A Monmouth University Poll released on Monday shows Donald Trump expanding his lead over the Republican field. Trump garners the support of 26 percent of GOP voters, while his nearest opponent, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is back at 12 percent. Trump’s support has doubled in the past month. He polled at 13 percent support in July, and just 2 percent back in June.
The Monmouth University poll is not an anomaly. The last six major national polls released have all shown Trump leading the Republican field. Real Clear Politics’ polling average calculates that Trump has a near double-digit lead (22.2 to 12.7 percent) over Scott Walker, with Jeb Bush at 12.2 percent, and no other candidate polling above 7 percent.
Donald Trump’s momentum is a source of great consternation to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus and to billionaire donors like the Koch Brothers. Republican leaders seem utterly perplexed that after years of hailing the virtues of the super wealthy as job creators who deserve almost limitless tax breaks, the party’s base has embraced a bombastic billionaire for president. Who could have seen that coming?
Likewise, party leaders seem flummoxed that after decades of demonizing Washington insiders and government in general, Republican voters are turning their affections to an outsider rather than a distinguished GOP Governor or U.S. Senator. Imagine that.
For their part, the Koch Brothers, who froze Trump out of their weekend confab in Southern California, seem profoundly annoyed that Trump isn’t groveling at their feet for money. While Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush prostrated themselves before the GOP puppet masters, hoping for their approval and financial backing, Trump tweeted:
I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?
For the Republican Party, the chickens are coming home to roost. Candidates like Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz have spent the better part of the last four years trying to arouse the anger and passion of the Tea Party fanatics to rise up against the media and the politicians who “oppress them”. However, neither man recognized that they too would be caught in the undertow.
Sure, Mike Huckabee wants to send federal troops into clinics to stop abortions, and he says outlandish things about President Obama marching Israelis to the doors of the ovens, but his cries for attention fail to strike a nerve the way Trump’s grandstanding on immigration does. Ted Cruz’s calls for filling out your taxes on a post card are downright boring compared to Trumps’ bluster that he will build a fence on the border and make Mexico pay for it.
Republican Party leaders are nervously hoping that Trump’s momentum can be halted by a more conventional Republican politician like Jeb Bush or Scott Walker. The problem is the Republican Party has nurtured and nourished the Tea party crazies for the entirety of the Obama presidency.
By ginning up anti-government sentiment and by encouraging GOP voters to hold a nightmarish vision of contemporary American politics, the Republican Party set the stage for a demagogue to take over the party. Now they are reaping what they have sown. Donald Trump has a big lead, and right now nobody in the Republican Party knows how to stop the runaway crazy train.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.