If you didn’t watch Mitt Romney yesterday eviscerating Donald Trump, I would urge you to do so today. It was a brilliantly crafted and delivered speech – leaving many wondering where that Romney was four years ago. It also was unprecedented in modern politics.
Sure, Republicans have had their squabbles before – Goldwater versus Rockefeller in 1964; Ford versus Reagan in 1976 – but nothing like this, where the party’s previous standard bearer made such a complete and uncompromising denunciation of a man who is barreling towards the nomination. And the high/low drama continued in the Fox News debate last night. Historians will have to check me on this, but I’m pretty sure it’s is the first time the size of a candidate’s private parts have become the subject of open campaign discussion.
This won’t end well for Republicans (as was true in 1964 and 1976.) The Romney scenario is for Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich to stay in the race, winning what states they can, in an attempt to deprive The Donald of the 1237 delegates he needs for a first ballot win at the convention. After that, the delegates can do as they please (and maybe even turn to Romney?) All the candidates pledged last night they would support whoever wins the nomination. But does anyone believe that if Trump goes to the convention with a strong delegate lead and has the nomination wrested from him by the “establishment” – whatever that may be – he and his supporters won’t blow up the party?
The alternative is that Trump wins the nomination. But the Romney speech now gives many Republicans the cover they need to sit out the election. Perhaps Trump can offset that by wooing disaffected Democrats, as Rupert Murdoch suggested on Twitter this morning. But that won’t be easy.
In business, FORTUNE this morning publishes Jennifer Reingold’s wonderful look inside Zappos, a company that used to be a regular on our 100 Best Companies to Work For list, but has fallen off this year as a result of an employees revolt against Tony Hsieh’s radical “holocracy” management style.
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