Let the backroom deals commence!

A group of about 50 religious conservatives led by the odious Family Research Council and its equally odious leader Tony Perkins met in secret to see who they would collectively throw their support behind in the Republican race. They felt that Republicans lost in previous elections because the party’s establishment put forward candidates who were not conservative enough

The initiative, spearheaded by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, had originally brought together a loose coalition of some 50 like-minded conservative leaders from around the country. Together, beginning in early 2014, the group — referred to internally simply as “The GROUP” — met every few months to discuss the state of the race, to pray for guidance, and to conduct a straw poll to see which candidates enjoyed the most support at each stage of the campaign.

It had all built to this day and to this meeting, where members would vote until they reached a verdict. Once finalized, their decision would represent the culmination of an oft-dismissed undertaking that began several years earlier and aimed at one thing: coalescing the conservative movement’s leaders behind a single presidential candidate in a show of strength and solidarity that would position them to defeat the establishment-backed candidate in the head-to-head stage of the 2016 Republican primary.

But it turned out that the 75% supermajority needed for presenting a united front was hard to achieve with neither Ted Cruz nor Marco Rubio making it until the fifth round of voting when finally Cruz got it with Perkins canvassing hard for him.

But these conservative leaders are going to announce their endorsements individually over time to give the impression of a snowball effect in favor of Cruz and to avoid letting on that it was a backroom deal, the kind of thing that is out of favor these days and which Trump would seize upon to disparage.

Three prominent participants — direct-mail pioneer and longtime activist Richard Viguerie, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, and The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats – announced their support of Cruz within 72 hours of the meeting at the Sheraton.

But this barely scratches the surface. An avalanche of endorsements is forthcoming from conservative leaders, including James Dobson, founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family, Ken Cuccinelli of Senate Conservatives Fund, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, and of course, from Perkins himself.

So it looks like the battle lines are being drawn between Donald Trump (the outsider), Ted Cruz (the religious conservative establishment favorite), and Marco Rubio (the party establishment favorite).


  1. says

    Odious, malodorous, either way the FRC stinks. Ain’t it funny how those who claim to hate monarchies are the ones who want to play kingmaker?

    The republicans have become what I always envisioned would happen to fundamentalist christianity in the US. They have become more and more obsessed with “ideological purity”, and deludedly believe that the majority of the population will follow their dictums instead of what’s actually happening (people are becoming disgusted and turning away). As the fanatics get closer and closer to the “purity” they seek, the potential voting pool will continue to shrink. It will become a destructive battle for power among the few. It is only when it’s too late that they’ll realize there’s no one left to lead -- or in the presidential election, no one left to vote for them except the fanatics.

    It’s entirely possible the republican ticket’s “electoral college” total will be in double digits, which hasn’t happened since Reagan and Nixon. Reagan’s two “landslides” were manufactured by the media (i.e. early returns from the east caused westerners to switch and vote for Reagan). Finishing that low could be the final nail in the extremists’ collective coffin. We hope.


  2. brucegee1962 says

    Man, those religiocons who were gushing so much about Carson just dropped him like a hot potato, didn’t they? I wonder why.

  3. raven says

    Oddly enough, the Oogedy Boogedy xians last two candidates weren’t even Oogedy Boogedies.
    McCain who is a Mainline xian and not convincing as a fundie. Which is why he picked Sarah Palin as VP, picked by Tony Perkins and James Dobson. It’s doubtful Palin was a net positive, being rather stupid and incoherent.

    The last one wasn’t even a xian. Romney the Reptilian shape shifting…Mormon.

    IMO, a choice between Trump and Cruz isn’t a choice. It’s the frying pan or the fire.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    Let the backroom deals commence… it won’t make any difference. Trump owns it already. Consider: any other politician who suggested simply banning all Muslims even Muslims who are US citizens from entering the US would be tarred and feathered and see their support evaporate. That’s the script, that’s how politics used to work, that’s how it still works for all the other candidates. Trump said it and his lead got bigger.
    George Pataki, former governor of New York and presumably not a blithering idiot, was asked his thoughts on this matter in a debate on Tuesday and said this:

    Absolutely, it’s one of many absurd things this president has said, to target a religion and say that regardless of whether you’re an American soldier who’s fought on our side or allies we have overseas simply because of your religion we’re going ban you is un-American, it is unconstitutional and it is wrong

    My emphasis. We’re done here.

  5. Nick Gotts says

    We’re done here.

    Er, no. We’re not. Despite your delusions, and those of Scott Adams, Trump has not yet won the nomination, let alone the presidency.

  6. File Thirteen says

    Predictions: Trump wins the nomination, shocking and confusing the Republican base. He then moves to schmooze mode, saying he’s not nearly as black as he’s been painted. He backs down on a lot of things, which he knows will only help him. For example now he’s held an unconscionable line against muslims, backing down helps him win the moderate vote (eg. by finding a US soldier hero who’s also a muslim and saying all muslims should be like that and that’s what he really meant all along) while still having the extremist vote sewn up because he’s undeniably the most hardcore. And the libertarians love him because “he can’t be bought”.

    Prepare for the fight, it won’t be easy.

  7. Nick Gotts says

    File Thirteen@7,

    Yes, that’s one possible future, but less likely now than it was a couple of months ago, because two viable candidates (Cruz and Rubio) have emerged from the pack chasing him. If I had to pick one of the three to win the nomination at this moment, I’d put my money on Cruz.

  8. StevoR says

    @ ^ Nick Gotts : I very much doubt that Ted Cruz whose own party hates his guts will end up being the Republican nominee. I think he’s currently having his 15 minutes as the not-Trump alternative but doubt that’ll last long just as Carson already seems to have failed and much as happened last US Presidential election cycle with the sequence of not-Rmoneys. (Remember that? The whole string of almost everyone but Mittens was at one stage or another seen as plausible alternative but in the end..)

    I suspect and kinda hope it’ll still eventually be Jeb! (Bush!!!) or maybe Lindsey Graham that finally becomes the chosen runner up to Hillary Clinton. We’re not even into 2016 and the first primaries yet remember and there’s still a political near-eternity till the election.

    @4. raven :

    It’s doubtful Palin was a net positive, being rather stupid and incoherent.

    Wow! Talk about an understatement there!

    The last one wasn’t even a xian. Romney the Reptilian shape shifting…Mormon.

    Hmm.. Mormons are kinda xian technically. Very weird fringe cult of Christian s and I guess opinions on whether or not they count as Xians do vary but still.

    IMO, a choice between Trump and Cruz isn’t a choice. It’s the frying pan or the fire.

    But frying pans are generally seen as better than fires in that saying and that’s still a choice between two options -bad and worse. I don’t think either Trump or Cruz will end up as Repub nominee ultimately. Hope neither will.

    @1. Marcus Ranum : “I throw up in my mouth a little every time americans talk about “democracy”

    Seriously? Why? The USA is democratic and does have elections although like all electoral systems they have their quirks and flaws. Really not sure what your problem is here. Certainly big corportaions and lobby groups are a problem and malign influence but hat doesn’t mean the USA isn’t a democracy.

  9. sonofrojblake says

    @Nick Gotts, 6: “Delusions”? Would you describe The Economist as deluded?

    @Nick Gotts, 8: Less likely now? Six weeks ago there was ONE viable candidate polling HIGHER than Trump -- Carson. Then his numbers fell off a cliff and Trump’s surged. What numbers are you looking at?

    Your money is on Cruz? A man currently polling less than half Trump’s numbers, and more like one third in some polls?

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