In last week’s blog (“Has it finally happened?” 12 -9-15), note was taken of the fact that all but one of the GOP presidential candidates had publicly leveled criticisms of poll front-runner, Primadonald Trump (1). This turn of events left many wondering how the typical conservative voter would respond to this criticism; would they shift their support away from the real estate mogul to one of his political competitors, or stand firm in their support of him?

This question has now been answered, at least for the present:  Primadonald has actually gained points in the most national recent polls. The lone exception is in Iowa where the mega-builder’s lead has been overcome by senator Ted Cruz (R – TX). Both these outcomes require some explaining; Trump’s gains in the national polls, first; then Cruz in Iowa.

Primadonald has built an intensely loyal group of followers and his xenophobic, politically incorrect message has impacted others who have joined the deeply committed. This entire collection of voters is so enthralled by their candidate that absolutely nothing matters to them; not the harsh words of other notable Republicans or the media that has taken to running almost weekly fact-checks of Trump’s serial lies. The refrain you get from the Trumpophiles is “They’re all lying!!!” Simply put, these people are living in a hermetically-sealed box comprised of sides labelled denial, paranoia, nativism, hate, blind loyalty, and love of authoritarianism. These folks are prepared to follow their messiah off a cliff.

As for Iowa, if there is one group of conservatives that Primadonald has failed to similarly impress, its the state’s evangelicals who now find themselves in a swoon over Ted Cruz’ brand of religion. This is hardly surprising. In campaigns past, this same clutch of voters has rallied behind first, Mike Huckabee and then Rick Santorum, both of whom are openly very devout Christians. What Cruz has done is convince Iowa’s evangelical population that he is more religious and pious than Trump. Given the latter’s three marriages and some questionable business practices, that’s not saying much. What matters insofar as the coming Iowa caucus is concerned, is that Cruz’ evangelical base makes up a sizable minority of the hawkeye state’s voters. So, it won’t take many more added votes to bring the junior senator from Texas home a winner.

All this said, now that Cruz has mounted a serious challenge to Trump’s lead in the polls, the two have begun snipping at each other in ways that hint that an all-out brawl may be forthcoming. The bonus in all this for Democrat candidates is that what the two say in the negative about each other can become the stuff out of which damning political tv aids are made; “Trump is a so-and-so”…”Cruz drinks his own bath water”…blah, blah, blah. Indeed, congressional colleagues of Cruz are already on record as having referred to him as a “wackobird” and “jackass”. Watch for those sobriquets to show up on your screens in the months ahead.

To put all this in perspective, at least for the present, it’s time to get an ample supply of popped corn ready so you can nourish yourself as you sit back and enjoy the spectacle of a set-to between Trump and Cruz right along with the Republican Party’s attempts, both underhanded and obvious, to derail the former’s candidacy. He is seen as so flawed that in a general election head-to-head with Hillary Rodham Clinton, he would get “creamed” (2).

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1. The exception, as noted, was Texas junior senator, Ted Cruz.

2. That single word is a direct quote from conservative strategist Karl Rove, the evil genius who helped inflict GW Bush upon us.

 

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