The Little Cabal That Couldn't

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The latest evidence that insiders have lost control of Republican presidential politics comes from an amusing National Review dispatch about a failed conspiracy. Conservative activist leaders who voted last year to endorse Ted Cruz are reexamining their decision, Tim Alberta reports, and may defect to Marco Rubio.

Here’s the amusing part:

The call was held by members of The GROUP, a secretive cabal of prominent conservatives led by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the Senate Conservatives Fund’s Ken Cuccinelli. The outfit has endeavored since late 2014 to coalesce “the movement” of grassroots activists nationwide behind a single GOP candidate, hoping to prevent a splintering of the conservative vote that would allow a more moderate Republican to clinch the nomination.

They spent two years endeavoring to prevent the conservative vote from splintering … and it all led up to the most splintered primary contest in party history. This has got to be one of the least successful “secretive cabals” in history.