Just when you think it can’t get any worse for the sober-minded, cool-headed traditionalists in the Republican Party, it does. They see their gold-plated gate crasher taken down a peg, only to find themselves faced with the prospect of kissing up to Ted Cruz.
On Saturday he matched Donald Trump’s two victories, in Louisiana and Kentucky, with two of his own, in Kansas and Maine. He got substantially more delegates from the four contests overall than Trump did.
And it was like the cosmically mischievous twist in an O. Henry story. The prayers, pleading and plotting of G.O.P. elders were answered: A rival candidate indeed gathered some steam, restrained Trump’s momentum and staked an equal claim to at least one news cycle’s headlines. But that candidate was a creature they find every bit as loathsome as the crass billionaire, if not more so.