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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Trump bullies the RNC and Fox into cancelling debate

We’ve reached St. Patricks’ Day in the 2016 Republican presidential race, and while the overall picture is a bit clearer than it was around Christmastime, there’s still a lot left to explore.

Now that the “named” Tuesdays are behind us (Super Tuesday, Little Tuesday and Super-Duper Tuesday), it’s a good time to take a step back and consider…what now?

TrumpertantrumThe flurry of campaign activity that’s been so much a part of the past three or so months is going to take a bit of a breather now – or at least after next Tuesday’s Utah caucuses and Arizona primary take place.

Wisconsin votes on April 5, but there isn’t another state voting after that until April 19, when New York holds its primary. The week following, April 26, shows five more states holding elections – Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. In other words, there’s well over a month to go until the next “Super” voting day.

The candidates will still be working 24/7 all through the interim period, but in terms of focusing on multiple states at once, those days are on hold. Hence a new phase is entered.

As for the overall strategy, it remains the same – keep fighting.

David French of National Review writes, “Any normal race would be over. But this is not a normal election. We’ve gone from a race where the political wing of the conservative movement is at stake, to a contest where America finds itself teetering on the edge of political violence not seen since 1968. In such circumstances, patriots simply do not give up, and they especially don’t give up while there are still glimmers of hope.”

As I’ve argued for several weeks now, the race is basically down to two men, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. John Kasich may still technically be a candidate, but it really isn’t clear what his rationale may be for continuing to campaign.

Even with winning his home state of Ohio on Tuesday, Kasich’s still hopelessly behind in the delegate count and has been mathematically eliminated from any possibility of earning the 1237 delegates necessary to win the nomination.

So why press on?

My best guess is that with all the major establishment candidates gone from the race (Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie), Kasich now believes the establishment “lane” is his alone now. I think this is a flawed analysis for several reasons.

First, there’s no telling how Marco Rubio’s endorsers are going to feel about switching to a candidate who obviously has NO chance of winning. Endorsements always carry with them a downside – being associated with losers is never a good thing for a politician.

These people had already got onboard with the golden boy who was supposed to be the “one to beat” when Jeb Bush left the race after South Carolina. I doubt they’ll be so quick to switch endorsements to Kasich now, who is symbolic of the “old” Republican Party that’s been so thoroughly rejected by this year’s “outsider” favoring electorate.

Second, establishment donors have been utterly burned this cycle, first with Bush, then with Rubio. Again, what’s the incentive to write checks for a guy who’s not going to win? Would they risk money on a candidate whose only shot is to prevail in a contested convention where the top delegate winners are somehow eliminated?

Lastly, many in the establishment have already recognized that Ted Cruz is the only viable option to Trump and have started warming up to the idea that a process-observing candidate is a much better – and safer – alternative to a wildcard reality TV star who’s a recent convert to conservatism and the party itself.

I’m not saying the establishment cares all that much about ideology, but they do value their jobs. Cruz has never threatened to run third party and Ted knows he’ll need to work with the GOP apparatus and personnel in many instances to get anything accomplished.

Ronald Reagan knew it; so does Cruz.

Republicans realize they need to keep the party together in order to be successful. Trump may make “deals,” but those arrangements will be subject to the whims of the head guy and him alone. Just yesterday, Trump pretty much admitted he’s his own foreign policy advisor, for example.

Trump is also likely to make thugs like (campaign manager) Corey Lewandowski his chief of staff if he wins the presidency – how are the elites going to like that?

In other words, the only thing left to do is keep fighting for Ted Cruz. John Kasich will do as he pleases. Maybe he’ll come to his senses after getting clobbered badly again next week in Utah and Arizona. Maybe he won’t.

Conservatives finally have a clear choice. Let’s all act on it.

Trump bails on the next debate, Kasich follows, Fox cancels

Ever since Donald Trump took a clear lead in the Republican race he’s been calling for party unity. He did so again on Tuesday night, mentioning all the new voters he’s bringing in and suggesting that if he’s not at the head of the ticket, those voters will go away.

But just because he’s begging for unity doesn’t mean Trump’s willing to go along with it himself. In a very Donald-like move, he’s apparently decided to ignore the debate scheduled for next Monday night.

Al Weaver of the Washington Examiner reports, “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday (during an appearance on ‘Fox and Friends’) that he would not be attending the last GOP debate on Monday in Utah, citing a prior commitment to speak before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference that day.

“’We've had enough debates ... How many times can the same people ask you the same question,’ Trump said. ‘I won't be there, no.’”

Of course, The Donald hasn’t actually answered very many questions throughout the debates, so I’m not sure what he’s referring to.

This is just the latest bit of bizarre behavior from the new face of the Republican Party. Trump alone decides what he’s going to do and what he’s not going to do.

I liken it to Trump’s being his own three branches of government: he makes the rules, decides on whether to enforce them or leave them alone and finally decides what they really mean.

What is Trump trying to accomplish with this debate boycott? I have a few theories:

One, he’s scared at the prospect of having to spend two hours on stage with Ted Cruz with only John Kasich there to serve as a buffer. Trump got through the past couple debates because he could make fun of “Little Marco” and dodge the substance of issues as long as possible.

With only three candidates remaining and an interested national audience looking on, he can’t hide anymore.

Two, Trump is already conceding defeat in Utah and most likely Arizona, so he sees no potential benefit to debating again. He doesn’t need the exposure and there isn’t any upside for him.

