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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Donald Trump in control

We start today with the results of the latest poll from Fox News, which shows the GOP “outsiders” only increasing their popularity with Republican and conservative voters.

Trump supportersFrom David Sherfinski of the Washington Times:

Donald Trump 25%
Ben Carson 12%
Ted Cruz 10%
Jeb Bush 9%
Mike Huckabee 6%
Scott Walker 6%
Carly Fiorina 5%
John Kasich 4%
Marco Rubio 4%
Rand Paul 3%
Chris Christie 3%

“The survey of 1,008 registered voters was taken Aug. 11-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.”

One noteworthy fact is the poll was taken the week after the Fox News debate (and after the Trump/Megyn Kelly feud, too), so people had time to digest the results and consider whom they supported.

The poll results reveal, once again, that voters are looking most strongly at candidates who represent a real shake-up in Washington.

For what it’s worth, here is a solid argument against considering only “outsiders” from Leon Wolf at RedState.

Ted Cruz as… Ricky Bobby?

Before we discuss the latest Donald Trump news (since he’s the only one anyone seems to be talking about these days), comes speculation that Ted Cruz is quietly running a brilliant stealth campaign.

Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller argues Cruz and Trump are quietly cooperating and it’s in Cruz’s long-run strategy to allow The Donald to draw most of the race’s early media focus away from himself in order to come on strong next year.

“Like the ‘shake and bake’ move in Talladega Nights, Trump’s existence means he catches most of the resistance, giving Cruz something of a free pass,” Lewis surmised. “The hope for Cruz is that he can eventually ‘slingshot’ across the finish line — if and when Trump gets out of the way.”

For fans of the Will Ferrell movie, that means Ted Cruz is the political equivalent of Ricky Bobby to Donald Trump’s Cal Naughton, Jr…. That’s a heck of a comparison. Can’t help but chuckle at the notion, but the theory makes sense if you think about it.

It goes kind of like this: First Trump refuses to say he’d endorse the eventual winner, which basically means he won’t commit to the establishment clique. That then allows Trump to keep attention on himself in order to mercilessly pound the establishment candidates until they’re finished. Finally, Trump gracefully concedes somewhere down the line that he can accept Cruz as the nominee and endorses him.

Brilliant move, isn’t it? It’s the stuff of genius. Shakespeare could write a play on the story… hopefully it doesn’t end up a tragedy, for America’s sake.

Trump’s outside-the-box campaign

I can’t say for sure whether Trump’s done any Shakespearean acting, but there’s no doubt that his campaign is about as far from traditional as any we’ve seen in recent times.

Ben Schreckinger and Cate Martel of Politico report, “From the grassroots base to the burnt-orange top, Trump’s hastily assembled operation is not the typical presidential campaign. Rarely in American politics has such an unlikely gang of misfits, rogues and loose cannons helped a candidate climb to the top of the heap.”

The Donald has an unusual campaign operation, for sure, but labeling his people “rogues and misfits” goes a little far. Trump surrounds himself with outside-the-box thinkers – kind of like himself.

The establishment, you could say, doesn’t see it that way. But maybe it’s because they have Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Trump eschews the professional consultant class that’s proven so proficient at losing elections. That’s one clue to his success already.

Also from Politico (M.Scott Mahaskey), Trump is laying the groundwork for success in Iowa.

“As other campaigns are content to traverse the state’s ice cream socials and chicken dinners, Trump’s operation is seeking to appeal to voters at unconventional events targeted at appealing to caucus newcomers, says Chuck Laudner, the candidate’s gruff and grizzled Iowa state director.”

Again, The Donald seeks new avenues to reach potential supporters. He has the resources to do so and we can only assume such moves will continue.

Lastly on Trump, he’s towering over the rest of the Republican field in social media… and the Democrats too.

From The Hill, Trump “has more than 3 million likes on Facebook — nearly 1 million over the nearest Republican, Dr. Ben Carson, on the most popular social network. That’s also well ahead of the nearest Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has just over 1 million likes, and Hillary Clinton has more than 1.1 million.”

He also nearly matches Clinton on Twitter and is far ahead of his Republican rivals. It could help explain why he enjoys Tweeting so much.

