02/29/2016 08:12 am ET Updated Mar 01, 2017

The Republican Establishment: 'Smoke-Filled Room, Please'

Andrew Burton via Getty Images

There's so much to laugh at, you don't know where to start.

Have you listened to what is called the Republican Establishment? "This damned democracy of ours, it's getting in the way! We need an alternative to elections! We're going to get thrown out on our ears! Stop Trump before voters decide!"

The actual quotes are almost as good. Elections be damned. What the Establishment wants is a brokered convention where the candidate with less popular support becomes the nominee. Really.

Republican guru Ben Ginsburg: ""If no one comes into the convention with a majority of delegates, then all bets are off. You're dealing with a potentially unruly and independent group of people." Darn voters.

Former Governor Mike Leavitt pines for the good old days of Boss Tweed: "There is no mechanism. There is no smoke-filled room."

Republican talking-head Alex Castellanos wants to "attack Mr. Trump in New Hampshire over his business failures and past liberal positions, and emphasized the extreme urgency of their project." Guess who funds the project? Grass-roots Republicans like casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

There's nothing wrong with trying to save your own skin. What rankles is when the effort is described as a mission of benevolence, undertaken for our sake by goodly men and women.

The voters who are sweeping Trump to the nomination are the children of decades of cynical manipulation by the very same Establishment who now repudiates them. The Establishment stirred up the passions of the masses with Willie Horton, Obama as Muslim, Cliven Bundy as a freedom fighter, gay marriage and abortion rights as the Apocalypse, Washington-as-cesspool, and compromise-as-treachery. Some folks took it to heart. They didn't get the trick. What the Koch Brothers, and Sheldon Adelson, and the hedge fund guys really wanted was more money, less taxes, and less government to get in their way. This the Republican Establishment regularly delivered. Ban abortion? End Obamacare? Repeal gay marriage? Shut down the government? Not so much.

Eventually, lots of these folks realized they were being fooled. They got mad. A shrewd marketing guy figured it out, and spoke directly to them. They liked it. They voted for him, because he's their best chance at getting the very things the Establishment promised, and didn't deliver. They have revolted, and a few tv ads attacking Trump are not going to bring them back to the corral.

The great unlearned lesson of American politics is that ideas matter. Voters embrace ideas, good and bad, and eventually expect their elected officials to reflect their views. The Republican Establishment used phony populism to gain support. Then they abandoned their own electorate, not the other way around. Last-ditch political maneuvers can't undo that reality. And they won't.

Trump is also a problem for the Democrats. If all they do is hope that he steps on his own tie and tumbles, they could lose. If they (meaning Hillary in all probability) fashion a platform that speaks to peoples real needs, fears and hopes, they can win. But that comes only after Republican voters (not cigar-smoking, hedge-fund managing, casino-running, PAC funding, vote-surpressing, Establishment deal-makers) decide on the nominee.