Can You Imagine A President Ted Cruz Yet?
Trump is still way ahead in every poll-- nationally with an average of 23.2% (6 points ahead of his closest rival), In iowa with an average of 22.3% (6 points ahead of his closest rival), in New Hampshire with an average of 25.3% (double his closest rival) and in South Carolina with an average of 34.0% (15 points ahead of his closest rival). The pundits insist he's starting to trend down and that it's just a matter of time before he's overtaken by... by who? You need an actual contender to overtake a frontrunner. Trump leads Jeb by 15 points nationally, by 15 points in Iowa, by 17 points in New Hampshire, by over 28 points in Iowa and by 28 points in South Carolina. And this week's pundit-fave, Marco Rubio lags Trump by 13 points nationally, by 14 points in Iowa, by 18 points in New Hampshire and by 29 points in South Carolina. The only poll completed this month has Trump besting Jeb 27-10% nationally and besting Rubio 27-13%. This morning, Maggie Haberman in the NYTimes speculated that Trump is laying the groundwork for a campaign exit, something Trump vociferously denies.
And it isn't just the pundits and the GOP Establishment who are counting on Trump "going away." (On Morning Joe Friday morning, Trump said "I'm never getting out.") Ted Cruz's whole campaign strategy includes Trump eventually dropping out and somehow transferring his own support to the extremist Texas senator who isn't on the same page with Trump on all that many issues other than their shared bigotry towards low-end immigrants. Thursday in an interview with ABC's Rita Cosby (above) that will air tomorrow. Cruz has been the only Republican to not just refuse to attack Trump but to always express admiration for him. It's been widely noticed that he;'s been sucking up to Trump big time and everyone guessed his strategy. In the interview with Cosby he answered a question if he could beat Trump by saying, "I don't believe Donald is going to be the nominee, and I think in time, the lion's share of his supporters end up with us."
Trump operative Daniel Scavino took umbrage on Twitter:
I'm not going to make a case that Trump somehow doesn't go the distance and win his nutty party's primary. But... if he doesn't and if he does drop out, it's looking more and more that Rubio will be the weak candidate of the establishment and Cruz will be the weak candidate of the... I don't know how to categorize him... the Confederates? AP reported yesterday that Cruz trounced Rubio in third quarter fundraising, $12.6 million for the Texas fascist and around $6 million for the younger party boy from Miami. That may seem like a big deal, but not if the Kochs follow through with the rumbling about them getting their right-wing network to get behind Rubio as the more "electable" of the two. I guess Fiorina could be VP for either, although it's been the Cruz campaign that's been financing her demented screed of a campaign so far-- and the Kochs like her too.
A little update on the Kochs and Fiorina-- apparently another one of her incessant lies. Charles Koch did an interview that will appear tomorrow on CBS' Sunday Morning in which he flatly denies the claims about backing Fiorina, claims the Fiorina campaign have been spreading far and wide. From the interview:
Anthony Mason: "You said, you're not particularly high on any of the candidates so far?"
Charles Koch: "Well, I didn't say that. I said I don't have the evidence that they're going to change the trajectory of the country."
"Are you intending to support a candidate for President?"
"Well, it depends."
"If Donald Trump got the nomination, would you support him?"
"I made a vow: I'm not going to talk about individuals. David said he liked [Scott] Walker, so now all the press is, 'Well, we put all this money behind Walker, and he had to drop out.' We didn't put a penny [on him]. David said he liked him. That doesn't mean we've picked him."
"Were you surprised Walker's candidacy didn't resonate in any way?"
"Well, I thought it would resonate better. But he wasn't a very good campaigner. So you may agree with us on a number of issues, or we agree with you on a number of issues. But if you're presenting them in a way that doesn't resonate, that doesn't do any good. So we can't support you.
"We're not interested in attacking windmills."
Freedom Partners, an umbrella group that the Kochs support, has said Carly Fiorina is one of the candidates they "look forward to hearing more from."
But when Mason asked Koch about reports that he is "increasingly interested" in Fiorina, Koch laughed.
"Listen, if there's a report about me, just say, 'Okay, that is probably the opposite.' And you'll be on firmer ground."
"You're denying that report?"
Keep in mind that Cruz's super PACs raised $38 million as of the end of June thanks to eight-digit donations from three super-rich far right families, making him the best-funded candidate among all the extremists. Crackpot oil billionaire Wilks brothers-- Farris (a certifiably insane, woman-hating, gay-hating, satanic preacher) and younger bro Dan-- for example, gave $15 million to one of the Cruz SuperPACs. And it's not just the crazy Wilks brothers doing everything they can to help Cruz undermine American democracy and take over the White House. Another certifiably insane billionaire, paranoid hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer gave $11 million and the son of right-wing Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer, Toby, gave $10 million. The only Republican who's raised as much loot as Cruz is Jeb Bush, who is thoroughly despised-- in part thanks to Trump's constant and effective attacks-- by the Republican base and the GOP activists who just forced John Boehner to announce his retirement. As Janet Hook and Patrick O'Connor wrote in yesterday's Wall Street Journal these activists and the base extremists are re-making the Republican Party in their own insane image. "The insurgent uprisings rocking the Republican Party in Congress and the presidential campaign," they wrote, "are creating heartburn among establishment party figures, who worry an unguided fury will keep the GOP from reclaiming the White House next fall."
Both sides suspect that the Grand Old Party, long run by a hierarchical and well-organized elite, is being transformed by the conservative anger that initially propelled the party back to congressional power in 2010.
...This ground-up rebellion is shaking a party long dominated by seniority that habitually elevates the next person in line. This is particularly true in the presidential primary. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of the last two GOP presidents and the early favorite among the party’s establishment voters, has failed to generate enthusiasm among the grass roots.
Instead, the primary has been dominated by Mr. Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Carly Fiorina. Roughly half of Republican primary voters named one of the three political neophytes as their preferred pick for the nomination, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted late last month... [G]rass-roots leaders warn that there may not be an easy resolution to the feud.
“This is a fight that’s going to go on for years to come,” said Mark Meckler, a conservative organizer who travels the country talking to other activists. “We’re winning the fight in the court of public opinion, but we’re not winning in the policy arena. Not yet, at least.”