As Trump Gains Momentum, Both Sides Ask: Who Can Stop Him?
If Dems want to defeat Trump, 'they must make absolutely sure that Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee for President.'
With big primary wins in the rear-view mirror and more predicted for the days ahead, Donald Trump's seemingly unstoppable momentum has some Republicans on Capitol Hill—not to mention political pundits and Democrats everywhere—increasingly on edge.
Though Trump on Wednesday picked up his first Congressional endorsements from House Republicans Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York, "a number of Hill Republicans are watching his rise with angst," Politico reported.
"Every one of Clinton’s (considerable) weaknesses plays to every one of Trump’s strengths, whereas every one of Trump’s (few) weaknesses plays to every one of Sanders’s strengths."
—Nathan Robinson, Current Affairs
And they aren't alone.
"A thousand ridiculous accidents needed to happen in the unlikeliest of sequences for it to be possible, but absent a dramatic turn of events—an early primary catastrophe, Mike Bloomberg ego-crashing the race, etc.—this boorish, monosyllabic TV tyrant with the attention span of an Xbox-playing 11-year-old really is set to lay waste to the most impenetrable oligarchy the Western world ever devised," Matt Taibbi declared Wednesday at Rolling Stone.
Calling for an "anti-Trump Manhattan Project," National Review staff writer Charles Cooke wrote that Trump becoming the party's nominee would precipitate an "unmitigated, unalloyed, potentially unsalvageable disaster."
Indeed, if "Republican party actors" don't "fight hard" over the next few weeks, "they risk losing their party entirely, and for all we know they may never get it back," wrote Bloomberg View columnist Jonathan Bernstein on Wednesday.
News reports in recent days have outlined lawmakers' and lobbyists' attempts to unite the GOP against Trump and behind one (or both) of his closest remaining rivals—Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Texas).
The Hill wrote Wednesday:
Congressional endorsements are still flowing to Rubio despite his failure to win a single caucus or primary.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who endorsed Rubio this week, suggested that while some Republicans were “surprised” and “very concerned” about Trump’s win in Nevada, he believes it’s more likely that Trump won’t be the party’s nominee.
“It’s more difficult after last night; let’s face it, that was a bigger win than we thought,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s too late, people get more serious, very few delegates have been awarded yet.”
As David Wasserman argued at FiveThirtyEight, "there is still a possibility, albeit a narrowing one, that Marco Rubio could turn the tide and ultimately win more delegates than Trump—even if he wins fewer overall primary votes."
Rubio’s increasingly tenuous path depends on his ability to win a series of winner-take-all states with high proportions of white-collar, college-educated Republicans, most critically his home state of Florida on March 15. Rubio’s path may also depend on his ability to claim delegates from low-turnout territories like Puerto Rico (which, amazingly, will select the same number of delegates as New Hampshire despite having a fraction of the GOP voters) as well as blue-leaning congressional districts with few GOP voters but many available delegates, such as those in Chicago, Maryland and coastal California.
[...] However, to move beyond wishful thinking and achieve such tactical victories, Rubio will need to consolidate much more of the non-Trump vote and rapidly grow his support in Democratic-leaning areas in an extremely compressed window of time. That’s a tall order, but it may be GOP leaders’ last hope to stop Trump, who clearly has the best chance of winning the nomination outright by the final primaries in June.
Given the increasing likelihood of GOP Candidate Trump, "it’s long past time for the Democrats to start working on a pragmatic strategy to defeat him," Current Affairs editor Nathan Robinson wrote this week.
"Why would anyone assume that a candidate who is the very embodiment of Globalist Establishment Power...who is virtually drowning both personally and politically in Wall Street cash, has 'electability' in her favor?"
—Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept
Charging that "the electability question should be at the center of the Democratic primary," Robinson said:
If Democrats honestly believe, as they say they do, that Trump poses a serious threat to the wellbeing of the country and the lives of minority citizens, that means doing everything possible to keep him out of office. To do that will require them to very quickly unite around a single goal, albeit a counterintuitive one: they must make absolutely sure that Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee for President.
As Common Dreams and others have reported, polls have consistently shown Sanders outperforming his rival Hillary Clinton in head-to-head match-ups against every GOP candidate—including, and perhaps most importantly, Trump.
In fact, Robinson wrote, "a Clinton match-up [against Trump] is highly likely to be an unmitigated electoral disaster, whereas a Sanders candidacy stands a far better chance. Every one of Clinton’s (considerable) weaknesses plays to every one of Trump’s strengths, whereas every one of Trump’s (few) weaknesses plays to every one of Sanders’s strengths. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, running Clinton against Trump is a disastrous, suicidal proposition."
What's more, Glenn Greenwald noted at The Intercept, "there's the particular climate of the electorate" to take into account.
"While it’s undoubtedly true that racism and ethno-nationalism are significant factors in Trump’s appeal, also quite significant is a pervasive, long-standing contempt for the political establishment, combined with enduring rage at Wall Street and corporate America which—along with the bipartisan agenda of globalization and free trade—has spawned intense economic suffering and deprivation among a huge number of Americans," Greenwald said.
Given that, he continued, "why would anyone assume that a candidate who is the very embodiment of Globalist Establishment Power (see her new, shiny endorsement from Tony Blair), who is virtually drowning both personally and politically in Wall Street cash, has 'electability' in her favor? Maybe one can find reasons to support a candidate like that. But in this environment, 'electability' is most certainly not one of them. Has anyone made a convincing case why someone with those attributes would be a strong candidate in 2016?"