Tuesday, February 23, 2016

GOP Wakes Up to Trump Nightmare

A piece in Politico looks at the growing angst in the GOP as one time party elites realize that they may be unable to kill the Frankenstein monster they created in the form of Donald Trump and the increasingly insane party base which is controlled by right wing Christian extremists and those who want to over throw the U.S. Constitution and embrace trump's fascist policies.  But for the threat posed to the nation, there is satisfaction of the GOP establishment finally reaping what it has sown over the last 20+ years.  Here are article excerpts:

Establishment Republicans are reckoning with something they thought would never happen: That it might soon be too late to stop Donald Trump.

With the controversial businessman the clear front-runner heading into Nevada and next week’s Super Tuesday contests, there’s an emerging consensus that the odds of dislodging him are growing longer by the day. Whispered fears that Trump could become the Republican nominee have given way to a din of resigned conventional wisdom – with top party officials and strategists openly wondering what the path to defeating him will be.

The biggest hurdle confronting the mogul’s four rivals is that they continue to divide support among themselves. In each of the three contests that have been held so for, the anti-Trump field has fractured, making it impossible for any single contender to surpass him. A similar dynamic could play out again in Nevada, with Trump failing to win a majority of support but still earning more than his opponents. 

While the field has winnowed somewhat in recent days, the compressed nature of this year’s Republican primary calendar means there is precious little time for the anti-Trump field to consolidate. Should Trump notch his third consecutive win on Tuesday, some foresee him steamrolling through Super Tuesday a week later, when a quarter of the party’s delegates are awarded. A batch of newly released polls show him with sizable leads in several of those states, including Massachusetts and Georgia.

“Either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio would have a shot at the nomination, but I don’t see how they can stop Donald Trump while both of them are splitting votes,” said Al Cardenas, a former Florida Republican Party and American Conservative Union chairman who had supported Jeb Bush.

To some in the GOP leadership, Bush’s exit from the contest has reignited hopes that a fractured party establishment will eventually unite. Still, eating into Rubio’s vote share is John Kasich, a moderate Ohio governor who is charting a course through the Midwest – if he survives long enough to contest primaries like Michigan’s, to be held on March 8.

One senior party operative on Monday evening described “building irritation” with Kasich among GOP elders for staying in the race when has such a narrow path to the nomination – but said there was no consensus on the best way to force him out.

“Too many people don’t find Trump presidential and he reinforces that regularly. Now, our problem is we need to get the race down to two to three candidates to capitalize on it,” said Henry Barbour, a Republican National Committeeman from Mississippi who has been an outspoken voice in calling for his party to unite behind a single anti-Trump contender. “But there’s ample time.”

To dislodge Trump, though, Rubio must first defeat another rival: Cruz. People briefed on Rubio’s game plan say he’s planning to launch an all-out assault on the Texas senator, labeling him as a dishonest figure while appealing to evangelicals, a group that Cruz had been counting on – a strategy Rubio used with success in South Carolina. “Watch Rubio go nuclear on Cruz,” one source briefed on the plans said.

But if Cruz is vulnerable, so too is Rubio, who has yet to win a state and can point to few upcoming contests where he is the favorite. Cruz has campaigned aggressively across the South, which figures heavily in the delegate math and on Super Tuesday and March 15 in particular.

However the race unfolds, many are beginning to wonder if the Republican establishment has already been defeated at its own game. For all its planning and plotting, nothing has been able to halt Trump’s rise.

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