So now with three decisive wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada and Super Tuesday’s 12 primaries looking like a lay down in every state but Texas, Donald Trump’s quest for the 2016 Republican nomination for president is no longer just a campaign.
It is now “Trumpnado.”
Like the inexplicably popular sci-fi film series that features all manner of sharks hurtling out of the sky down on a hapless and terrified population, establishment GOP candidates, consultants, donors and party regulars seem powerless to stem the tide of the Trump onslaught. And within the sacred temples of conservative punditry, the panic is even greater.
Every political prediction they’ve made has been wrong. Even after Trump blew away his main rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in South Carolina, they still piously opined that the Donald had hit his ceiling at roughly 35 percent of the vote and once the GOP field narrowed to a two-man race, the anti-Trump finalist would prevail.
Then came Nevada. If results are to be believed, Trump garnered 46 percent of the vote, captured almost every voter demographic including Hispanics and beat the totals of Cruz and Rubio combined. And even if John Kasich and Ben Carsonhad dropped out before Nevada’s caucuses and their collective support had swung entirely to Cruz or Rubio, those two guys still would have lost. Big time.
So as the Republican presidential sweepstakes now switches from a regional to a national platform approaching the March primaries, a day of reckoning is closing in on the demonizers of Donald, be they “principled conservatives” a la Cruz or good ol’boy establishment GOP’er’s begrudgingly shuffling their support from Jeb Bush to Rubio. Whatever you think of the Trump campaign, it is sophisticated, serious, and swiftly upending all your preconceived notions about winning an election. It is time to either light a candle or continue cursing the darkness at your peril.
To assist in the decision making, here are three takeaways from the Republican race thus far:
1) No one besides the Trump campaign has correctly assessed the level of anger that is coursing through the American voter. Governors Walker, Christie, and Bush thought that ire was directed at the Washington based administration of President Obama. Wrong. Cruz wants us to believe the fury should be leveled against the “Washington Cartel,”the Republican and Democratic lawmakers colluding daily against average Americans and their conservative champions. But so far poll results tell us that institutional representatives wherever they serve are on trial in this election cycle’s court of public opinion.
2) Democrats have to be more concerned about numbers than names. The consistent story from Iowa through Nevada has been record turnouts for Republicans and diminishing totals for Democrats. Even his most virulent critics admit this is due to Trump’s presence. And with the preponderance of upcoming primaries being open, meaning both independents and Democrats can participate, it is not just Cruz and Rubio who should be worried but Clinton and Sanders too.
3) Finally there has been far too much buzzing about the level of coarseness this campaign and one candidate’s behavior in particular. Vulgarity and brutality are not new to American politics. In 1800, the election in which Thomas Jefferson unseated John Adams was so bitterly contested it led to the duel in which Alexander Hamilton was shot dead by Aaron Burr. Hamilton was a private citizen at the time. Burr was the Vice President of the United States!
And you think Trump is a loose cannon?
Grandy starred on “The Love Boat,” then was a Republican member of Congress from Iowa, then hosted a radio talk show. He lives in Charlotte.