Just a few months ago we were all so excited about the field of possible GOP candidates for President, do you remember? We were waiting on pins and needles to hear from folks like Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal and others. Then they began announcing their candidacy, one by one they came, and other conservatives came too, including Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry. We were so excited. Sure, there were the usual liberal/moderate RINO squishes like Chris Christie, John Kasich and Jeb Bush… but most conservative voters have NEVER gotten to see a field with so many conservative candidates to choose from! It was truly going to be a fabulous election season for us…
And then it happened.
Donald Trump stepped in and threw the entire nominating process into chaos.
I know, I know. Many of you love him. Many of you are his foundation of support, his voter base and you don’t like me talking about him in such a negative way. Well, too bad. Donald Trump is no conservative and Donald Trump is wreaking havoc on what should have been a wonderful year for conservatives.
Over at CNN Stephen Collinson has written an interesting analysis of the chaos that has become the GOP nominating process and how Trump has played a large role in that process.
They were supposed to be the dream team.
When the 2016 White House race ignited, the glut of talented, experienced, charismatic, young-but-seasoned and authentically conservative candidates delighted grassroots Republican activists. It was the GOP’s deepest White House field in a generation.
But Donald Trump’s summer surge has stolen the spotlight from these challengers for the conservative crown and left candidates such as Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul struggling for traction.
While their eclipse may yet prove to be temporary, it has raised questions about the political viability of this much-hyped group in the early primary states…
So far in this constantly surprising campaign, it turns out that a political track record, foreign policy expertise, standing in the national party and adherence to conservative values may be less important than harnessing the fierce anti-establishment feeling consuming the GOP grassroots.
The tsunami of anger at party elites lifting Trump and other outsiders — anti-politicians such as Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson — is rendering any connection with the higher echelons of the GOP a liability for now. And Trump’s outsize personality and talent for eviscerating what he sees as America’s dysfunctional political culture has also blunted some of the assets of contenders as diverse as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“Conservatives are really hungry for someone who is outside Washington, somebody who has not been on the treadmill of government, someone who will take on Washington and break up all these old models,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union. “I think we should move beyond the idea that Donald Trump is a flash in the pan. He is demonstrating that he is a real candidate who has sustained support.”
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