Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Opening The Peanut

Are the people at Quinnipiac University on drugs? (Actually,the proper phrase is "using drugs," but no matter. And if it were marijuana, their performance would unlikely be impaired, anyway.) They're probably only bored.

We read on Politico

Donald Trump would lead either Ted Cruz or John Kasich in a two-way race, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday.

Asked whom they would like to win the GOP nomination, 43 percent of the 652 Republicans surveyed said they wanted Trump to emerge as the party's choice in Cleveland, followed by 29 percent for Cruz and just 16 percent for Kasich, with 9 percent undecided.

In a head-to-head matchup between Trump and Cruz — with Kasich voters re-allocated to their second choices — the Manhattan real-estate mogul earned 46 percent support, compared with 37 percent for Cruz and 12 percent undecided. While the Texas senator drew slim advantages among tea party supporters, white, born-again evangelicals and those describing themselves as very conservative, Trump drew far greater support from voters who described themselves as somewhat conservative, moderate or liberal, as well as among men, women and those 45 years and older.

This is a classic wrong-headed hypothetical. There is not a two-way race, nor has there been, and if Donald Trump has his way, there will not be.  In a multiple candidate race Trump, as the candidate most voterseither love to love or love to hate, has reigned supreme (which I never expected).  His favorable rating (graph, below) always has been exceeded by his unfavorable rating, which would be critical in a two-candidate race.

Quinnipiac may think a two-way between Trump and Cruz would benefit the current front- runner, but the Senator is not convinced.  He first proposed a one-on-one debate with the front-runner on January 26 and- wisely- hasn't given up.  "Why don’t you ask Donald Trump to come here and defend himself. Donald is afraid to debate," Cruz told Bill O'Reilly Tuesday night.

The betting here is that this is not simply a case of the trailing candidate,having nothing to lose, trying to bait the leader into a debate.  Cruz might question Trump about the Donald J. Trump Foundation; The Gambling Annex; the concrete used in building Trump Tower, which delighted "Fat" Tony Salerno; employment of illegal (Polish) workers in constructing said building; employment as a consultant and pilot of a marijuana and cocaine traficker; refusal to release tax returns; corporate bankruptcies; tax evasion.

In return, Trump could ridicule Cruz's wife. Oops! He already has done that, in a tweet he was forced to delete. which threatened to smear the former Heidi Nelson (apparently for an old incident possibly related to depression). He might, however, criticize her for being a managing director (though on leave) for Goldman Sachs. For all the "populism" (oh yeah, sure) of Trump's campaign:  good luck with that line of reasoning in a GOP contest.

Trump's checkered history aside, the real estate mogul is widely suspected within the Republican Party of not being a conservative, nor possibly even a loyal Republican.  However, Cruz- disturbingly and dangerously- is the real deal, a theocratic free-market obsessive who would leave no stone unturned to achieve his extreme agenda.

Running against Bill Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992, Senator Bob Kerry of Nebraska warned of the Arkansas governor "I think he's going to get opened up like a soft peanut in November of 1992."

That never happened, in part because Clinton was an experienced and masterful politican determined to win the White House. Trump is not proven to be masterful, is thoroughly inexperienced, and presumably can return to making hundreds of millions of dollars in the private sector if he doesn't reach the White House. When the Texas senator recently accused him of having "business dealings with the mob, with the mafia," few people noticed- but in part because there were still five candidates in the race. If the competition were narrowed to two people there would be- if Trump were unable to avoid it- a debate between the two men.

Such a debate would be the ultimate in "must-see TV," pitting an untested politician against a guy who has argued in front of the United States Supreme Court and is a lifelong Republican and conservative fanatic. After a spirited exchange, we could view pieces of Donald Trump strewn out in front of the moderators.

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