Donald Trump has established one important point in the 2016 presidential sweepstakes that the GOP establishment has finally understood. The ‘Donald’ is more than a former reality show host and billionaire who has a lot of bluster. He is the current GOP frontrunner and there is nothing in the establishment arsenal that can take him down.
The harsh reality is now beginning to settle in on many of the national party leaders, and perhaps even upon South Carolina senior U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. There is no political firewall that has been able to withstand Trump’s ability to keep rising in the polls. Tens of millions of opposition commercials in Iowa, New Hampshire and now in South Carolina would have been better spent donating it to charity.
Under normal circumstances and in a normal political presidential cycle, a GOP candidate that attacks prisoners of war, women, and even those with physical disabilities or a former popular Republican president would have seen their candidacy die on the political vine. Trump’s remarks have seemingly defied political gravity.
But in this election cycle Trump has not only pushed past the comments that he has hurled at his opponents as well as any others he deemed fit, but he continues to steadily rise in the poll. So how does one like a Senator Ted Cruz of Texas or Marco Rubio or Florida win against a candidate who is not affected by normal political Kryptonite?
There seems to be no Achilles’ heel to Donald Trump, because for his legion of followers who have taken up his battle cry to “Make America Great Again” they are not concerned by his previous inconsistencies. No matter that he admitted several years ago in an NBC Meet the Press interview that he was pro-choice and was in favor of partial birth abortion.
All is forgiven, because like other presidential candidates before him, he has changed his mind. That seems to suffice for his followers in nearly every state in the nation where he is polling in the mid to upper 30’s. There is no establishment firewall that can hold up against a political populism that is fueled by millions of voters who are angry, disenchanted and want a revolution to shake up Washington D.C. Trump appears to be their candidate.
Consider how Trump is doing in the Palmetto state just days before the primary. According to a new Fox News poll, the GOP presidential leading contender for the nomination has nailed down 32 percent among South Carolina likely Republican primary voters. Ted Cruz follows behind Trump with 19 percent to Marco Rubio’s 15 percent.
What is important is that the Fox News poll was taken after the billionaire attacked both former President George W. Bush and his brother Jeb this past weekend. In a state where the military; both current and former residents, make up a sizable portion of the GOP electorate, pundits felt Trump had seriously damaged his primary chances in a state where former president Bush’s support is nearly 90 percent.
According to Fox News their poll has Trump leading Cruz, in the highly valuable evangelical Christian voter block. Trump outpaces Cruz by eight point with 31 vs. Cruz 23 percent. In addition, among veterans Trump is backed by them at 37 percent to Cruz’s 22 percent. Bush comes in in the single digits amongst veterans polled with only 9 percent.
Perhaps the last firewall to melt away will be the March 1st Super Tuesday primaries. This will perhaps be the GOP establishment’s last stand for its candidates: Bush, Rubio and perhaps Kasich. The states holding primaries that day are Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. In addition, Colorado and Alaska will hold caucuses.
Is there any light at the end of the tunnel for the GOP establishment? The easy answer is no. So it appears that at this point it may make excellent political sense to start pushing for an establishment person to occupy the number two spot on the ticket like an Ohio Governor John Kasich. After all half of a political presidential nomination loaf is better than none at all.