WASHINGTON – After the New Hampshire primary it is clear that Donald Trump, the clear winner, is not going away any time soon. It is also clear that there are just too many responsible Republican candidates fighting against him.
Ideal for Trump
For Trump this is an ideal situation. His 35% of the votes in New Hampshire –a victory; but hardly a landslide– looks a lot more impressive simply because no one came even near him. The best placed “Establishment Candidate”, Ohio Governor John Kasich, with 16% of the votes is a distant (and truly unimpressive) second.
What do you do with 16%?
Indeed, if 35% is not overwhelming, 16% is pitiful. And do keep in mind that for the Kasich campaign New Hampshire was a “must win” state. The candidate had spent an inordinate amount of time in the state, visiting with people in practically every county. And what did all this effort give him? 16%.
Can this meager 16% boost Kasich’s profile on the national stage? Is he going to get all the money he would need (donations come to winners) to launch a credible national campaign? Probably not.
And what happened to Marco Rubio, the Iowa surprise? Well, he was sunk by just one well placed torpedo sent to him by Governor Chris Christie. In a polite but firm way Christie pointed out during the latest TV debate hosted by ABC News that Rubio lacks any executive experience. If elected President, Rubio would come into the White House without knowing how to run anything, let alone the largest industrial democracy in the world.
You would have thought that young Senator Marco Rubio, after his good showing in Iowa, had come to the debate well prepared to fend off such an obvious attack. Well no, he was not prepared. Not only he did not see it coming, he had a really stupid non sequitur as a reply. (He kept talking about President Obama). And to make it much worse, he kept on repeating the same nonsense, like a somewhat insane person. Rubio looked really lost. It was a pitiful performance.
So, there you have it. When it comes to Rubio, there is really “no there, there”. He does not have the credentials to be the strongest Republican standard-bearer. He just does not. (Sure, next time he may come with a better reply. But the point about his lack of any executive experience has been made; and it will not be erased by more artful words).
Pick a winner
That said, now that Christie has left the race, (his direct attack sank Rubio; but it did not help him much), it is high time for all the others to get into a room and decide in a fair and intelligent way who should stay, so that all the others would withdraw from the race and throw their support behind one man.
Look, if you put together all the votes that went to Kasich, Bush, Rubio, Christie, and Carly Fiorina (she is not a politician; but I would think that her supporters could be enlisted) you have more than the 35% that Trump got. (Ted Cruz is not part of this crowd).
A real choice
So, here is the thing. Moderate, responsible Republicans have to be given a real choice. “Mr. and Mrs. Republican, do you want to jump on Trump’s bandwagon only because he is ahead, or would you rather have a seasoned, battle tested Chief Executive in the White House? Well, if you do, here is the Champion that can beat Trump now, and later on beat Hillary Clinton in November. You do have a real, credible choice”.
In a sane world, these gentlemen (and lady, if we include Fiorina) would get into a room and come out with the decision to have Jeb Bush as their candidate. (I know that Bush right now looks like a very, very long shot. But remember my premise: “In a sane world”).
After the Convention, Bush, having secured the GOP nomination with the support of all the others, would select John Kasich as his running mate. Why this ticket? Very simple. First of all, both men have good credentials. In addition, in a sane world, the Republicans would know that they need to win both Florida and Ohio in order to get to the White House.
Therefore, a ticket made out of two experienced and reliable men, one the former Governor of Florida, (Bush) the other the current Governor of Ohio, (Kasich) would seem almost ideal.
No sane world
As I said, this is what would happen “in a sane world”. In this insane world, the “Establishment Candidates” keep fighting one another, this way looking weak and confusing the primaries voters, while Donald Trump and his united army of angry and disaffected followers keep marching forward.