Third, Trump is thumbing his nose at the GOP. Since the debate is being given by the Republican National Committee, he’s sending a signal that he can’t be controlled. It’s a very public affront to the party leaders (whether or not it’s deserved) and a warning shot across the bow.

Lastly, the fact Fox News is again hosting the debate probably has something to do with Trump’s decision to skip it, since he doesn’t want to give the impression he’s helping them out.

In reaction to Trump’s statements, John Kasich’s spokesman said the Ohio governor isn’t going to participate either. Fox News then announced they’re pulling the plug on the whole idea.

Trump certainly won this round. If he cares so much about “unifying” the party, why wouldn’t he agree to meet the other candidates again to clarify the choices?

Delusional Kasich won’t get far even if he makes it to the convention

John Kasich may be vowing to campaign all the way through the Republican convention in July, but that doesn’t mean he’ll even be let into the building once he gets there.

Kyle Cheney of Politico reports, “Advisers to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz say there's no way they'll allow John Kasich to even compete at a contested national convention — let alone prevail.

“Trump and Cruz are betting that their dual dominance in the delegate hunt will permanently box out the Ohio governor, who has no mathematical path to the nomination and is openly pursuing a floor fight at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. And their aides say Kasich won't even make it to the floor.”

It very easily can happen that way. Together, Trump’s and Cruz’s delegates will approve of the convention rules. There’s also the rule adopted in 2012 requiring candidates to win the majority of delegates in at least eight states.

Kasich doesn’t have a prayer of satisfying that one and I doubt the Cruz and Trump people will be in the mood to change it.

As if the rules barriers weren’t enough, what political argument could Kasich make for his nomination when he’s finished in single digits in so many states up to this point, especially in the south where the party base is strongest?

Kasich and his delusional advisors argue the calendar favors them going forward, but even if some miracle should happen and they win a hefty sum of delegates, most of them would be from blue states.

It just doesn’t make much sense. Kasich gives the impression of a man who simply doesn’t care, perhaps the last vestiges of a dying old establishment. Or, he’s vying to be Trump’s vice president by holding Cruz down.

I vote for the latter explanation.

Jindal says Trump’s success is wake-up call for the establishment

Finally today, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal didn’t make it very far during his run for the Republican presidential nomination, but he has some salient observations for party leaders.

Mark Hensch of The Hill reports Jindal told MSNBC host Chuck Todd, “’The GOP establishment is done for. This race shows that.

“’Voters are angry and frustrated and, in some part, the Republican Party deserves some of that frustration. Donald Trump should serve as a wake-up call.’”

Jindal advanced a solid conservative message in his campaign last year, though he somewhat inexplicably endorsed Marco Rubio ahead of the Louisiana primary.

Known for his wonkish policy prescriptions, Jindal is just about the opposite of Trump. Whereas Trump is as vague as possible at all times, Jindal is perhaps too detailed for the average voter to understand.

But he’s exactly right about Trump and the establishment – they are done for. With only Trump and Ted Cruz with any realistic shot at the nomination, their days of calling all the shots in Washington are numbered.

Let’s just hope it’s Cruz who gets the final say in helping them realize it.

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Not for Trump!

Trump is afraid to debate Ted Cruz plain and simple because he knows he would lose big time! Trump has no substance and I doubt he has ever even read our Constitution. He never mentions bringing our Country back to Consitutional limited government which is what is needed to restore things. Fox is a chump just like Trump for cancelling this debate.

Conservatives under the microscope!

I am a 74 year old Conservative Christian. I have been a Republican for over 50 years, never missed an election. I thought I was for Cruz, who the Republican Elite hates. I never thought they would settle for him as their candidate. But a funny thing happened. A guy named Trump has excited an electorate long abandoned by the Ruling Elite of both parties. Today's "conservative Republican" is somewhat left of JFK in the '60's. People are seeing someone who may actually listen to the American Voter and proceed as a true American hero, not a sell-out to the establishment or the people with the loudest vendetta. He won't be hamstrung by lobbyists.
As for Trump thumbing his nose at Megyn Kelly - Look at the tape of the last FOX debate. Worst debate, worst moderation I have ever seen.

In short, I had lost all hope of America ever being great again. And while Trump may not make it happen, right now he is our Best, Last Hope!

Trumps sucess is wakeup call for establishment.

The success of Trump is only a wakeup call if he gets the nomination, gets elected and fulfills his supposed agenda.
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On the other hand if Trump gets elected and back tracks on his promises and his agenda then it will be all hell breaking out for everyone. The people who voted for him may be lost forever.
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I still believe the true outsider is Senator Cruz. Where was Trump when Senator Cruz was standing up to the establishment politicians in both parties.
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Many of the people who support Trump are those who do not pay attention to what is happening in Washington on a daily basis, they don't have a clue, low information voters.

Kasich is in to steal the convention

SOMEBODY has to have promised St John a reward for sticking it out through the convention. Otherwise he's smoking stuff you can't even buy in Colorado.

I do think he's delusional about his popularity and his ability to win, but remember one thing - the same guy who so pissed off the Paul delegates and supporters by a rule change in 2012 that they worked against Romney in the general, has been supporting Kasich - John H Sununu - NH's very own evil gnome.

Kasich

He is running for Postmaster General, Or director of the Pony express.