So, there it is. Donald Trump essentially swept Super Tuesday, winning every state but Ted Cruz's home of Texas, nearby Oklahoma, Alaska and Minnesota, where even the Republicans are too nice to vote for a megalomaniac. He has beaten Marco Rubio in every single state so far, save one.
It's over. The establishment plan to rally behind Rubio was a failure. He has won exactly one contest, and his recent attempts to sink to Trump's level and match him insult-for-insult has only diminished him further.
Cruz's refusal to step aside (and why would Cruz, who delights in causing chaos among the GOP elite, have accommodated them?) means the world's least sexy three-way will go on for a little while longer. But now we know for certain who the top is. And the fantasy of a brokered convention — thrown out in every contested primary — is just that: a fantasy.
And you, Mr. or Ms. Reasonable Republican, have a decision to make.
Listen, we know it's not easy. The Trump phenomenon took you by surprise. Hell, it took us all by surprise. We thought he was an absurd joke who lied every time he opened his mouth. We thought he was the most self-deluded man on the planet, a man with the intellect and talent of the average sea cucumber who genuinely believed in his own greatness.
We were right about all of that, of course, but we were wrong about GOP primary voters.
You thought they were basically like you: conservative but sensible. After all, this is the party that always settles on a mainstream nominee: Romney, McCain, Bush, Dole. These are noncontroversial picks. They don't rock the boat. Donald Trump drills holes in the bottom and claims he's Making The Boat Great Again.
You were sure your candidate had a real shot. Maybe you picked Scott Walker, because you hate unions, or Bobby Jindal, because you're a nerd. Maybe you liked Jeb Bush's potential to be another president named Bush, or the way Lindsey Graham promised to invade pretty much the entire Middle East. But even if your candidate didn't win, there were 15 or so other candidates who weren't Donald Trump, and surely one of them would end up the nominee.
Nope. Turns out Republican primary voters are pissed off. We've also discovered they're pretty racist. Their overwhelming choice for president calls Mexicans rapists, promises to ban Muslims from crossing our borders, and encourages his almost entirely white supporter base to attack minorities at his rallies. You can't argue that kind of racism away with a few black friends.
But that's not you! You don't want a president who would consider returning to separate water fountains if he thought it would appeal to his rabid base. You care about the direction of your party, and you're worried now that it's nominating a bag of butterscotch pudding with terrible opinions as a standard bearer.
But you've voted Republican your whole life. You grew up with a poster of Ronald Reagan above your bed. You hate Hillary Clinton, who Benghazi Whitewater emails Travelgate Clinton Foundation [holds down power button until your brain reboots] who is very bad. You were certain after eight years of Barack Obama, America would want a change from his destructive policies, like providing health care coverage to millions of people and bringing the economy back from the brink of a total meltdown caused by the last Republican president.
Now you have to ask yourself: How much do you hate Hillary Clinton? How much do you love the Republican Party? Maybe what it really comes down to is how much you love America.
Can you really call yourself a patriot and pull the lever for Donald Trump? Can you watch five minutes of his meandering, insane stump speech and then put this maniac who believes nothing but will say anything behind the Resolute desk?
Of course you can't. You and I (a godless liberal who believes abortion is good) can agree on one thing: Donald Trump is a buffoon who has no business running a meeting, let alone the whole dang United States of America.
I'm here with a message: It's OK. You can sit this one out. You can leave your vote for president blank or write in "Zombie Ronald Reagan" or "Dick Cheney's Magic Robot Heart." You'll survive four years of another President Clinton while you're waiting to nominate Nikki Haley in 2020.
You love your country. Can you honestly vote to elect Donald Trump to the highest office in the land? You support the troops; are you really going to make Donald Trump their commander in chief?
This has nothing to do with ideology. It's about — as Trump himself would happily crow — quality. Trump is not a quality human being. And even the Republican Party deserves better.Watch highlights of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's Super Tuesday victory speeches.