. Love you, man," the Ohio governor replied. If Kasich loses, maybe he'll get to star in a new action-movie franchise where Schwarzenegger and Kasich team up Avengers-style with Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal and save the world, one eviscerated budget at a time.
Whoever Manages to Come Up With Captions for These Trump Rally Photos
Donald Trump's Totally Normal Hands, Which Do Not At All Look Like Wrinkled Ginger Root
Trump seemed completely unbothered by Rubio’s comments making fun of his totally proportional hands that definitely don’t look like someone stitched baby doll hands to his wrists. It makes sense that he shrugged off the attack on his hands, since, as is obvious to anyone, they definitely don’t look like someone accidentally shrank a normal set of hands in the wash, nor like the deal with the devil upon which his candidacy rests had a clause in it giving him abnormally small hands with stubby fingers. His hands, which require no real explanation or justification (like perhaps trying to destroy a horcrux and having his hands cruelly cursed), are surely not a sensitive spot with Donald Trump. Because his hands definitely don't look like a crayon drawing of hands by a small child who has trouble drawing hands and so draws them incredibly small so as not to draw attention to the inaccuracy.
Like Pinocchio, Rubio is a puppet given life and sent on a quest, this time to find the pundit who could speak the magical words turning him into a real candidate in whom voters were actually interested, rather than a shoddy marionette, a construction of the Republican establishment’s wish-fulfillment fantasies of having a Barack Obama of their own. That journey seemed even longer after this weekend, another in which Rubio failed to demonstrate his ability to win states that don’t rhyme with, uh ... anecdotal (close enough). He had a little bit more luck attracting votes outside the 50 states; Rubio won the Puerto Rico primary decisively after campaigning there this weekend. And his faith in his role as the Great Right Hope remains undiminished, so he at least has that going for him. "Tonight we will have more delegates than we did last night," he said this weekend. "This map only gets better for us." Aw. Isn’t that cute. Let's all pray for him to find his Blue Fairy soon.
The state just hosted a bunch of presidential candidates and was the biggest delegate prize on Saturday, but that bit of attention doesn't hide the truth that Louisiana is in a very bad place, thanks to another presidential candidate it probably wishes it could have gotten rid of a long time ago. As the Washington Post reported last week, Bobby Jindal left the state's finances devastated in his attempt to impress national Republicans — and we all know how well that plan worked. Now, the new governor has to clean up the mess, and will have to slash essential programs and raise taxes in order to make it happen.
Marco Rubio's Self-Esteem
The above quote might make it look like Rubio's confidence is intact, but his thirsty opponents are going to cut it with a thousand caustic remarks over the next few days. And they’ve already started: Trump said of "little Marco" on Saturday, "Rubio had a very, very bad night, and personally I’d call for him to drop out of the race. ... As a party, we should come together and stop this foolishness." Cruz was a bit more subtle in his Rubio bashing, saying on Face the Nation, "If you want to beat him, you got to beat him at the ballot box. And our campaign is the only campaign that has demonstrated we can do so over and over."
House of Cards
The fourth season of the White House drama/trashy soap hit Netflix this weekend, but this season's presidential election story line is hardly weirder or more ridiculous than the actual election. In fact, the show’s cast of intentionally evil, sociopathic antiheroes are probably a bit more sympathetic than the GOP’s current slate of presidential candidates. The writers' room must be tearing out their hair at being one-upped by reality.
Sorry, guys. Donald Trump, who "was a really good student at the best school in the country," told a crowd in Kansas this weekend that his nickname for Cruz was Lyin' Ted. "How would you spell that? L-Y-E-N, with a big apostrophe." This isn't the first time the Republicans have had spelling issues, either. Two weeks ago, Rubio made fun of a Trump tweet, laughing at Trump spelling choker "C-H-O-K-E-R." Which, as you can see, is ... you know ... the correct spelling of the word. Last month, Politico asked a spelling bee winner to give Trump some help: "Maybe, just, you know, look at the words?"
A Florida man who tried to sue President Obama for not being a natural-born citizen just tried to get Rubio and Cruz kicked off the ballot in his state for the same reason. The Miami Herald reported, "Lawyers for the candidates argue that [the plaintiff] hasn't proved that he is harmed by Cruz and Rubio appearing on the ballot, so he has no standing to proceed with his case." The judge looking at the situation agreed and threw out the case. Now we can go back to actually debating the many substantive flaws of each candidate!
Our National Dignity and Character
Republican candidates were talking about their penises at the debate, and we don’t mean in the metaphorical sense usually implied when talking about “dick-measuring contests.” We mean, like, they were actually talking about the size of their physical, corporeal, literal genitals in a live, nationally televised debate. Somewhere in his grave, the spirit of George Washington tosses and turns, yearning for dreamless oblivion.