The other day, I bumped into Trent Lott, the former Republican Senate majority leader who's now at the law and lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs (its clients include Airbus, Goldman Sachs, and Royal Dutch Shell). He's always polite and chatty -- these days he's promoting a book he wrote with former Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle called Crisis Point that decries the partisan polarization of Washington and offers proposals for de-gridlocking the city -- and he asked me what I was up to. I noted that I had just finished listening to a Donald Trump speech. Lott rolled his eyes. I asked which candidate he liked best, though I had a good guess. Almost all the former Capitol Hill GOPers who are now lobbyists in DC are pulling for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and, sure enough, Lott declared he's on Team Kasich. And, Lott added, he had been trying to thwart Trump.
How so? I asked.
Lott said he had actively tried to broker a deal between Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another Washington Republican favorite whose presidential campaign did not last too long once the voting started. This was Lott's plan: Kasich and Rubio would agree to run as a ticket, with Rubio in the veep slot, and the pair would keep this quiet and not announce the deal until days before the Republican convention. This dramatic, headline-grabbing move, in Lott's thinking, would dominate the news, as GOPers gathered in Cleveland, and potentially rewrite the narrative of the Republican race. That is, the Kasich-Rubio ticket would be the story, not Trump. This would "shake up the landscape," Lott said.