This most bizarre and savage of political seasons is rapidly careening downhill and continues to pick up steam. The establishment and the moneyed special interests that it is represents have gone insane over the outbreak of voter anger that has fueled the rise of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and to a lesser degree Ted Cruz. As time runs out on the entrenched elite, the endgame consensus seems to have settled on the GOP hand-picking a nominee at this summer’s brokered convention. The means of getting there is to promote Ted Cruz as much as humanly possible in order to deny Trump the 1,237 delegates to clinch but then they are left with a dilemma which is how to also get rid of Cruz. It just doesn’t make for good optics if the party bigwigs hose both the front-runner as well as the runner-up, unless both can be made toxic.

The latest twist is an obvious anti-Cruz smear campaign that was launched by the tabloid National Enquirer alleging that the senator is an adulterer. This was slowly percolating yesterday but broke wide open today with Cruz going totally batshit over the story and naturally he’s blaming it all on Trump. As CNN is reporting “Cruz blames Trump and his ‘henchmen’ for tabloid story”:

Ted Cruz is accusing Donald Trump and his “henchmen” of smearing him with a salacious tabloid story, which the Texas senator called “garbage” and “complete and utter lies.”

“Let me be clear, this National Enquirer story is garbage. It is complete and utter lies. It is a tabloid smear, and it is a smear from Donald Trump and his henchmen,” Cruz said Friday, adding that he believes Trump “directed these attacks.”

CNN has no reporting to suggest that the tabloid allegations are true or that Trump or any of his advisers are behind the story, which was published this week.

Trump, in a statement released by his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, said he had no involvement with the story.

“I have no idea whether or not the cover story about Ted Cruz in this week’s issue of the National Enquirer is true or not, but I had absolutely nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not, as yet, read it,” Trump said. “I have nothing to do with the National Enquirer, and unlike Lyin’ Ted Cruz, I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchman and then pretend total innocence. Ted Cruz’s problem with the National Enquirer is his and his alone, and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz. I look forward to spending the week in Wisconsin, winning the Republican nomination and ultimately the Presidency in order to Make America Great Again.”

Cruz alleged that Trump’s campaign pushed the allegations in the National Enquirer story through Trump’s former top political adviser, Roger Stone.

Stone and Trump publicly split ways this summer following disagreements over the campaign’s strategy, the two said this summer.Stone declined to comment to CNN on Friday.

Cruz noted that Stone is quoted on the record in the National Enquirer article and said Stone “is a man with 50 years of dirty tricks behind him.”

Considering Cruz’s ties to the Bush dynasty he may not want to so freely toss Stone’s name around considering his newly released book “Jeb! and the Bush Crime Family” which sheds some needed light on a family that now looks to be using the Texas senator as their sock puppet.

The story doesn’t seem like anything Trump would be behind, it’s too steeped in black ops and the Donald prefers a full-frontal assault to destroy his opposition. It could be that the driving force behind the Cruz adultery story are the Democrats, maybe out of payback for the same publication bringing down one time golden boy John Edwards over his secret affair and illicit love child. But the most likely is that it is a GOP establishment sanctioned project to make it easy to discard raging Ted after they have finished using him. The blog the Conservative Treehouse which has done excellent work on covering the GOPe machinations seems to believe that it was an internal party effort to take down Cruz before the Marco Rubio project imploded.

The meme that Cruz is a philanderer is a direct hit to his number one selling point that he is the political messiah for Evangelical Christians, a demographic that hasn’t completely warmed to him yet and has been repeatedly insulted by Cruz surrogate and talk radio kingpin Glenn Beck. This story seems to be a way to slowly erode that image by at the very least planting the seeds of doubt into the minds of his flock so they will look to Kasich, Romney, Walker or Ryan this summer. It is completely diabolical but to the corrupt bipartisan duopoly that controls the levers of power in both parties it shows that they are playing some serous fucking hardball.

Another possibility is that the story was engineered by Team Cruz itself. Considering how the candidate immediately seized upon it as “proof” that Trump is “unfit” for the presidency and worked the media to pin it on the Donald it just kind of smells funny. While an inside job is the most unlikely of scenarios it would be consistent with the type of dirty tricks that the Cruz operation has already pulled and it allows “Lyin’ Ted” to act like the victim in advance of the critical Wisconsin Primary. A young Karl Rove once allegedly bugged his own office in order to blame an adversary and Cruz’s dirty tricks expert Jeff Roe would have surely studied the work of the establishment Sith Lord. The one thing that would lend credence to this conspiracy theory is that the entire media has Ted’s back. It will be interesting to see whether Cruz threatens to sue the National Enquirer over this lurid tale – considering how much money that Hulk Hogan just raked in from Gawker he would be an idiot not to.

Regardless of who is actually behind the hit piece it marks a new low in the shitshow that is the Republican race and there’s a long way to go before the bottom is reached.