Get used to the sound of that, fellow voters. The Donald has found a clear lane to the White House, paved with low-brow campaign rhetoric and a mob mentality. He’s tapped into a hard-to-define anger in this country, and it’s fueling his campaign to minority victory after minority victory in the Republican primary process.
Going into Super Tuesday, he has a lead in the delegate count and polls show he’s favored in every state that votes this week except Texas (and he’s closing fast here).
So let’s work on that line again: President Trump.
Can’t do it? Well, you’re not alone. Two-thirds of Republican primary voters so far agree with you. Going into Super Tuesday, Republicans have cast 1,245,252 ballots in primary voting so far. Trump has captured 420,215 of those, or 33.7 percent. That means 66.3 percent of Republicans voted for someone else.
So it’s time to choose. Unless you want Trump as your nominee, and indications so far suggest you don’t, it’s time to pick a single candidate to oppose Trump through the rest of the primaries. The crowded debate stages have been fun and Thursday’s five-candidate event was good theater. But a split field vs. Trump is a sure loser.
I’m partial to Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Our endorsement of him was an easy call. Kasich would be a welcome addition for House Speaker Paul Ryan, who genuinely seems to be trying to solve a few of our nation’s many problems.
But like you, I can read the polls and it doesn’t look good for the Ohio governor. He’s betting on winning when the campaign moves into northern states, including his home state, in the middle of March. Trouble is, the GOP doesn’t have that long.
Trump wins any three-candidate race. He may win a two-person race if he comes out of Tuesday’s voting with a huge lead. It would be nice to see this race play out a little longer — perhaps through Florida on March 15. But that’s just not possible. Time is of the essence. By Wednesday or Thursday morning, either Texas Sen. Ted Cruz or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has to bow out. So, too, should Dr. Ben Carson.
A cleared field is the only way to stop Trump, and even then it may be a difficult task. It stands to reason the bombastic billionaire will pick up at least some support from other constituencies as their candidates exit the stage. On Friday New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Trump, which should come as no surprise to anyone. Republicans have shunned Christie since President Obama visited New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the governor apparently welcomed him a little too warmly. Christie thumbed his nose at the GOP by backing the outlier Trump.
It matters not to me how Republicans decide who is to oppose Trump. Normally, the election process does this for us. Candidates who don’t win early often see the money dry up before Super Tuesday. Not anymore. There’s so much money in politics these days, all challengers to the Republican frontrunner could stay in the race indefinitely. Under ordinary circumstances, that would be fine. Let state primaries decide the winner and possible vice-presidential choices.
Not this time.
The four need to meet and decide who it’s going to be. As long as they stay in the race, their followers will continue to split the vote. Draw straws if need be, but three of the candidates have to go ... quickly.
You’ve all done your best, and most of you have some good qualities. But time’s up if you don’t want Trump.
It’s time to take one for your party. And the country.
Steve Boggs is editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.