- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

The “Establishment” Candidates Are Paving the Way to a Trump Victory

The “establishment” candidates continue to feud among themselves [1] in New Hampshire to the benefit of Trump and Cruz. Part of the problem is that their voters won’t decide on any one of them:

Jason Grosky, a 39-year-old prosecutor from Atkinson, N.H., who is torn between Messrs. Bush, Christie and Rubio, hopes the lower-polling candidates bow out to clarify which is the clear alternative to Messrs. Cruz and Trump.

“Hopefully, the hangers-on will figure that out,” Mr. Grosky said.

The trouble for these candidates in New Hampshire is that none of them is that far ahead of any of the others, so it won’t be obvious who the “hangers-on” are until it will be too late to do any good. Even if one of them pulls away at the very end, the other three will still be siphoning off some much-needed support that almost certainly would have gone to the former. According to the current average of New Hampshire polls [2], Rubio, Christie, Bush, and Kasich are all clumped together within just a few points of one another. There’s no clear favorite among the four, and all of them have every reason to keep going at least through the primary in mid-February. Because they’re fighting over the same portion of the electorate, they also have strong incentives to attack their competitors, and that is exactly what they’ve been doing. Whoever emerges on top of the “establishment” scrum may not even get second place there, and he’ll be badly bruised in the process.

Christie and Kasich are betting pretty much everything on a good result in New Hampshire to keep their campaigns alive. Bush has enough of an organization in other states that he isn’t going to give up until much later in the year. Rubio also needs to do well in New Hampshire to stave off stories about the failure of his odd campaign strategy, and he probably needs to win outright if he is going to have a chance at winning in later primaries. He can’t do either of those as long as he’s practically tied with the other three “establishment” pols and Cruz. As it stands right now, they’re splitting up their share so evenly that they’re on track to let Trump through to a victory with less than a third of the voters, and after New Hampshire things will only get more difficult for all four.

24 Comments (Open | Close)

24 Comments To "The “Establishment” Candidates Are Paving the Way to a Trump Victory"

#1 Comment By Barry On January 6, 2016 @ 11:04 pm

As a liberal and a Democrat, it’s sweet for me to see this happening.

#2 Comment By Bob_the_other On January 6, 2016 @ 11:53 pm

Is there anything the establishment candidates could do to ensure that Bernie Sanders wins? That would be nice.

#3 Comment By Mike Alexander On January 7, 2016 @ 6:01 am

I do not see the rapid collapse of Trump as being in the interest of the GOP establishment. Most of his votes will go to Cruz who will then have a near-dominant position. As long as Trump stays relevant he denies an early victory to Cruz and gives time for the establishment guys to get winnowed so that one of them can emerge as the alternative to Cruz before the campaign enters more establishment-friendly terrain later on.

If Trump collapses Cruz emerges as the clear front runner before one of the four establishment guys can emerge from the pack and Cruz stays well in front until the end of the campaign.

#4 Comment By TB On January 7, 2016 @ 7:57 am

Larison: “The “establishment” candidates continue to feud among themselves in New Hampshire to the benefit of Trump and Cruz. Part of the problem is that their voters won’t decide on any one of them.”

Competitors routinely “feud” with themselves, Dan. If voters can’t gravitate to a front-runner, it’s not a problem, its the process.

#5 Comment By Uncle Billy On January 7, 2016 @ 8:27 am

The fair haired boy of the GOP Establishment “Jeb!” has fizzled in spite of his huge war chest of donor cash. The GOP Base just does not like him. Ditto Rubio. Christie is a joke. A Governor trying to impersonate Tony Soprano. The GOP Base wants nothing to do with any of these guys. Trump and Cruz are leading the field and that is not changing. The GOP Establishment does not get it. Their Base is fed up with them, and there is nothing they can do to change it.

The big question is, can Trump or Cruz defeat Hillary? I think not. Hillary is a bad candidate, very tarnished, very corrupt. But as bad as she is, the GOP is worse. It should be the GOP’s turn in 2016 to take the White House, but it is now looking like that will not happen.

Reagan put together an alliance of the wealthy and the White Working Class. That coalition is starting to fracture. The wealthy screwed the working class and they are starting to wake up.

#6 Comment By NJguy On January 7, 2016 @ 9:45 am

I would much rather have Trump than Rubio who most pundits still seem to think is going to win. Considering the Republicans have been just as bad as the Dems in regards to immigration and outsourcing it doesn’t really matter to me (or many others) if he has little chance in the general election since if Rubio or one of the others win it will be more of the same.

#7 Comment By JLF On January 7, 2016 @ 10:09 am

My great suspicion (fear?) is that the establishment, seeing it can’t win in the primaries, will attempt (and succeed?) in coopting the eventual anti-establishment winner. And although great big gobs of money will have an important role to play in that cooptation, the essential way to their end will be to bring the outsider into the inner circle.

