The last Republican debate was a subdued affair, with none of the yelling and low blows of the earlier debates. This reportedly came at the direction of Republican officials, who told the candidates that they needed to start thinking about the general election and to assure the public that they would all rally behind whoever gets the nomination, which looks like it is going to be Donald Trump.
Before the debate, Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chair, said as much to the crowd.
It sounds like the Republican establishment has reconciled itself to a Trump victory. Will they try to co-opt him? Or is Trump, for all of his fiery rhetoric, basically the kind of candidate the Republican establishment always wants: another moderate, big-government Republican with liberal social values and ties to big business?
I mean, talk about a country club Republican. Donald Trump builds country clubs!
From David Martosko, No fight-night at debate: Priebus says GOP will unite no matter what, Daily Mail:
Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus addressed the audience at the University of Miami before the debate began, using his time to calm the GOP’s fraying nerves.‘This party is going to support the nominee, whoever that is, 100 per cent. There’s no question about that,’ he said.
Unspoken, but hanging heavy in the room, was the name of Donald Trump.
The billionaire front-runner has roiled the RNC with an unconventional slash-and-burn campaign style, trampling the party’s more traditional candidates one by one since mid-2015.
The two ‘establishment’ candidates who remain – Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich – are in third and fourth place among the quartet of candidates.
Republicans, Priebus insisted on Thursday night, ‘are going to come together, unify in Cleveland, and get behind our nominee. That’s what we do as Republicans.’
Cleveland will be the site of July’s Republican national Convention.
‘Any one of these four gentlemen would be a universe better than Hillary Clinton or a socialist like Bernie Sanders,’ Priebus said.