Bud Kennedy

‘Never Trump,’ but who? Maybe even Bush, Fiorina

Texas Republicans are in uncharted territory.

They start choosing delegates Saturday at county and district party conventions, with the ultimate winners headed to Cleveland for a July week of national-convention dealings in Quicken Loans Arena.

If windy New Yorker Donald J. Trump blows through the rest of the primaries and sweeps to the nomination, then the delegates’ main task will be writing a platform.

But if Trump doesn’t finish strong — and he has been unsteady for three weeks — then conventioneers will keep voting until one candidate wins a genuine majority.

On a subsequent ballot, Texas’ 155 delegates could unite behind Sen. Ted Cruz or another Texan. Yes, even Jeb Bush or Carly Fiorina.

Trump has made this entire election a reality show. And he is an expert at reality shows.

CNN commentator Juan Hernández

“Jeb is close enough to the party establishment that I don’t think he’s out,” said CNN en Español commentator Juan Hernández of Fort Worth, a former Bush campaigner who recently supported Marco Rubio.

Hernández, a top adviser to John McCain in 2008, has called Trump’s front-runner role “shameful” and “deplorable.”

“Trump has made this entire election a reality show,” Hernández said.

“And he is an expert at reality shows.”

Wrestling experts quoted here three weeks ago said Trump is using specific promotional tactics from his days as host and actor in WWE WrestleMania, including the taunts, exaggerations, threats of legal action and diatribes against both broadcasters and foreign villains.

“That is not the man most Republicans want representing us,” Hernández said. (Mathematically true.)

“He does not represent faith, family values or small government. Most Republicans, and definitely Hispanic Republicans, are ‘never Trump.’ 

Republican National Convention delegates can vote freely on the third ballot.

Even now, Hernández said he expects party leaders to “stand up and say, ‘wait a minute’ — we have some great candidates for the party.”

Two Texans — first ex-Gov. Rick Perry, then Bush — were among Trump’s vocal early opponents. Fiorina has said she is “horrified” at Trump and endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz, who trails in second place but has the more potent organization for a convention.

Hernández is looking to “someone like a Kasich” as part of a ticket.

Latino voters are less interested in Cruz, he said, because of his intransigence against immigration reform: “One of the questions for voters is, ‘How do you feel about me and my family?’ Those who do not stand for us — it is difficult to stand for them.”

There may be nowhere else to stand.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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