It’s Donald Trump. Trump is perceived as a much bigger threat to Establishment Republicans than Hillary could ever be.
Mostly because the Republican Establishment has more in common with Hillary than they do with Trump. Or, for that matter, with Carly Fiorina or Ben Carson or Ted Cruz.
And the Republican Establishment is running scared .
In phone calls, private dinners and occasional consultations among otherwise rivalrous outside groups, many have concluded that Mr. Trump’s harsh manner and continued attacks on immigrants and women were endangering the party’s efforts to compete in the general election. Yet after committing hundreds of millions of dollars to shape the Republican primary contest and groom a candidate who can retake the White House, the conservative donor class is finding that money — even in an era of super PACs and billion-dollar presidential campaigns — is a devalued currency in the blustery, post-policy campaign fashioned by Mr. Trump, driven not by seven-figure advertising campaigns but by Twitter feuds and unending free publicity.
The problem the Republican Establishment has – are you listening Jeb! – is that they don’t understand that THEY are the problem. The people who are going to show up to vote in the Republican primaries are the same people the Establishment has been lying to and ignoring for the last eight years and they’ve had it. Make that, we’ve had it.
Donald Trump is running away from the field, and the non-Establishment candidates are burying everybody. In the latest poll from Gravis …
Trump – 40.1%
Carson – 13.0%
Bush – 10.0%
Cruz – 7.0%
Fiorina – 5.2%
Four of the top five candidates are rabidly anti-Republican Establishment. Cruz is the only one who’s held office and the Establishment would burn him at the stake if they could figure out how to do it.
The anti-Republican Establishment candidates, a grand total of four from a field of 16 who were polled, garner 65.3% of the support from Republican primary registered voters. The poll has a margin-of-error of 2%.
How bad is this poll for the Republican Establishment? Well, it was conducted on August 21 & 22 so it’s likely Trump’s numbers are even better. And then there’s the money factor. Here’s money picture.
Cruz is the only one of the leaders who has raised significant money. Rand Paul has done pretty well, but he’s out of the running. To put this in perspective for the Establishment, Lindsay Graham has raised over three times as much as The Donald and he’s not even a blip on the polling radar.
At this point it’s impossible to know if Trump is going to be the nominee. He’s got lots of political baggage that can haunt him. There’s multiple positions on lots of issues and his donations to Democrats including both Hillary Clinton and Anthony Weiner for starters.
Those issues aside, he’s also arguably the candidate right now with the most conservative rhetoric. Yes it’s just rhetoric, but nobody else – especially on the Establishment side – is even offering that.
Right now my question is, what is Jeb! going to do with $100 million when his numbers fall below Carly and Cruz after the Reagan Library debate? He’s got zero traction and I seriously doubt $100 million of TV ads attacking Trump and/or touting his record as governor of Florida are going to offset his perception as the Mexican candidate for President.
Pass the popcorn.