Trump and Cruz humiliate GOP establishment
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I must admit that as a Democrat, it is hard for me to sympathize with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.), who intended to obstruct the presidency of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAll five living former presidents to attend hurricane relief concert Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Interior moves to delay Obama’s methane leak rule MORE even before the president was inaugurated in January 2009.

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On the other hand, not long ago, presidential candidate Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (Texas) called McConnell a liar after spending virtually his entire — though short — career in the Senate acting like the senator of obstruction, dysfunction and government shutdowns. It is no exaggeration to state that Cruz, even in the Senate Republican cloakroom, is probably the single most detested Republican senator in modern history.

Cruz has spent recent years attacking and condemning the GOP establishment at every turn, and now, because they fear Trump more than they despise Cruz, members of the Republican establishment has begun trying every trick in the book — and many tricks that are not in the book — to take the nomination from front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE (R) and hand it to Cruz.

It is linguistically and politically accurate to suggest that 2016 has been a year of near-total humiliation for the GOP establishment.

Throughout 2015, the great candidate of the Republican establishment was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was then pummeled and humiliated by Trump during the primary campaign. Trump defeated the man he dubbed "low energy" so thoroughly that Bush was never a serious rival to Trump in primaries or polls and was driven out of the campaign very early.

Bush and the GOP establishment were first humiliated by Trump, who thrashed their list of establishment favorites one by one, and they are now being humiliated by Cruz, around whom they are now uniting publicly despite their private contempt for him.

It must have been humiliating for the Bush family to watch Jeb Bush endorse Cruz for president. Jeb could not even endorse the candidate Trump dubbed "little Marco," Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE, when it might have saved the GOP, and now he is reduced to endorsing the man Trump calls "lying Ted," who has himself called the Republican leader in the Senate a liar.

During the primaries, the only candidate in either party, in my view, who spoke cogently about how to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists was South Carolina Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (R). Trump offered Graham the ultimate insult: He ignored him. Graham, who had mocked and ridiculed Cruz for good reason, was ultimately forced to endorse Cruz with the same enthusiasm Count Dracula would have shown if the count were forced to endorse the cross.

There are a few Republicans in the media left who offer a brave face by suggesting scenarios predicting that Trump can be elected in November. I feel their pain and would offer them an opportunity to make a sporting wager with me on this subject!

For a liberal Democrat like me, it is a pleasure to read polls showing that the socialist senator from Vermont, Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE, and the former secretary of State who is the bete noir of the GOP right, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE, both thrashing the Republican front-runner by landslide margins, while Trump offers praise for the strongman dictator of Russia and more than 100 Republican national security leaders warn voters he would endanger America if he ever becomes commander in chief.

While elections are never predictable, the most likely outcome is that the ultimate humiliation for the Republican establishment will be to end the year reluctantly endorsing Hillary Clinton, or remaining silent while hoping she wins, and preparing for the pleasure of attending her inauguration as president in January 2017.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at brentbbi@webtv.net.