I’m not convinced Trump isn’t already in with the in-crowd; I’m am pretty sure that the perks of being on the inside will be most seductive with Cruz. In the end and in any event, I’m pretty sure the establishment will “win” and the voters will be given the choice in the general election in November between Establishment Candidate #1 or Establishment Candidate #2. Because that’s how they roll.

#8 Comment By Mark Thomason On January 7, 2016 @ 10:34 am

True, Establishment candidates are dividing the Establishment vote.

However, it is wrong to assume that all of the voters would stay with one of the other Establishment candidates.

Some of that support is personal, not Establishment, and they may go off to join an anti-Establishment candidate if their own is not a winner.

The Establishment is desperate to believe that the guy who is so far ahead is really not winning. They currently suggest that if only everyone else would agree with them, they could be done with this. It is quite a big assumption that everyone else would agree with them.

#9 Comment By Alex On January 7, 2016 @ 11:33 am

An odd feeling that Rubio himself doesn’t have any desire of winning the nomination gets stronger every day.

#10 Comment By Colorado Jack On January 7, 2016 @ 12:26 pm

Conservatives generally believe that if each person follows his own self-interest, that will achieve the greater good. Applied here, that means if each Republican candidate follows his own self-interest, that maximizes the chance of Trump being the nominee. That in turn maximizes the chance of Hillary winning, thus achieving the greater good: a Democratic President.

#11 Comment By Steve in Ohio On January 7, 2016 @ 12:27 pm

Uncle Billy,

I would think Trump is someone you could support as he’s not part of the Christian right or a chicken hawk (although he is very pro veteran and active duty members).

I say he beats Hilary. The current polls are very close. The working class whites who stayed home in 2012 will turn out for the Donald. Many progressives (Bernie people and good government liberals) will be the ones staying home this time around.

#12 Comment By Ian G. On January 7, 2016 @ 12:49 pm

As a liberal who plans on voting Sanders in the primary, Trump really doesn’t scare me, simply because he doesn’t really believe anything but in his own greatness. Nothing he says can really get a rise out of me because I doubt he believes any of it.

Cruz, on the other hand, is a Jacobin true believer. He terrifies me. He’s go to war with Iran or abolish the Federal Reserve or who knows what because he thinks his God is telling him to do so.

Fortunately, he seems even more despised by Republican establishment figures than by me that they’ll have him a bloody mess by the time the general election campaign begins.

#13 Comment By Kurt Gayle On January 7, 2016 @ 1:09 pm

Trump’s proposal for a heavy (45%) import duty on Chinese goods is the first step toward re-building the US manufacturing sector and returning manufacturing jobs to millions of US workers.

“Donald J. Trump said he would favor a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the United States, proposing the idea during a wide-ranging meeting with members of the editorial board of The New York Times…In addressing the trade imbalance with China, Mr. Trump addressed an issue that has been a focus of his speeches going back to 2011, when he considered running for president when President Obama was seeking re-election. In the editorial board meeting, which was held Monday, Mr. Trump said that the relationship with China needs to be restructured.

“’The only power that we have with China,’ Mr. Trump said, ‘is massive trade’.”

“’I would tax China on products coming in,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘I would do a tariff, yes — and they do it to us’.”

“Mr. Trump added that he’s ‘a free trader,’ but that ‘it’s got to be reasonably fair’.”

“’I would do a tax and the tax, let me tell you what the tax should be … the tax should be 45 percent’,” Mr. Trump said.

“China is on a path this year to surpass Canada as the biggest single trading partner of the United States…”


#14 Comment By balconesfault On January 7, 2016 @ 1:15 pm

This is the problem when the establishment GOP has spent the last 7 years defining themselves by their opposition to whatever Obama proposes or does, rather than by constructing a consistent framework of what the GOP would like to accomplish that they would be willing to negotiate with the Dems over in order to actually advance a positive agenda from both Parties.

A big part of that, of course, has been a scorched earth campaign against the effectiveness of government and the value of career politicians.

The establishment has cultivated a base that truly accepts that blustering opposition and lack of experience are virtues to be embraced and promoted. They’re reaping what they’ve sowed.

#15 Comment By rayray On January 7, 2016 @ 1:25 pm

Agree with your post except for the small fillip about 2016 being the GOP’s year. The GOP in congress has done nothing to distinguish themselves, and the hatred of Obama is a product of an echo chamber. Obama’s approach, however the ideological underpinnings, is conservative.

Call me crazy, but ultimately he is a traditional GOP-style president. Despite his rhetoric, he has done little that is truly liberal or left.

