It’s time to Break It Down!
For all practical purposes, Team GOP has become the Party of Trump. If you believe the voters rather than the oft-rehearsed lines of the Party apparatus, numerous operatives, the still-in-denial Party Establishment, and the voices of the Right Wing chattering class, all of whom have much to lose by being too closely identified with the angry (his word, not mine) New York billionaire, Donald J. Trump, you believe, as I do, that Mr. Trump is towering over the remainder of the Republican field of candidates seeking to secure the Party’s nomination for President. He did so when there was a crowded field of 17 candidates, and despite the arbiters of conventional wisdom who argued enthusiastically that he and his energetic movement would dissolve like the Wicked Witch of the West when doused by water if only the field would thin out, and he does now. That was 12 suspended campaigns ago, or more than two-thirds of the candidates in the original field. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, with only 5 candidates remaining in contention for the GOP Nomination, DJ Trump is still kicking asterisks and taking names.
Yesterday was Super Tuesday, a day in which 11 states conducted Primary Elections or Caucuses. They include:
- Alabama (Trump)
- Georgia (Trump)
- Massachusetts (Trump)
- Tennessee (Trump)
- Virginia (Trump)
- Arkansas (Trump)
- Vermont (Trump)
- Alaska (Expected Trump)
- Texas (Cruz)
- Oklahoma (Cruz)
- Minnesota (Rubio)
Of those states, Donald Trump was projected the winner as soon as the polls closed in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Massachusetts; Virginia was quickly added, Arkansas and Vermont were declared in his category by 11:00-11:30 p.m. Eastern. At that time Senator Ted Cruz had claimed his home state of Texas, and neighboring Oklahoma. Around the same time, Senator Marco Rubio claimed victory in Minnesota; his first win of the campaign season. The last state to be decided, Alaska, was still counting ballots as this post went to press.
A month or two ago, Trump, full of confidence and the swagger borne of his own success opined that his mojo was so robust he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue (NYC) and shoot someone, and he would not lose votes. He repeated this forebodingly braggadocios boast again in recent weeks. Of course, no one but no one ever mistook Donald Trump for a shrinking violet. He’s been and remains the one candidate who never ducks a hot mic. He has also “almost” never been found lacking for answers, regardless of the question…or the factually verifiable nature of his replies.
This weekend however, the Donald, mystifyingly, broke his own protocol. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper this past Sunday, Trump “blinked.” When asked if he would disavow white supremacist David Duke, who endorsed Mr. Trump, the New Yorker lost his normal bravado and claimed not to be familiar with Duke, and said he’d have to research the question in order to provide an informed response. Aside from the fact no one ever recalls such a non-response response from Trump, he had, on several instances in the past, distanced himself from Mr. Duke. The more cynical among us deduced that the fact the question was posed just two days prior to Super Tuesday when 7 Southern States, many of which have a significant Duke following, would be voting had a lot, if not everything to do with Trump’s tightly crafted and sanitized answer. I’m not saying that’s my opinion. I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusion. I will however suggest if a smell test were applied, the odds of that reply passing would be slim.
A day later, Mr. Trump would endeavor to clarify his response, saying his earpiece was faulty, and he didn’t understand the question. Never mind that Mr. Trump has previously pulled excuses out of his repertoire when he flubbed a question. In September Hugh Hewitt of the Salem Radio Network in a foreign policy discussion with Trump asked a question about the Quds, and Trump answered about the Kurds. Trump cried foul and claimed it was a “Gotcha Question.” This of course totally dismisses the fact Mr. Hewitt was conducting an interview and posing questions on foreign policy to a man “who would be President.” Gotcha? I got your gotcha. GTFOOH!
But let’s not lose the lesson. As I suggested last week, Donald Trump is approaching political bulletproof status. One need go no further than recognizing that DJ Trump is an individual who has:
- Characterized most Mexicans entering the United States as rapists
- Promised to build a wall separating our two countries and “make Mexico pay for it”
- Declared John McCain is not a war hero
- Called Senator Lindsey Graham weak and ineffectual
- Dubbed Jeb Bush low energy
- Referred to Ted Cruz as the biggest liar ever
- Said Marco Rubio was “sweating like a dog”
- Suggested he would ban Muslims from entering the country and deport all illegal aliens
- Insisted he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after 9/11
- Dissed Fox News analyst Megyn Kelly and attacked Carly Fiorina’s looks
While that may not be a Top 10, it is certainly a significant sample. But then, even if it were a Top 10, at least one of those items would have to be displaced by the recent David Duke row. Last night, as he gave remarks after acknowledging his 5 Primary victories (up to that time), in response to a direct question, he firmly and repeatedly disavowed David Duke and hate groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), though he never referred to either Duke or the Klan by name. It took far too long, but in bulletproof fashion, better late than never.
The GOP brain trust wants greatly to diminish and/or dismiss any thoughts that Trump will prevail, and to at nearly all costs distance itself from his brand. To all my friends and associates who happen to be Republicans, you have missed your opportunity. That is not to say with 100% certainty that Donald Trump will capture the Republican Nomination. But make no mistake about it, the closest thing the GOP has to a presumptive nominee is DJ Trump. Like it or not, it is what it is.
This is where things get interesting. In the erstwhile smoke-filled rooms (very few interior spaces permit smoking these days), and back alleyways of Republicandom, operatives, bundlers, the Party apparatus, and a host of bigwigs and muckety-mucks are huddled and feverishly conferencing and negotiating on pathways to derail the Trump Express. Party officials deny it, of course, but back channel conversations always leak the obvious. This is happening even as a number of Party moguls and celebrities, reluctantly, or strategically, you decide, are lining up to endorse Trump.
To date, that list includes former GOP Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., and NASCAR Chairman and CEO, Brian France (So much for that NASCAR Diversity Initiative). It does not include the aforementioned David Duke…but he has endorsed Mr. Trump. On an aside, Jon Huntsman, Jr., former Ambassador to Singapore, and the 16th Governor of Utah, has stated he would likely support Trump were he to become the Party’s nominee.
During his comments last night, Ted Cruz, who has won a total of 3 states (Iowa, Texas, and Oklahoma) all but urged Marco Rubio and the other candidates to get out of the race because, he is the only one who has beaten Trump 3 times, and the only one who can beat him for the nomination. Rubio, who won Minnesota last night, for his part indicated that he is continuing to accrue delegates, and intends to continue for the foreseeable future. Translation: You get out. No, you get out. Advantage Trump.
All things considered, if anyone other than Trump had amassed the metrics he has by now, the race would be declared over. To summarize, of the fifteen contests held to date, Rubio has won once, while Cruz has prevailed three times. That means Donald Trump has amassed eleven victories, presuming Alaska holds to projected form. Of course, Given Sarah Palin’s endorsement it would be quite the irony if Donald Trump did not win the day in “The Last Frontier.” The estimated Delegate Count per candidate after yesterday’s results is, Trump – 274, Cruz – 149, Rubio – 82, Katich – 25, and Carson – 8. The total required to clinch the Nomination is 1,237 Delegates; happy hunting.
You can believe it, or you can do your best ostrich imitation and stick your head in the sand. Alas, to do so is quite simply to fool yourself. That’s your choice; I ain’t gonna be mad atcha. When all is said and done, what you are left with is…”An Inconvenient Truth The GOP Refuses To Openly Admit!”
I’m done; holla back!
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