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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Mitt Romney calls off search for missing #NeverTrump savior

With the Republican presidential nomination race having effectively concluded almost three weeks ago, it now appears as though there’s some consolidation taking place around presumed nominee Donald Trump.

Trump has been slowly cutting away at Hillary Clinton’s national lead in the past month and yesterday The Mitt RomneyDonald received some good news – he may even be inching ahead.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner reports, “In what could signal a shift in the presidential race, Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton, 45 percent to 42 percent, in a new Fox News national poll...

“Critics inevitably point out that polls at this stage do not predict the vote in November. They don't. But they show where the race is now. Clinton was likely up by double digits one or two months ago, and the race is likely closer now. It could change many times in coming months. But it appears the race is tighter than it once was.”

Yes indeed, the race does appear tighter, something I figured would happen despite Trump’s continuing high unfavorable numbers. The Fox poll showed a 41-56 favorable/unfavorable split for The Donald this month, which represents a significant nine-point improvement since April. In contrast, Hillary is seen favorably by just 37 percent and unfavorably by 61 percent.

Americans clearly aren’t overwhelmed by either candidate, but Trump’s approval is incrementally going up while Hillary’s is staying largely the same.

Of course it doesn’t hurt that Trump’s media coverage has been mostly positive since the Indiana primary and his demeanor of late is more in tune with what you’d expect from a major party presidential nominee. Trump’s turned his fire to the Democrats and he’s received a lot of praise from members of his own party for actions such as releasing his proposed Supreme Court nominee list on Wednesday.

There are also his #NeverTrump detractors, of course, but if the polls are any indication, Trump is improving his standing overall with the general electorate.

The Real Clear Politics polling average still shows Clinton with a lead of a little over three points.

In addition to improvement in the polls, Trump is receiving a little belated love from some “experts” who dismissed his chances of winning the nomination practically from the beginning.

FiveThirtyEight.com’s Nate Silver, for example, admits to acting more like a pundit than an analyst in his treatment of Trump. “The big mistake is a curious one for a website that focuses on statistics. Unlike virtually every other forecast we publish at FiveThirtyEight …our early estimates of Trump’s chances weren’t based on a statistical model.

“Instead, they were what we [call] ‘subjective odds’ — which is to say, educated guesses. In other words, we were basically acting like pundits, but attaching numbers to our estimates. And we succumbed to some of the same biases that pundits often suffer, such as not changing our minds quickly enough in the face of new evidence. Without a model as a fortification, we found ourselves rambling around the countryside like all the other pundit-barbarians, randomly setting fire to things.”

Silver’s contrition is refreshing for someone in the professional political class who is right most of the time. Reading Silver’s lengthy analysis shows their models continued to forecast accurately in most cases, just missing in certain ways by enough to get the overall picture wrong – especially in the early stages of the campaign last fall.

Silver points out that Trump is most likely an outlier and it’s not known at this time whether the GOP nominating process has changed for good or if this is just a once in a great while occurrence.

Like Byron York above, I would suggest the most recent polls probably only reveal the state of the race at this moment as opposed to a trend that would show Trump continuing to build a lead versus Clinton. As long as the Democrats are locked in a he-versus-she battle in the press, even many of Hillary’s own future voters will continue to stay away from her.

But I think they’ll be back. The question is whether Trump can keep improving his public standing so as to hold onto his voters plus add some Democrats, such as black voters.

Trump’s jobs-first, non-interventionist foreign policy populist message has some appeal to certain minority groups and he doesn’t need a wholesale switch to his side in order to win the general election. If he were to win as little as fifteen percent of the black vote, for example, we’ll likely be calling him “President Trump” next year.

For now, we’ll continue to monitor the polls and see how the candidates do as they prepare for their respective party conventions in July.

Romney and #NeverTrump giving up the search for a third-party savior

In addition to the favorable polling news, it’s looking more and more like Trump will get his unhindered (by a third-party candidate) shot at Hillary in the fall, too.

For the past several months anti-Trump politicians and media personalities have been putting forth the notion of running a conservative third-party candidate to defeat Trump, but it’s becoming much less likely such an “outsider” candidacy is going to develop.

As a leading indicator, Mitt Romney says he’s backing out of the effort to find somebody to run.

Eric Bradner and Jim Acosta of CNN report, “Mitt Romney won't launch a third-party presidential campaign of his own and has stopped trying to recruit somebody else to do it...

“Romney still hopes a candidate will emerge. But an adviser to the ‘Never Trump’ efforts confirmed Tuesday night that the efforts are looking grim.”

As the Republican primary process unfolded and eventually evolved into a practically one-on-one contest between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, the #NeverTrumpers threw their weight behind Cruz, not because they wholeheartedly adopted the Texas senator and his conservative message, but because he was the only one left who had a realistic shot of beating Trump.

There was also talk of a third-party candidacy even back then, which I believe (along with John Kasich’s continued annoying presence in the race) detracted from Cruz’s ability to consolidate the not-Trump vote. As I argued all throughout the campaign, Cruz was a solid if unspectacular candidate who wasn’t given a fair shake from a lot of different sources.

For example, why didn’t #NeverTrump leader Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse get behind Cruz? And if there were other senators and congressmen who were so adamant about their “anyone but Trump” stances, why didn’t they come out of their shells and help Cruz too?

It seems to me the #NeverTrump people are not only out of options, they’re also out of sympathy – especially for those like Sen. Sasse. Being one of the earliest voices in opposition to Trump, Sasse should have come off the sidelines early – probably after Super Tuesday – and joined in the all-out effort to back Cruz.

