With the return of the “decider” to the political scene it is clear that despite his dismal campaign and putrid poll numbers that establishment is NEVER going to give up on forcing John Ellis Bush down the throats of voters. The mass exodus of hopeless candidates from the GOP race – and their coming endorsements – to consolidate support behind Jeb! marks a new iteration in what has seemingly been and endless campaign to replace Barack Obama in the White House. As was seen by Saturdays brutal debate and with Trump and Cruz still polling well in the aftermath it is going to be nearly impossible to halt either one’s momentum at this stage of the game so the establishment is going to do what it always has done – rig the game.

Politico is reporting that “Campaigns secretly prep for brokered GOP convention”from which I excerpt:

Mysterious outside groups are asking state parties for personal data on potential delegates, Republican campaigns are drawing up plans to send loyal representatives to obscure local conventions, and party officials are dusting off rulebooks to brush up on a process that hasn’t mattered for decades.

As Donald Trump and Ted Cruz divide up the first primaries and center-right Republicans tear one another apart in a race to be the mainstream alternative, Republicans are waging a shadow primary for control of delegates in anticipation of what one senior party official called “the white whale of politics”: a contested national convention.

The end-game for the most sophisticated campaigns is an indecisive first ballot leading to a free-for-all power struggle on the floor in Cleveland.

“This is going to be a convention like I’ve never seen in my lifetime,” said veteran operative Barry Bennett, who managed Ben Carson’s campaign until December and is now advising Trump. “It’s going to be contentious from day one.”

AND

In some states, campaigns select slates of their own delegates, making it relatively easy to send loyalists to Cleveland.

In many others, delegates to Cleveland will be selected at a series of conventions held at the congressional district and state levels. Candidates who are able to get supporters to show up at those conventions and elect loyal delegates would be rewarded in a multi-ballot Republican convention — even if those delegates are bound to vote for someone else in the first round.

“Just because you get X number of delegates, it doesn’t mean that it’s your people unless you go to these conventions and get people to run,” said Marco Rubio’s deputy campaign manager Rich Beeson. “You want to make sure that they’re with you on subsequent ballots.”

Rubio, who openly contemplated the possibility of a contested convention in an AP interview last week, is not the only candidate whose campaign is preparing to contest the shadow primary.

One Southern state party chairman said that the calls from campaigns seeking data – such as contact information on eligible delegates and the names of people who have served as delegates in past years – began in late 2015. The chairman said calls have also come from third-party vendors who declined to identify which campaigns are their clients. “There’s a bit of skuldugerry … I suspect some super PACs are behind some of this.”

AND

One former RNC Chairman who spoke on the condition of anonymity suggested another soft power that the national party could assert over the outcome. The RNC’s Committee on Arrangements controls the logistics of conventions, including the allocation of staging space for campaigns’ whipping operations. In the heat of a floor fight, such details could become meaningful.

But another former chairman, Michael Steele, warned that any attempt by party insiders to nudge the nomination to a favored candidate would be disastrous. “If they want to monkey around with this process and try to fix it, they’re asking for all hell to break lose,” he said.

“Any inkling that state party officials or national party officials are colluding and conspiring to prevent a particular individual from getting the nomination,” he said, “will basically create Armageddon with the base.”

While the primary objective is stopping Trump and Cruz despite the will of the voters another subplot to watch is the ongoing jousting between Jeb! and his former understudy Marco Rubio. The robotic Florida senator has plenty of neocon support and as has been repeatedly hammered by his flacks he represents a fresh face for the GOP for the new American century. The Bushies will be fighting a two-front war if this goes to a floor battle in Cleveland but that is where the reservoir of clout that the family name has with the establishment will be called in. Despite all of the trouble that Trump and others have made it is still obvious that the only real choice that many believe that Americans will have this November is Clinton or Bush and we all lose if that is the case.

If you can’t beat them, cheat them!