Lucifer in the house

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, May 4, 2016

One of the oddest moments in a presidential campaign filled brim-spillingly with them is the sight of the Republican Party struggling to rally around the man looking more and more like its presumptive nominee, Donald J. Trump. Perhaps “rally” is too strong of a word. More of a depressed dawdle. A lackluster loiter. Melancholy mosey. Crematory crawl.

The party is exhibiting all the enthusiasm of a condemned man walking barefoot to the gallows up 13 steps of broken glass. Like an eight-year old forced to rip a switch off a birch tree prior to a paternal spanking. A film critic trudging through the lobby of a multiplex for a preview of the next Transformers movie.

It’s a shame that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross died a decade ago, and can’t witness all five of her “Stages of Grief” being spun out at the same time. Depending on where you look, the GOP can be seen going through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and a reluctant acceptance. She could even update her classic with new stages: dejection, mortification, suicidal gloom, self-immolation and eye gouging panic.

Politicos traditionally resist change, but the way party regulars are dragging their feet on the path to partner with Trump you’d swear they were wearing cement galoshes. Encased in lead. Dragging super-gravity anvils. There’s no jumping onto this bleak bandwagon. More like slithering on surreptitiously from the shadows praying that friends and family aren’t paying attention.

A large faction of Republicans still cling to the desperate hope the New York businessman can be denied the nomination, but in order to do so, different factions need to combine forces. The problem is they don’t get along. It’s a classic example of the hyena and lion planning to take down the elephant, but becoming way too occupied trying to eat each other. From Aesop.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich’s campaigns reached a tentative agreement to clear their prospective lanes in Indiana and Oregon, but that non-aggression pact had a shorter life than a box of cupcakes in a pre- school, day-care center after a five-mile hike. Snowflakes in hell last longer.

To double down on the fires of perdition analogy, former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.” Which led another Republican Congressman, Peter King of New York, to argue the comparison was unfair to Lucifer. “Wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care. Lucifer in the house.” Or rather, the Senate.

Ignoring the insults, Ted Cruz attempted to shake things up by presumptively choosing a running mate, which is similar to a sophomore journalism student picking Adele to sing the theme song of their future prime time network television interview show.

The move seemed designed to match Trump’s failed businessman card and raise him a failed woman card. But alas, to say that Carly Fiorina’s slot on the ticket didn’t create a lot of buzz is like saying there weren’t a lot of sequined pajamas at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

To their credit though, you have to admit that both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump do incite passion. Then again, so does flesh eating bacteria. With Trump, people either love him or hate him. Whereas with Cruz, the differences narrow to either hate or an intense dislike.

WILL DURST is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former Pizza Hut assistant manager. For sample videos and a calendar of personal appearances including his new one- man show, Elect to Laugh: 2016, go to