Politely waiting for Marco Rubio to leave the race after Florida was too late for the #NeverTrump group. They had their chance and they blew it. Trying to maintain the “niceties” of not publicly choosing Cruz over Rubio and Kasich, they ended up with no one. Or by holding out for some “White Knight” candidate (like Paul Ryan), they also missed the boat.

For his part, Sasse says it isn’t personal with Trump. Anna Giaritelli of the Washington Examiner reports, “Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse denied Donald Trump's claim Wednesday that the Republican senator has ‘hatred’ for the likely GOP presidential nominee.

“’I do not hate you. I simply asked you some actual questions,’ Sasse, a first-term senator, tweeted in response to Trump's interview on Fox News.”

Like most in the #NeverTrump camp, Sasse’s critiques of Trump have focused on ideology and not on personal attacks. But it doesn’t change the fact Sasse’s – and #NeverTrump’s – efforts have failed pretty remarkably to change the outcome.

I honestly wonder how long the #NeverTrumpers can keep it up. Never is a long time. Even six months is a long time. And once November’s election is over, they’ll either be claiming “see, I told you so” or facing the prospect of a four-year exile from Trump-land.

Time for a reality check, folks.

Win or lose, political social media will never be the same after Trump

Speaking of “reality,” Donald Trump has taken to the virtual world of social media like no candidate ever has before and used online tools such as Facebook and Twitter to drive his campaign straight through the usual noise of the mainstream media.

Social media’s been terrific for Trump. It’s allowed him to control his message, even when times were sticky. But there are always two sides to every story and Trump’s long history of Tweeting out everything that’s on his mind could come back to haunt him in the form of negative ads from the Clinton machine.

Social media expert Stephen L. Miller writes in National Review, “[T]he cumulative weight of his digital paper trail gives us a window into what kind of president he would be, even more so than the decades of video and print interviews he’s given.

“This is how Trump has transformed the political use of social media forever. His ascent from business entertainment to one step shy of the Oval Office will certainly encourage other celebrities (such as Mark Cuban) to enter politics in the future. Perhaps the only plausible way platforms such as Twitter or Facebook truly become delegitimized is when politically ambitious, famous outsiders see the treasure trove Trump and others like him have left in their wake, and decide social-media use just isn’t worth the risk.

“That is, of course, unless he wins.”

Miller is highlighting the potentially damaging Tweet trail Trump left before entering politics more so than the controversial aspects from his work in the past year. As examples, Trump has said things about Vladmir Putin or South Korea on Twitter that could become issues in this election.

But I think just as Trump has proven virtually impervious to these types of political attacks in the primary season, he’ll find some way to side-step them in the future as well. If there’s anything Trump excels at, it’s manipulating his message and the media.

The Democrats are good at it too, of course. But this year will perhaps be the first time they’ve ever faced an opponent who can compete with them on somewhat even terms in the spin room.

Conservatives receive reassurance that Trump Supreme Court list won’t change

Finally this week, it’s safe to say, many conservatives were pleased with the list of potential Supreme Court nominees that Donald Trump released on Wednesday, but some doubts still remain.

Conservative leader Richard Viguerie said about the list, “Although I’d add Janice Rogers Brown and J. Michael Luttig to the list, the list of potential Supreme Court nominees released by Mr. Trump is very good. However, it is but a tiny step on the long road to convincing conservatives they should support him.”

A healthy part of the concern on conservatives’ part has to do with the malleable nature of Trump’s ideology and policy proposals. Trump mentioned recently that everything he says is “just a suggestion” and essentially constitutes the beginning of negotiations.

But when you release a list, people expect you to use it. It’s a trust thing.

So, Trump sent one of his most trusted advisors to address those concerns.

Scott Wong of The Hill reports, “In a closed-door meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, conservative Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) questioned Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort about whether the candidate would deviate from the list of potential high court nominees Trump released a day earlier…

“Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist, replied that the list would not change.”

Trump apparently will be making several more policy speeches ahead of the Republican National Convention as well as holding more meetings with Republicans and conservatives in Congress.

The more serious nature of his campaign contrasts greatly with the rousing rallies and glorified press conferences we’re used to seeing from Trump.

As Mr. Viguerie said, he’s still got a lot of work to do, but seems to be headed in the right direction.

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Romney Giving Up Search For Third Party,

We know Mitt Romney is giving up search for a third party to challenge Trump which wouldn't succeed. Trump is a popular candidate to the American voters and conservatives are taking Mr. Trump all the way to win the general elections and to the White House.
Mitt Romney is the establishment that doesn't support Trump because of his centrist and liberal ideology that cost him the Presidential elections in 2012. Romney knows that Trump has a conservative agenda that the Republican establishment don't like and that Trump is a hard liner on all the issues. Now that Trump is the presumptive nominee, Conservatives should rally around him and give him the moral support. Social Media is also giving Trump a boost to his campaign and the Clinton negative ads won't hurt him because Trump has the momentum among the voters to bring economic prosperity back to this beloved country of ours and protect our borders and keep the country safe from terrorists threats. Donald Trump will defeat Hillary Clinton in November to become the next President of the United States because he's more qualified and has more credibility than her. Half of the American people know if she's elected President she's going to continue Obama's progressive agenda which the American people don't want and need and can't afford another Clinton presidency.
When Donald Trump becomes the next President he's going to appoint conservative Justices that will follow the Constitution not based on their personal preferences that Conservatives will embrace. Some are calling for Trump to unify the Republican Party which will never work. Trump Conservative principles will never allow him to give in to the Democrats or establishment demands.

More Things Are Wrought By Prayer

More things are wrought by prayer than this world has ever dreamed of. We need to pray for Trump that he will be the God fearing man that God wants him to be, and that he'll defeat the enemies of God, and of his Church, who have done so much destruction to our nation. Remember that God is in charge, and may His Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.