Shorter MSNBC Panel: Never Trump Movement Is on a 'Slow Death March' to Backing His Nomination

Leading off Monday's All In on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes and his fellow panelists giggled their way through a discussion about the possible collapse of the Never Trump movement to the point that they predicted that the push by conservatives to not support the billionaire frontrunner is on a "slow death march" to accepting and backing his nomination.

Upon introducing former RNC Chair Michael Steele and Esquire writer Charles Pierce, Hayes played a clip of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol speaking to our friend Steve Malzberg of Newsmax TV in which Kristol stated that while he's Never Trump, one should "never say never."

The trio burst out laughing when the clip ended with Steele repeatedly gushing that it's "so precious" since "he flipped out on me in a conversation we had about this very thing, about 30 days ago and he was like, oh do you --- no way, no way" and "I'm like, okay, dude, just wait." 

Speaking as if he's not even part of the party, Steele proclaimed how those opposing Trump "have been long-suffering on this slow, you know, death march to nowhere and meanwhile, the base of the party is like, dudes, we're over here."

"We're going with this guy and this reconciliation within the party has probably been one of the most amusingly frustrating things to watch because the base has been saying for some time, Chris, as you know, this guy, we like him. Yeah, we don't like everything he says, we don't like everything he does, but he's the kind of fighter we want for this fight," Steele added.

Hayes turned to Pierce and predicted that a Trump victory in Indiana with over 50 percent of the vote would be far more significant than any of the blowouts and the Northeastern states. Pierce agreed and lamented how horrible his life was by having to spend time with Cruz surrogates in Indiana:

I spent a day with the Cruz surrogate team yesterday, which was --- oh, God help us Louis Gohmert and Carly Fiorina and Heidi Cruz and, who am I missing? Mike Lee and outside of a slice of the evangelical vote, and not a very big slice anymore, there's no support for him in Indiana right now. 

Acting like he's ultimate conservative whisperer, Pierce informed viewers that "[t]here's no reason to vote for the guy" and joked that he "expect[s] to see Ted Cruz on a street corner outside Ft. Wayne with a sign saying, 'will debate for food.'"

Earlier in the lead segment, Hayes played an array of soundbites from the Hoosier State campaign trail and, when Cruz confronted a young protester by talking about spanking misbehaving children, the MSNBC host surmised that Cruz must then "hit his kids" at home.

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes on May 2 can be found below.

MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes

May 2, 2016

8:10 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS HAYES: Michael, I'm bemused as I watch the Never Trump forces start to maybe flirt a little bit with, well, Maybe Trump. Maybe eventually Trump. This is Mr. Kristol who is a flagship member of the Never Trumpers answering a question earlier today. Take a listen.

NEWSMAX-TV's STEVE MALZBERG [TO KRISTOL]: And there are things Trump can do to win you over? 

BILL KRISTOL: I mean, I guess never say never. On the one hand, I'm Never Trump and on the other hand, never say never. I'll leave it there. 

MALZBERG: Okay. Fair enough. 

HAYES: This is the writing on the wall, Michael. No one -- Everyone loves a winner. 

MICHAEL STEELE: That is so precious. That is so precious because he flipped out on me in a conversation we had about this very thing, about 30 days ago and he was like, oh do you --- no way, no way! I'm like, okay, dude, just wait.

HAYES: I wish we had that on tape. I would play that in a heartbeat if you had that on tape. 

STEELE: My gosh no, but this is where they are. They have been long-suffering on this slow, you know, death march to nowhere and meanwhile, the base of the party is like, dudes, we're over here. We're going with this guy and this reconciliation within the party has probably been one of the most amusingly frustrating things to watch because the base has been saying for some time, Chris, as you know, this guy, we like him. Yeah, we don't like everything he says, we don't like everything he does, but he's the kind of fighter we want for this fight and there has been nothing since the beginning of this campaign that anyone other than Donald Trump has been able to do to slow his role and that's the reality of it. He has moved this campaign to the point now where we're at our last wall, our last firewall, our last bridge, our last whatever in Indiana tomorrow night and there's nowhere else to go except to get on board and that's what you're seeing. 

HAYES: And Charlie, what I'm looking for tomorrow, the polling out today that has him over 50 percent, it was one thing he wins over 50 percent in New York. It's another when he clears high 50s in the Northeast which is sort of the ancestral home of Trumpism, if you will, but in the case of Indiana, this is not the kind of place you'd expect him to clean up or to romp. If he clears 50 tomorrow, that seems a clear statement from the GOP base about where they are and how ready they are for this. 

CHARLES PIERCE: Yeah, first of all, I'd like to say that it was hard to hear Bill Kristol talk over the sound of the cock crowing in the background. [PANEL LAUGHS] However, you're right. I spent a day with the Cruz surrogate team yesterday, which was --- oh, God help us Louis Gohmert and Carly Fiorina and Heidi Cruz and, who am I missing? Mike Lee and outside of a slice of the evangelical vote, and not a very big slice anymore, there's no support for him in Indiana right now. There's no reason to vote for the guy. You saw him today. This is a guy who was the Ivy League debating champion and he was arguing with a guy in fake Oakley sunglasses and a fake weather-beaten sweatshirt whose entire riposte was, uh-uh! No! I expect to see Ted Cruz on a street corner outside Ft. Wayne with a sign saying, "will debate for food." 

HAYES: By the way, that was a biblical reference from Charlie Pierce, anyone who accuses us of being godless liberals and Jesuit-educated Michael Steele knew, so this was the sense of  Jesuit education, so this was the other thing. The question that Cruz is going to play. Right now, I think you're seeing calculations about people's future in the party.

(....)

PIERCE: I think that the historical irony, of course, is that the very fact that Ted Cruz is a figure of national politics at all is a failure of the Republican establishment, especially in Texas.

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC All In Video Chris Hayes Charles Pierce William Kristol Michael Steele Ted Cruz Donald Trump
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