Does he even exist? (Brennan Linsley/Associated Press)
Columnist

Vladimir Ryan and Estragon Priebus, members of the GOP establishment, sit glumly in rags beneath a small leafless tree, next to a slowly decomposing elephant carcass. They wear matching flag pins. Estragon struggles mightily to remove his “Jeb 2016” button. At last it comes off with a pop.

Estragon: Nothing to be done.
Vladimir: I’m beginning to come around to that opinion.
Estragon: Let’s go.
Vladimir: We can’t.
Estragon: Why not?
Vladimir: We’re waiting for pivot.
Estragon: For pivot?
Vladimir: The Trump pivot. To the general.
Estragon: He pivots?
Vladimir: They say he pivots. He promised. He’s going to be presidential.
Estragon: Presidential Trump.
Vladimir: Exactly so.
Estragon: I’ll believe it when I see it.
Vladimir: We’ll see it. (less confident) Just wait.

They wait. The sun sets. The moon rises. The elephant carcass does not stir. On TV, Donald Trump denounces Mexican judges and doubles down on his ban on Muslim immigrants

Estragon: Didi?
Vladimir: Yes, Gopgop?
Estragon: How long?
Vladimir: What?
Estragon: How long are we to wait here until he pivots?
Vladimir: He’ll pivot. You’ll see.
Estragon: I’m frightened.
Vladimir fumbles in his pocket and finds a carrot.
Vladimir: Eat this.
Estragon: What good will an old carrot do if I’m frightened?
Vladimir: (philosophical) It will accustom you to stomaching unpleasant old things that are orange in color.
Estragon begins to weep.
Vladimir: Gopgop, don’t cry.
Estragon: How can I help it? Have you read his quotes? Have you read his poll numbers?
Vladimir: No.
Estragon: Will there be anything left of us?

Long silence. In the audience, a protester is beaten up and dragged away.

Estragon: Do you think he’s going to pivot soon?
Vladimir: I thought he would pivot after May.
Estragon: May?
Vladimir: I thought he would pivot after Orlando.
Estragon: Orlando?
Vladimir: It was in the news.
Estragon looks at him blankly.
Vladimir: It was in the news. He responded to it by saying awful things.
Estragon: That sounds just like everything else.
He munches the carrot forlornly.
Estragon: I will try to remember.
frustrated, he removes his flag pin, then puts it back on.
Estragon: No, I can’t, I can’t.
Vladimir: We mustn’t lose hope.
Estragon: What day is it?
Vladimir: Super Tuesday. (he removes his pin and examines it) But not super. Or even, perhaps, Tuesday.
Estragon: Have we always been here, waiting?
Vladimir: Surely not.
Estragon: How long have we been here?
Vladimir: Days.
Estragon: Weeks.
Vladimir: Months?
Estragon: Years?
Vladimir: You’re sure it was here we were to wait?
Estragon: This is Cleveland, isn’t it?
Vladimir: I don’t know. Every place looks the same.
Estragon: Didn’t we have a party, once?
Vladimir: I don’t remember.
Estragon: Everything was red. There were balloons.
Vladimir: I can’t remember.
Estragon: He said he’d pivot. He promised.
Vladimir: He didn’t promise. Paul Manafort promised.
Estragon: Who?
Vladimir: Paul Manafort comes every day and promises he’ll pivot.
Estragon: How do we know he can be presidential?
Vladimir: Eat your carrot.
Estragon: What does Presidential Trump look like?
Vladimir: I don’t know. I’ve never seen him.
Estragon: (uncertainly) We would know him if we saw him.
Vladimir: Certainly we would.
Estragon: What can we do in the meantime?
Vladimir: Speak generally.
Estragon: Generally.
Vladimir: Speak of the nominee.
Estragon: Hedge.
Vladimir: Obfuscate.
Estragon: Find another one?
Vladimir: Another one? What other? There is no one else!
Estragon: But all the same.
Vladimir: Who did we used to be? Do you remember? Didn’t we used to have ideas?
Estragon: I don’t know.
Vladimir: Didn’t we used to have values?
Estragon: You fed me a carrot once. That’s a value.
Vladimir: True.
Estragon: Didi, I’m scared.
Vladimir: Shhh. It’ll be all right.
Estragon: Yesterday he beat me. He kicked me and took my phone. He grabbed it and tweeted, “Reports of discord are pure fiction. Rs will win in Nov!”
Vladimir: I wouldn’t have let him.
Estragon: You couldn’t have stopped him.
Vladimir: I would have stopped you from doing whatever it was you did before he began to beat you.
Estragon: Perhaps.

He unpins his flag pin and pins it on Vladimir. After some deliberation, Vladimir unpins his pin and pins it on Estragon. They pass the pins back and forth.

Estragon: What do we do now?
Vladimir: We could start all over again, perhaps.
Estragon: You can start from anything. From Romney.
Vladimir: Yes, but you have to have the delegates. Sleep.
Estragon: I can’t.
Vladimir goes over by Estragon and begins to sing soothingly.
Vladimir: Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan Reagan

Enter Paul Manafort.

Paul Manafort: Mister?
Vladimir: You have a message from Mr. Trump?
Paul Manafort: Yes.
Paul Manafort: Mr. Trump told me to tell you that he won’t pivot today but surely tomorrow.
Vladimir: Is that all?
Paul Manafort: Yes sir.
He makes to exit.
Vladimir: Paul?
Paul Manafort: Yes sir.
Vladimir: What does it look like, this pivot to the general?
Paul Manafort: Presidential.
Vladimir: Presidential how?
Paul Manafort: So presidential that you will not believe it. So presidential you will be bored to tears.
Vladimir: God help us.
Paul Manafort: What am I to tell Mr. Trump?
Vladimir: Tell him — tell him you saw me.
Paul Manafort makes to go.
Vladimir: Tell him you — you saw me. And it was a productive conversation. About values. Tell him you saw us and we’re waiting here. Don’t come back the same way tomorrow!
Paul Manafort exits. One of the bones of the elephant carcass twitches, then shatters. 

Estragon suddenly sits bolt upright.  
Estragon: NO!
Vladimir: What’s wrong with you?
Estragon: Nothing. Let’s go. Let’s vote for Hillary. Let’s run a third party. Let’s denounce him. Let’s do anything!
Vladimir: We can’t.
Estragon: Why not?
Vladimir: We’re waiting.
Estragon: What for?
Vladimir: The pivot.
Estragon: He didn’t pivot today?
Vladimir: No. He fired Corey Lewandowski. That’s almost a pivot.
Estragon: And now it’s too late.
Vladimir: Yes, now it’s night.
Estragon: And if we dropped him? (pause) And if we dropped him?
Vladimir: He’d punish us.
Estragon: Worse?
Vladimir: I don’t know. (pause) Everything’s dead. Even the elephant.
Estragon: Yes.
Vladimir: We could end it all. That might be best.
Estragon: Tomorrow.
Vladimir: Unless he pivots.
Estragon: Then we’ll be saved.
Vladimir: Perhaps not even then.
Estragon: No.
He takes off his flag pin.
Vladimir: Well. Shall we go?
Estragon: Yes. Let’s go.
They do not move.