So my crazy conclusion? America wants a conservative chief executive, so they will stick with the Democrats.

#16 Comment By Uncle Billy On January 7, 2016 @ 2:06 pm

Steve in Ohio & rayray: Yes, I could support Trump, as he:

-Is not a religious right kook
-appears to be more for the American worker than the GOP Establishment candidates,
-is not a chickenhawk Neocon like Rubio

Trump would not be a great President, but he would not be worse than Obama or W Bush (how could anyone be worse than W Bush?).

I do wish we had someone like Eisenhower, but those days are gone.

#17 Comment By Scott F. On January 7, 2016 @ 3:50 pm

Uncle Billy –

You say Trump “appears to be more for the American worker than the GOP Establishment candidates” and I have to ask for some evidence. Granted, it’s a low bar, but since Trump’s rhetoric is all bluster and no substance, there’s just no way to know what he’s for beyond playing to an audience.

As Ian G. so accurately notes, Trump believes in nothing but his own greatness, so I think the only value he sees in the working class is a pool of potential sycophants.

#18 Comment By Bob_the_other On January 7, 2016 @ 4:02 pm

I would think that a Trump collapse and the candidature of someone like JEB or Rubio (Cruz is more dangerous) would lead to the Trump voters going to Sanders. The difficulty is that Sanders needs to make it through the Democratic primary. At the moment, Sanders seems to me to be the closest thing to an acceptable candidate.

#19 Comment By Archon On January 7, 2016 @ 7:46 pm

I agree with balconesfault, conservatives can’t define a governing agenda that doesn’t involve Democrats unconditionally surrendering or being raptured up to progressive heaven.

The irony though is conservatives are a Hillary health problem or black swan event in October 2016 away from getting their wish in Washington.

#20 Comment By leftist workplace On January 7, 2016 @ 11:21 pm

Either Trump or Cruz would make me very happy. I’d prefer Rand Paul over both of them, but that’s a pipe dream by now… it’s not happening.

If Cruz wins and manages to abolish the IRS, we all win.

If Trump wins and manages to stay faithful to his campaign promises, we all win.

Hillary and Bernie will be more of the same, just like the rest of the Republican candidates.

One can only dream…

#21 Comment By Steve in Ohio On January 8, 2016 @ 9:25 am

Scott F.

Yes, Trump speeches contain lots of bluster, but there is substance, too. Stopping mass immigration would raise the wages of workers. (Fewer workers mean higher wages. Liberals like Barbara Jordan in the 90’s understood this.) Reducing the trade deficit with China (as pointed out above by Kurt Gayle) could lead to many manufacturing jobs returning to the US. We might have to pay more for what we buy at Walmart, but at least more of us would have jobs). A choice between Trump and Clinton or Sanders offering a higher minimum wage will result in many working class people taking a chance on the Donald.

#22 Comment By jk On January 8, 2016 @ 10:04 am

leftist workplace: Do you think Cruz will have any political capital after his scorched earth campaign to make such a sweeping change as abolishing the IRS? While it sounds nice in theory (and I fully support), let’s see the probablility of it happening. The US will (happily) invade Russia, Syria, and Iran before that happens. This is THE foreign policy election. Domestic policy and Americans do not matter to these clowns.

These supposed fiscal conservatives do not even dare talk about real problem of the every growing fiscal time bombs known as Medicare/Medicade and Social Security due to an ageing population and a static tax base.

#23 Comment By Myron Hudson On January 8, 2016 @ 2:17 pm

Uncle Billy said

“Reagan put together an alliance of the wealthy and the White Working Class. That coalition is starting to fracture. The wealthy screwed the working class and they are starting to wake up.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it put so succinctly as that.

As for the Establishment candidates, feuding or not feuding, we can see that the establishment has failed to produce a viable candidate in successive election cycles. There is a very public movement for ideological purity within the party and that does not favor the Establishment at all.

#24 Comment By balconesfault On January 8, 2016 @ 3:18 pm

@leftist workplace If Cruz wins and manages to abolish the IRS, we all win.

How? The government will still need to collect taxes … the wealthy and well connected will still manipulate whatever tax mechanisms there are to minimize their burden via shifting taxes to the middle class or to future generations … people will still go to great lengths to keep from having to pay taxes … and government will still need some enforcement mechanism, perhaps even MORE draconian and intrusive, in order to generate the tax revenues it needs to function.

I know there’s a fantasy among some that if the deficit grows big enough, or if tax collection becomes too draconian and intrusive, Americans will suddenly decide that the social safety net and/or the huge military budget are not worth the cost and vote against them.

Perhaps, perhaps not. But the one thing guaranteed is that there will be a very very dark and ugly time in American history until that decision is made, and in the end it might not be made at the ballot box.