Chalk this up to wishful thinking on someone’s part
Though the RealClearPolitics average currently has Trump up 16 points over Cruz in South Carolina, that’s misleading, because none of the polls were taken after Cruz’s win in Iowa.
Furthermore, now that the field has narrowed down and Trump has won a primary and proven himself a serious threat, there will be a lot more focus on his liberal record — on abortion, guns, healthcare, property rights — among other issues. It won’t dissuade his strongest supporters, but it doesn’t matter, because it will discourage enough very conservative voters and evangelicals to give Cruz the victory.
I do not doubt that Ted Cruz voters are likely more committed and thanks to the well planned ground game are likely to turn out no matter what. However there are several things that Mr. Klein is missing in declaring Ted Cruz the front runner. To wit:
#1 The flesh pressing stage of the race is done.
The thing that makes both Iowa & NH unique is that in both states candidates have to meet the voters, people get to speak with them, question them and encounter the in person.
However from this point on there will be multiple states across the country coming very fast and while Senator Cruz’s ground game will get his voters out the remaining states are built for the Donald Trump air war.
#2 Getting on the bandwagon:
People like to be part of an event a happening. The Donald Trump phenom is such a thing, and as long as it only takes showing up to a polling place (as opposed to a caucus) the Donald Trump bandwagon effect will be there.
#3 Low information voters:
One of the real fact of life is the majority of people don’t pay attention. While Senator Cruz can correctly point out Trump’s past record most of the people who are going to turn up aren’t going to be interested in that. If there were interested in what is going on they would have turned up and voted the last time
#4 The Trump pool
This is related to both #2 & #3 Donald Trump’s reach is far beyond those who actually pay attention to the political world. As that group is much larger than the people who do care about politics this gives Donald a much larger reach. Byron York hit on this today when talking with the NH GOP
In late January, the New Hampshire Republican Party held a gathering that attracted GOP officials, volunteers, activists, and various other members of the party elite from across the state. At the time, Donald Trump led the Republican presidential race in New Hampshire by nearly 20 points, and had been on top of the polls since July.
What was extraordinary about the gathering was that I talked to a lot of people there, politically active Republicans, and most of them told me they personally didn’t know anyone who supported Trump. Asked about the Trump lead, one very well-connected New Hampshire Republican told me, “I don’t see it. I don’t feel it. I don’t hear it, and I spend part of every day with Republican voters.”
A lot of the GOP hasn’t figured this out yet.
#5 Ratings rating Ratings:
Donald Trump means ratings for the MSM. As long as Donald keeps delivering the rating the MSM will keep delivering the free media that supports his air war.
#6 Hate vs Fear
Rush Limbaugh has often said that while the GOP establishment hates Donald Trump, they fear Ted Cruz. This is true for the MSM as well which does not want the first Latino to be on top of a major party Ticket to be a strong conservative like Ted Cruz.
If it gets down to Cruz vs Trump (and it is likely to reach that point) look for both the media, convinced that Trump will be easier to beat, and the GOP Establishment, convinced that Trump will make the deal with them that Ted Cruz will not, to go all in for Trump to stop Cruz.
Now does that mean I think Trump has it clinched. By no means, I think Ted Cruz is playing the long game and doing it well, but to pretend that Donald Trump is not the front runner for the GOP nomination and Ted Cruz is, that’s just wishful thinking.
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