Christmas means family time and in many homes across America, the talk will turn to the upcoming presidential election. And there’s lots to talk about. The latest polls show Hillary Clinton building a commanding lead for the Democratic nomination over two other contenders. In the 12-person Republican field, Donald Trump has increased his lead despite more controversy over his remarks, this week directed at Clinton. But it is another five weeks before the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses, and historically, voters don’t make up their minds until they have to.
Trump’s rise to the top dominates the American political conversation. It has the country’s top political thinkers questioning conventional political wisdom. And it has some prominent Republicans questioning the survival of their party.
How Far Can Trump Go on Shock Value Alone?
Jim Geraghty – National Review
She was favored to win — and she got schlonged. She lost, I mean she lost,” Donald Trump said, describing Hillary Clinton’s 2008 White House bid at a Grand Rapids campaign event Monday night. …
Trump is the race’s shock-jock, a master at gleefully overstepping boundaries we didn’t even know were there, and there’s little reason to think that the “schlonged” comment will hurt his standing in the polls.But does this sort of talk help Trump at all? If it brings him closer to the Republican nomination, what does it say about Republicans? And is there any way it won’t repel a significant number of voters who might otherwise consider supporting the Republican standard-bearer in November 2016?
The Party Divides
Matthew Continetti – Washington Free Beacon
The future of the GOP as we know it is in question—not the party’s political future but its ideological one. Donald Trump’s candidacy is already intensifying party divisions. Nominating him would alter the character of the Republican Party in a fundamental way. …Trump’s nationalism has far more in common with the conservatism of Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, than with the conservatism of Ronald Reagan. …Indeed, Republican nominees since Ronald Reagan have been internationalist in outlook. They have been pro-free trade and pro-immigration, have supported American leadership in global institutions, and have argued for market solutions and traditional values. A Republican Party under Donald Trump would broadly reject this attitude.
The Republican Party Must Defeat Trump Now
Christine Todd Whitman – Politico Magazine
Every few generations a political party has to define itself. Now is that moment for the Republican Party. Until recently the GOP has been seen in Washington as the “party of no.” Now it is being defined as the party of extreme. While the U.S. may be yearning for definitive leadership from a president, the use of hate and fear tactics by so many of
the GOP presidential candidates is not the answer. …Language shapes behavior. Hateful language gives susceptible people permission to act on their fears. Preying on the marginalized who are scared of the future is the time-honored tactic of bullies and dictators. When times are difficult, people always look for someone to blame: It is easy to pick out a target. Today it is Muslims, but tomorrow it could be anyone. Hatred knows no bounds. As a Republican, I am particularly concerned by the rise of hate rhetoric within our party. We cannot ignore it, and we can no longer dismiss it as a passing fluke. The damage it is inflicting and the behavior it is inciting can last for years to come.
Donald Trump is the White Guys’ White Knight
Kathleen Parker – The Washington Post
Now we have people not saying they’ll vote for Trump lest the telephone surveyors think they’re out of their minds. But the question remains: Why do people like Trump even knowing that they probably shouldn’t? Morning Consult’s revelations got me thinking and, by Jove, I think I’ve got it: Donald Trump is White Man’s last stand. …
[C]onservative white guys aren’t so much trying to hold on to power and privilege as much as they’re trying to find their footing in a culture they feel devalues and disrespects them. They’re tired of hearing that they’re the source of all problems. They’re sick of being the single demographic about which one can say anything at all and suffer only the annoyance of deafening applause.