Donald Trump leading the pack of candidates, (13 still officially running), with a Real Clear Politics average of 30.4%, +14.8 over runner-up Ted Cruz, at 15.6%. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio follow up with identical 13.6% numbers, and then the rest of the candidates fall far back----Jeb Bush, 3.6%, Christie, Paul, Kasich, and Fiorina ranging from 2.6% to 2.2%, and the "final four", Huckabee, Santorum, Pataki, and Graham, garnering a total of 2.0%.
As long as this total field of candidates remain in this race, the Establishment Republican Cartel, (aka GOPe, aka Washington Power-brokers, aka the Anti-Trump coalition), are nervously figuring out that Mr. Trump could run the table on the Party's race to the Convention in July. Since the middle of July this year, Donald Trump has moved from a contender to the front-runner by a huge margin, (with a temporary lead held by Ben Carson before fading over the past few months).
What was once considered a race between Governors Scott Walker and Jeb Bush at the first of the year, one is gone, and Bush is in serious trouble of becoming another "also-ran". It was reported recently that Bush's Super-Pac has spent more than half their reserves, ($50 million), in ineffective advertising---to, in part, attack his opponents, and to keep his campaign from virtually fading into the sunset. Bush maintains he's confident that in the long run, he'll be there at the finish line, but political pundits and prognosticators have expressed their doubts. Between his lackluster performances in debates and the rise of Rubio's numbers, Bush might not make it to the SEC primaries in March.
But, enough of Bush's troubles. The REAL FIGHT is just beginning.
The current dilemma that the power-brokers in the Republican Establishment Cartel, (herein referred to as the REC), is the realization that they might have to choose between two candidates considered "out-siders" in either Donald Trump or the surging Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. The Political Pundits on the Hill believe it's down to a three-way race:
"Three candidates for the Republican nomination have broken away from the rest of the pack, and two of them — businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — give the GOP establishment nightmares.
That leaves the third member of the trio, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, potentially well placed to pick up the support of center-right Republican voters who are looking for someone to stop Trump and Cruz at almost any cost.
But Rubio is behind both of his top-tier rivals in national polling averages and is even further back in Iowa, home to the first-in-the-nation caucuses, where he holds fourth place, albeit behind the fast-fading Ben Carson.
An even deeper problem for the Florida senator is that other candidates who are competing for the same voters are unlikely to drop out before the New Hampshire primary. That means votes that might otherwise go to Rubio could instead be won by contenders such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich."Of course, from reading the "tea leaves" above, the Hill seems to think their last best hope, (for an establishment candidate), is Senator Rubio. GOP strategist John Feehery, (who is also a columnist for the Hill), did his best to berate the two front-runners, Trump and Cruz, claiming the "reputation of the party" is at stake:
“Listen, I think both Cruz and Trump would have a similar impact on the party, neither of which would be very good. I am actually more concerned about Cruz than I am about Trump,” said GOP strategist John Feehery, a former senior leadership aide who is a columnist for The Hill.
Feehery added, “I think Cruz has made a reputation of relentless mendacity ... I think he’s a demagogue and I think he’ll destroy the party. I think Trump is much more of a blowhard. But there’s not really a dime’s worth of difference between Trump and Cruz.”Yes, this is the same "REC" advocate John Feehery that said "Trump won't last long after attacking a guy as popular as G.W. Bush" and penned "The Tea Party Must Be Crushed" in 2013. If there's ever a label of an Establishment Pundit, Feehery's earned the title.
Which brings us to level of serious desperation the REC is in. So serious, they're already talking about how to derail the whole process and prepare for contested convention:
"Republican officials and leading figures in the party’s establishment are preparing for the possibility of a brokered convention as businessman Donald Trump continues to sit atop the polls in the GOP presidential race.
More than 20 of them convened Monday near the Capitol for a dinner held by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, and the prospect of Trump nearing next year’s nominating convention in Cleveland with a significant number of delegates dominated the discussion, according to five people familiar with the meeting.
Weighing in on that scenario as Priebus and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) listened, several longtime Republican power brokers argued that if the controversial billionaire storms through the primaries, the party’s establishment must lay the groundwork for a floor fight in which the GOP’s mainstream wing could coalesce around an alternative, the people said."Now if you'd ask if, or why Mr. Priebus might appear to be a bit biased and partisan on the "People's Choice" for President, the RNC’s chief strategist and spokesman, Sean Spicer can lay your worries to rest:
“The RNC is neutral in this process, and the rules are set until the convention begins next July. Our goal is to ensure a successful nomination, and that requires us thinking through every scenario, including a contested convention.”
Right! And Vladimir Putin is "neutral" when it comes to the Ukraine's independence too---until they're not.
If I hear one more of these phony "neutral" participants argue that "it's for the good of the Party" [to derail the process and nominate one of these REC candidates], I swear, my keyboard is going to explode---when it hits the wall across the room.
I will however submit that the egregious, belligerent, and arrogant moves that this current Republican Party is about to take part in, far outweighs anything imaginable Donald Trump & Ted Cruz could say or do. You want to see a party destroyed Mr. Priebus? Just try manipulating the will of the people---yeah, the people who may have been bought and paid for the last time around that put you jack-asses in office---but not this time around. You want to see another 2010 Tea Party style revolt? Just try stealing the people’s choice at this convention. You idiots can’t possibly be this stupid. Or can you?