The GOP will do anything to insure that Trump does not grab the nomination, for three very understandable reasons. First: He would be a weak general election candidate. Second: A President Trump would be difficult to control. Third: The dude's a freak. A crass, vulgar, mendacious freak
The Establishment has chosen Marco Rubio, but the electorate refuses to go along with the game plan. Nobody really likes
Rubio. Trump's right: The guy is a lightweight. Eight years from now, twelve years from now, he might possess the skill set for this kind of campaign -- but right now, he doesn't have the chops.
Except in a purely theoretical sense, nobody can beat Trump outright in the primaries; the math simply does not allow for it. The trick now (from the Establishment perspective) is to insure that Trump's delegate count remains low enough to keep him from a first-ballot victory. If the convention goes to a second ballot, Trump is out
Rubio needs to win in Florida, his home state -- a winner-take-all state. If he doesn't nab this victory, I strongly doubt that anything can keep Trump from winning the nomination on the first ballot.
(Yes, that goal would still be possible technically
. It is also technically
possible that I'll start dating Katy Perry next year.)
Problem: Recent polls have had Donald Trump besting Rubio by as much as 20 points in Florida. Polls from varying firms have given Trump a commanding lead in this do-or-die contest.
That's why I find this
more than a little concerning:
A new poll by an anti-Donald Trump group has found a narrowing Republican presidential race in Florida, suggesting the barrage of TV ads by the group and its allies might be taking effect.
Trump leads Marco Rubio 35-30 percent ahead of the March 15 primary, according to the poll conducted for Our Principles PAC by The Tarrance Group, a Republican firm, and obtained by the Miami Herald. Ted Cruz drew 16 percent support, John Kasich 9 percent and Ben Carson 5 percent. (Carson formally dropped out Friday.) Six percent of respondents were undecided.
Earlier polls by other firms have suggested a wider -- in some cases, much wider -- margin between Trump and Rubio. The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found Trump ahead by 20 percentage points, Quinnipiac University by 16 points and Associated Industries of Florida by 7 points. All those polls were conducted last week, before Our Priorities and two other groups -- American Future Fund and Club for Growth -- unleashed their anti-Trump advertising.
Those ads are, in fact, pretty damned hard-hitting. (Here they are.
) But have they really been so very effective?
Over the course of months, we've learned that nothing sticks to Trump. Nothing.
If Ronald Reagan was the Teflon president, then Trump is Teflon immersed in a pool of olive oil. Any negative statement about Trump -- no matter how well-grounded -- is presumed to be a lie. His zonked-out followers love him the way Squeaky loved Charlie, the way Harley Quinn loved Mistah J, the way Lawrence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate
loved his mother. Those anti-Trump commercials, good as they are, won't snap the hypnotized hordes out of their collective trance.
If the ads do not offer a sufficient explanation for those narrowing numbers, then just what the hell is going on here?
Speculation: Perhaps those numbers have no basis in reality. Perhaps those numbers exist for the sole purpose of preparing us for election fraud in Florida.
Again: I offer this idea as blue-sky conjecture. Very soon, we will know whether my theory is irresponsible or reasonable.