Monday, August 31, 2015

The State of the Race — Republicans

Trump. Trump. Trump.

Sound familiar.

Yet it is. The Donald is still in first place in the recent round of polls. Right around 28% according to the Quinnipiac Poll. The next closest challenger is at 12%. And the person in second place is Ben Carson. All of the establishment candidates are in single digits.

Trump’s poll numbers continue to go up. The collapse that everyone in the media and punditry and the Republican Party seem to be wrong, at least so far. Trump continues to suck all the oxygen out of the room. He continues to be the main political story on the news. On the MSNBC nightly talk shows there are at least a couple of stories on each show every night. Trump probably doesn’t need to run any sort of campaign ads because of all the free publicity he gets.

That publicity means his poll numbers will in all likelihood remain high. And that means he will be in the second debate which is a little less than three weeks away. So he’ll be the center of attention again. It will be interesting who else gets to be on stage with him. But no doubt about it he will be center to everything.

Some in the media are actually starting to take him seriously. Personally I think he’s just one more clown in the Republican clown bus but he is and has been since he announced ahead in the polls. And that cannot be ignored. But I don’t seem him going away anytime soon. I think he will be around for the first contests.

It is time the media cover him in a more serious way. The editorializing in the straight news stories, especially on TV, need to stop. There are slight and very subtle digs against the Trump campaign in the news coverage. I saw in one report a correspondent refer to it as the Trump show. I can’t imagine them saying the same thing about Jeb Bush’s campaign. They wouldn’t call it a show.

Now that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be asking tough questions. The standard line from Trump I’ll be the greatest president ever or fill in the blank on whatever issue he’s talking about. The obvious question is how would he do that. On immigration how would you deport all those people, where would the money come from to undertake such a program. And so on. They are starting to do that but the Donald just brushed them aside. Which of course the people who support Trump love to see because they hate the media.

The talking heads all see Trump as a fad. A summer fling that will fade away once fall and serious campaigning begins. That may indeed be true. But this could be a different type of campaign. Where candidates have access to huge sums of money that allows them to stay in for as long as the money lasts. It might also be the campaign where the far right decides they no longer are going to listen to the Republican establishment. This time around they will nominate a candidate to their liking. That just might be Trump. There are some problems with Trump and his positions that will come up with this group. But right now they are so pissed at the Republican establishment they just want to see that establishment suffer.

This has happened because the Republican establishment has made all sorts of promises to the far right that they have not been able to keep. Case number one is repealing Obamacare. Over and over again they promised Obamacare would go away. But the reality is they knew this was not going to happen. They made this promise to get votes. They did not make it because they thought they would be able to accomplish it. And that’s just one of the issues the establishment has failed on. Trump is the way for the people who feel they’ve been fed a line to get some pay back.

The question is of course how long can Trump keep going. It seems normal political events have little if any impact on his campaign. My feeling he is it for the long haul. And that should make establishment Republicans very nervous.

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