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Presidential Horse Race 2016: GOP Elites damaged the Republican brand, not Donald Trump

Reaction to Donald Trump’s latest “controversial” proposal (temporarily banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. until representatives figure out what’s going on) has been swift and steady with condemnations coming from nearly all circles.

Trump has once again (mostly) united the parties in opposition to something he said. That takes some doing these days.

Donald TrumpOf course the majority of the comments don’t really address The Donald’s main point – that U.S. leaders need to clarify their own policies on who enters or stays in this country legally or otherwise – but who is going to miss a good opportunity to appear “tolerant” in today’s politically correct world?

Certainly not John Kasich or Jeb Bush. They’re “tolerant” of lots of things lately, including microscopic poll numbers.

Democrats, of course, are giddy that Trump is leading the Republican race, assuming his presence in the party will give them an advantage in next year’s general election whether he is the nominee or not.

Caitlin Huey-Burns of Real Clear Politics tells why Democrats are so happy. “It’s because they believe the business mogul has damaged the GOP brand to an irreversible degree and given them a leg up in the November election.

“And Trump’s latest call, ‘for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on,’ has Democrats gleefully pointing out many Republicans have vowed to support Trump if he’s the nominee. Several GOP candidates were quick, however, to condemn Trump’s proposal.”

Let them believe whatever they want. Trump hasn’t harmed any brands, especially the Republican Party’s. The inept leadership of the GOP has damaged its brand far beyond anything Donald Trump could do or say. If the elites could simply articulate a policy on immigration, The Donald wouldn’t be where he is today.

But that’s beside the point. Who knows whether Trump could win the general election, but it’s looking pretty bleak on the Democrat side one way or the other. Hillary Clinton is a not well regarded by an American public which looks at her as a proven liar and someone who just isn’t affable. Democrats don’t even like her, but they favor her anyway.

In that sense, she’s no Barack Obama, that’s for sure. Democrats turned out to vote for O because of “hope and change,” right? What’s Hillary’s selling point? More of the same, only with a female face this time around?

Democrats can hate on Trump all day long, but trying to win an election strictly by fueling citizens to vote AGAINST the other side isn’t a very good strategy. Republicans tried it in 2008 and 2012 and it didn’t work very well. Conservatives didn’t give a hoot about voting FOR John McCain and Mitt Romney, but they showed up to go against Obama.

The result? Eight years of Obama.

Americans turned out to vote FOR Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 and he was elected twice in landslides.

Another flaw in Huey-Burns’ article is the people she interviewed for it. She quotes a number of Democrats in the story, all of whom joyfully gleamed about how Trump is irreparably damaging the Republican Party. What else are they going to say? That he’s a good guy who just says strange things?

They’ll claim the same exact thing against Ted Cruz if he wins the GOP nomination. Perhaps predictably, they like Marco Rubio… that should tell you something right there.

Finally, Democrats are just as anxious about their own brand in the wake of Obama’s pathetically weak terrorism speech the other night where the president once again shamed Americans for their own concerns about radicalized Muslims in the country.

Niall Stanage of The Hill reports, “Democrats are increasingly fearful that President Obama’s handling of the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is becoming a liability for their party.

“Those fears have become more acute after Obama’s Sunday evening address from the Oval Office, where the president unveiled little by way of news or strategic shifts.”

A recent poll shows Obama’s approval rating on handling terrorism at 38 percent with 60 percent disapproval. Those aren’t exactly strong numbers to run after an incumbent on the premier issue of the times.

And let’s not forget Hillary Clinton refuses to say “radical Islam.”

Once again, Donald Trump is not stupid. He certainly knew his comments would stir the pot – and he welcomes the attention. Whether he benefits from it politically is yet to be seen, but he’s once again got people talking – and most of the chatter is about him.

If he doesn’t win the nomination, whoever does prevail will end up looking more “moderate” and “temperate” in comparison. That even includes Ted Cruz, who just might be more palatable to the electorate than he otherwise would be without The Donald in the race.

Since Democrats love to dish out advice, here’s some for them: be careful in making such bold predictions about damaged brands and election sweeps, because it could just as easily turn out to bite you in the behind.

All roads lead to Iowa for Ted Cruz

Yesterday we saw a new Monmouth Iowa poll with Ted Cruz in the lead.

Today we have a report from a very reputable political analyst who predicts Cruz will “crush the caucuses.”

Timothy P. Carney of the Washington Examiner writes, “Interviews with voters in Iowa showed that grass roots conservatives love Cruz mostly because ‘he does what he says he'll do.’ This sentiment reflects decades of frustration conservatives have had with the GOP — frustration that finally found voice in the 2010 Tea Party, and which has found its champion in Cruz. Relatedly, conservatives see Cruz as a fighter with spine…

“Rarely has a politician come by who can tap into the conservative emotions, frustrations, and hopes. Cruz will probably win Iowa barring the unexpected.”

Carney provides in-depth evaluations of all the major Republican competitors in Iowa and the points referencing Cruz above are just two of eight reasons why he thinks Ted is rising so rapidly there. It’s clear from Carney’s and others’ analyses that Ted is a hot ticket in the Hawkeye State and folks are gearing up to hand the Texas senator a convincing win.

Carney had good things to say about several of the top competitors but also thinks Ben Carson and Jeb Bush are basically non-entities in Iowa. That’s bad news for Carson especially, since any hope of maintaining the impression he’s a serious national candidate rested on him doing well there. If that doesn’t happen, there’s just nowhere else for Ben to get his mojo back.