It’s all part of the growing legend of Donald Trump the presidential candidate.

Trump’s immigration plan just might win him the election

The Donald also released his immigration plan, which carries the full endorsement of Senator Jeff Sessions.

It should not be underemphasized how big this will play with the conservative grassroots. If you didn’t think Trump could do it before, you’d better take a second look.

The plan is so solid that even Scott Walker agreed with it.

Sessions says in part (as reported by Alex Pappas of the Daily Caller), “This is exactly the plan America needs. Not only would the plan outlined in this paper work, but more quickly than many realize. Most importantly, this plan reestablishes the principle that American’s immigration laws should serve the interests of its own citizens.”

It also goes to show that Trump listens to people who know what they’re talking about, like Jeff Sessions.

Ben Carson’s an outsider, too

The man who’s in second place in many recent polls doesn’t get the same love from the media that Donald Trump receives, but his message is no less revolutionary. Ben Carson, for one, isn’t shy about bringing up God in his campaign and says religion should be a part of governance.

Patrick Goodenough of CNS News reports, “Carson said it was time for Americans ‘to realize that there’s nothing wrong with living by godly principles – of loving your fellow man, caring about your neighbor, developing your God-given talents to the utmost so that you become valuable to the people around you, having values and principles that govern your life.’”

Carson’s core values also extend to abortion, where he isn’t the least bit shy about decrying its evils. As reported by Joseph Lawler of the Washington Examiner, “On Sunday he also argued that Planned Parenthood, the abortion provider mired in controversy because of undercover videos showing its employees discussing reimbursement for providing fetal parts to researchers, was an organization with racist roots.”

Like Donald Trump, Carson’s candor on important issues is resonating with conservatives. His position in the polls indicates we’ll get to hear more from him as well.

RINOs look for alternatives to Jeb

Finally today, with several of the establishment candidates faltering in the polls, there’s some indication that so-called “moderates” and squishy Republicans are starting to get behind John Kasich.

The same consultants who propelled John McCain to victory in New Hampshire are trying to do the same for Kasich, who might be the RINO’s alternative if Jeb Bush falters.

And according to this story from the LA Times, Bush isn’t catching on with Republicans.

Bush’s resources will keep him in the race… but his baggage is immense.

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Another good roundup

Thanks for compiling and commenting.

1. I'd skip linking to Wolf if I were you, however. He's as bad as his boss, Erick Erickson. Scroll down this article to see his less-than-professional conduct:

And see this, with appropriate Wolf image:

2. I find it interesting that using Sarah Palin as a litmus test for spotting Establishment status quo lifers amongst politicians and media personalities can transfer almost seamlessly to now using Donald Trump as a litmus test for who try to pass themselves off as conservatives, but when it gets down to nitty gritty, they are really Republican Party Lifers, who are all about Rebranding the Party and not Restoring the Country.

3. And yet, re your social media numbers for various candidates, it is pertinent, I think, to point out, that someone like Sarah Palin has more than 4.5 million Facebook followers and more than 1.16 million Twitter followers.

Who's in touch with the people vs. who's in love with the Beltway?

Check NH first - We knew the RINOs were moving for Kasich

Should have called NH first - we'd have told you...

Although Gov John H Sununu gave Walker a good intro at a party dinner, he wasn't ready to endorse - two weeks later, the Sununu family took a complete table for Kasich at an important annual luncheon. Two weeks later still, current standard bearer (and we suspect gubernatorial candidate) Chris Sununu introduced Kasich for his "announcement" tour of NH.

Meanwhile, the less squishy monied Republicans are lining up behind Walker as both conservative enough for positive change, and not too scary for the Establishment and moderates - they may be right, at least in a normal year.

Which brings us to.... Not a normal year - Trump and Cruz are resonating because they are fearless - even more so than Walker - in taking on the Party and media establishments.

I'd prefer a governor for chief executive, and for many reasons, including his real military service, I like Perry but Perry has a long road to the nomination, and this year demands out of the box thinking.

I worry about Trump, more for temperament and the excessive use of "I will do X", than for any risk of government downsizing - downsizing is what we need, but will Trump try to rule by executive order? That is my worry.