What does it say about the utter chaos a political party is in when state party machines are actively conspiring to keep the party's national front-runner off the primary ballot?
Amid mounting concerns about Donald Trump’s candidacy from the GOP establishment, Republican leaders in at least two states have found a way to make life a lot harder for him.
The Virginia and North Carolina parties are in discussions about implementing a new requirement for candidates to qualify for their primary ballots: that they pledge to support the Republican presidential nominee — and not run as a third-party candidate — in the general election.
The procedural moves are clearly aimed at Trump, who pointedly refused to rule out a third-party run during the first GOP debate.
They come amid Republican fears that the real estate mogul is gaining strength in the primary contest, and that his jeremiads against undocumented immigrants will alienate Hispanic voters. Despite coming under a hail of criticism in recent weeks, Trump has held steady atop state and national polls.
John Whitbeck, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, said the proposal was among many that the organization was considering as it sketches out its ballot access requirements for the 2016 GOP primary. The ultimate decision, he said, would be made by the 84 members who make up the state party’s central committee, which is slated to meet on Sept. 19. The requirements must be submitted to the Republican National Committee by Oct. 1.
If implemented, Whitbeck said, the provision would be similar to ones the party adopted for statewide races held in 2013 and 2014.
In other words, if Trump has any plans whatsoever to run as the ultimate GOP version of Ralph Nader and hand a massive win to the Democrats, he won't even get on the ballot in two key states.
Republicans at the national level are 100% terrified of Trump. They know he'd lose in a landslide, but if they get rid of him this early, he'll just run as a third-party candidate and sink the party next November anyway. And worst of all, the Trump GOP faithful are going to do everything they can to bring his awful racism to the November 2016 ballot.
“Nothing disqualifies Trump.”
That was the takeaway of Frank Luntz, the public opinion guru, after leading a focus group Monday night of supporters of Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign.
For two and a half hours, Luntz quizzed a group of current and past ardent Trump fans about their views on the businessman. He discussed the candidate’s past liberal stances and played past video of Trump saying provocative things about women. Yet when the focus group was over, not a single person who was planning to vote for him said they had changed their mind.
“This is absolutely for real,” Luntz said of the intense and loyal support for Trump. “And he is not going away. And he is as strong as every survey shows. All those people who think he’s going to implode have not sat and talked to these voters the way that they should have.”
The focus group was made up of 29 people, six of whom said they no longer support Trump but did in the past. Asked to describe Trump in one word or phrase, the answers varied: “businessman,” “brave,” “successful,” “results,” “decisive,” “leader,” “guts,” “charismatic,” “bombastic,” “not a politician,” “not P.C.,” “true American,” “brash,” “decisive,” “kick ass and take names.”
“When he talks, deep down somewhere, you’re going, ‘crap, somebody is thinking the same way I am,’” said one man.
It's nothing short of panic mode and we get to watch the long, slow train wreck for months.
Damned if you do, as they say. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of complete assholes, too.