Jeb didn’t figure to do much in Iowa anyway. He’ll finish fifth or sixth at best and his high unfavorable ratings nationwide will sink him pretty much everywhere else, too. He’s the consummate establishment candidate in a year where conservatives want to take a torch to the establishment Bush…that’s rhetorically speaking, of course.

As for Marco Rubio, Carney writes, “Rubio inspires those who come and see him speak, but he doesn't yet have a hook with which to draw in caucus-goers. Trump is the bomb-thrower, Cruz is the preacher, and Carson is the novelty. Rubio is just a Republican Senator.”

That’s a good synopsis of Rubio’s problem. Not only is Marco saddled by his amnesty past, he’s a resume-based candidate whose main argument is “I come from a poor immigrant background and I understand the American Dream.” That type of pitch may have worked for Barack Obama after eight years of George W. Bush, but people now want leaders with substance, not just someone who looks good in a suit.

Lastly, Carney pointedly discounts Donald Trump’s Iowa chances because his voters aren’t likely to turnout on Caucus Day and The Donald doesn’t have the professional on-the-ground organization to motivate first-time voters to show up.

Interestingly enough, Carney puts Chris Christie in as a potential dark horse candidate who can finish second or third if he can rally the establishment elites in the state. If that happens, Christie will be one to reckon with in New Hampshire.

Christie would then be well on the way to defeating Rubio in the “establishment primary” if that’s the case.

Trump still dropping hints of a third party bid

Finally today, ever the negotiator, Donald Trump is still talking about the possibility of a third-party presidential run next year even after having signed a pledge not to do so way back on September 3.

Kyle Cheney of Politico reports, “Donald Trump openly flirted with an independent presidential bid, noting on Facebook that a USA Today poll suggests two-thirds of his backers would stick with him if he did.”

Doing the math, two-thirds of perhaps 30% of the Republican primary electorate isn’t going to get you very far in the general election – far less than the 19% Ross Perot received in 1992 as the most successful non-major party presidential candidate of our times.

It’s highly doubtful many Democrats would be on board for Trump and he might get a very small slice of the independent and/or normal third-party vote.

In other words, if Trump runs third-party it’s because he wants to sink the Republicans, not to become president.

There’s really been no indication he wants to do that unless the party establishment overtly takes him out with TV ads or other more sinister means. Trump’s repeatedly said he only wants to be treated fairly.

Only he can determine what’s fair, but the Republican elites better not engage Trump in a game of chicken and then unfairly fix the rules against him. That’s one contest they’re certain to lose.

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Donald Trump and the Republican establishment

It's too soon to predict the Republican winner in 2016 but the liberal media
and the Republican establishment should stop bashing Donald Trump. This man is popular among American Republican voters and he's going to make America great again. Democrats and their left wing media don't like Donald Trump because he's conservative enough to stand up to them and defend our constitutional liberties and put this country back on track that the liberals have destroyed. Donald Trump's view of banning Muslims coming into America is taken out of context by the liberal media. Mr. Trump wants Muslim coming from high risk countries into America to be screened because many Syrian and Iranian refugees living in the US have ties to Islamic Jihadist groups and are radicalized by ISIS this is a threat to our national security and personal freedoms. Mr. Trump is leading in the national polls and is no way affected by the Democrats RHETORIC.

Correction on Trump as 3rd party candidate

The reality is that we have three parties now: big government Democrats, big government Republicans, and limited government Republicans. Before you deny that, think about what has been going on in DC. Is that your party? As long as the big government Republicans can be in control, they are happy to talk about how we have to stick together to defeat the Democrats. It's a con. If Trump or Cruz were to be the nominee, well see big government Republicans endorsing the Democrat in a scene that will be Colin Powell times 10,000. And the media will have a field day. And very few Democrats will switch parties to vote for a Republican.

The benefit of a Trump third party run is two-fold. First, instead of uniting the big government Democrats and Republicans, a Bush, Rubio etc. will split the big government vote. Secondly, there are a huge number of long-time Democrats that are deeply dismayed by what they see happening to their country. But they are hard-wired to never vote for a Republican. Trump running as a third party candidate will set them free.

So not only can Trump win as a third party candidate, it may be the only way to avoid another Democrat win.

Third Party Possibilities

I believe your analysis is pretty good. There are democrats who will switch and I am one of them. I, however, became a republican some time ago because I was disgusted with the pandering as exhibited by Obama and Hillary to the freeloaders. It is far more obvious these days. Imagine paying for everyone's college education via the working middle class backs! What an idiot! Someone somewhere has to pay for all the free stuff and it certainly is not the freeloaders or the rich. That left the middle class to which I belonged though at that time I was near the bottom of that rung. And it became clear to me that hard work via the democrats would just lead to more tax dollars wasted on lazy freeloaders or foolish government spending programs. And that was my money they were wasting.

Today I am well informed about the division in the GOP and most closely associate with the conservatives. The GOP and the democrats have both failed miserably over the years and it really is time to introduce a more conservative, budget conscious party. I think there are many democrat and GOP voters like me who want another alternative and will support a third party if it is made up of working class legal citizen's who want to see the freeloaders working and the businesses of this country not manipulating the political systems to benefit their own greedy agendas. With democrats and GOP rinos both the business manipulation is rampant and with the democrats additionally the freeloaders are made into dependents forever. All of this needs to be stopped. Welfare is not a lifestyle and businesses should not be allowed to purchase our political agendas.