Saturday, January 16, 2016

Is GOP Race Now Between Cruz and Trump?

The prospect of the GOP narrowing down to a race between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz illustrates how far the GOP has fallen.  Lowell at Blue Virginia aptly describes the contest as a "fascistic, bigoted thug vs. theocratic extremist wacko."  If this indeed becomes the defining contest of the nomination, the so-called GOP establishment will truly be reaping what it sowed when the Christofascists and other extremists were voted onto local city and county committees as I observed in my last days on the City Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach.  The lesson is that you NEVER allow extremists and those who reject objective reality onto official party bodies. Never, ever. A piece in the Washington Post looks at the scary prospect of one of these two extremists securing the nomination.  Here are highlights: 

As the presidential primary race moves into a more urgent and combative phase, there is growing acceptance among Republicans, including the Washington and financial elite, that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the two candidates most likely to become the party’s nominee.

Long expected to become a race between an outsider and an establishment candidate, it is coming down instead as one between two outsiders, with dwindling time for their rivals to change the trajectory before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1.

There is hope that one of the four establishment candidates may emerge as a consensus choice and consolidate support. The two who seem best positioned to do so, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie . . . .

“Trump and Cruz sucked all the oxygen out of the room, which is bad news for the establishment folks,” said Barry Bennett, a veteran GOP strategist who recently resigned as campaign manager to Ben Carson. “It doesn’t look like much is going to stop them. They’re in a tier off to themselves, and I think our nominee is going to be Cruz or Trump.”

Republican donors,  . . . . are suddenly adjusting their thinking and strategies.
Spencer Zwick, the national finance chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, said power brokers and financiers are now trying to cozy up to Trump in various ways, such as reaching out through mutual friends in New York’s business community.

“A lot of donors are trying to figure their way into Trump’s orbit. There is a growing feeling among many that he may be the guy, so people are certainly seeing if they can find a home over there,” he said.

Trump says he is rejecting large campaign donations, though he has relied heavily on small-dollar donations as well as his own money to fund his campaign.   Cruz, who has a more traditional finance operation, is aggressively courting establishment financiers. 

Their debate-night argument over whether the Canadian-born Cruz meets the constitutional requirements to serve as president spilled onto the campaign trail Friday in Iowa, where Trump revived his so-called “birther” attack in a CNN interview. He also hit Cruz over his recent admission that he had failed to properly disclose a loan during his 2012 Senate campaign.

Meanwhile, Cruz is starting to make an assertive case that Trump is an untrustworthy and unprincipled conservative. At the debate, the senator raised Trump’s past claim that he had “New York values,” charging that his once-liberal views on social issues were out of step with red America.

Some outside strategists are less bullish on Cruz, however. Eric Fehrnstrom, a former Romney adviser, said Trump remains in “total command of the field.” He said Cruz has yet to put the issue of his constitutional eligibility to rest and suggested he “produce his own expert,” such as retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor, to issue a statement confirming Cruz’s qualifications.

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