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Trump Can't Be Stumped

Despite attacks from both sides of the political aisle, Donald Trump still holds a healthy lead over all Republican presidential candidates. Last week, a second national poll was released that showed Trump with a double-digit lead over the next closest contender. In addition, his strong stance against illegal immigration has forced his competition to share their views on the controversial topic. When his polling began to rise in early July, people dismissed him as a sideshow.

Now, Republicans wonder how far he plans to take his campaign. Former Iowa Republican Party political director Craig Robinson said “Can he win? He sure can win. He’s running roughshod over the rest of this field because the other candidates have allowed him to. This is a high stakes poker game and you have a guy playing aggressively, owning the table and dictating how everyone else moves.” A Fox News survey released over the weekend showed Trump with a more than 2-to-1 lead nationally over Ben Carson, who placed a distant second.

Furthermore, a CNN/ORC survey released last Tuesday showed Trump’s lead spiking to double digits after the same survey from late July showed him leading Jeb Bush by only 3 points. Trump has also led every poll in Iowa and New Hampshire since late July. Although GOP strategist Nino Saviano stated “The entire GOP establishment, including the party and the campaigns, should take Trump seriously and treat him as someone who is doing considerable and long-lasting damage to Republicans. Unless we neutralize 'The Donald,' we will come out of this fight with much more than just electoral bruises. His low blows are going to cripple us politically for some time to come.”

Trump has also become a type of attack dog. At a Friday night rally in New Hampshire, he mocked Sen. Rand Paul for being short. He then warned Carly Fiorina by saying “Be careful Carly. Be careful.” On Saturday, Trump landed his helicopter at the Iowa State Fair to participate in a question-and-answer session. He also said Bush was a "puppet" of special interests and criticized Scott Walker's record as governor of Wisconsin. Republican strategist Ron Bonjean stated “Those lower in the polls are on the attack trying to raise their visibility, and those closer to Trump in the polls are trying to stay above it all and look presidential in hopes that he’ll eventually implode.

Neither strategy has worked so far. Over the weekend, Trump proposed building a wall along the border that Mexico would pay for, then he said he would end birthright citizenship while dramatically increasing the number of officers tasked with tracking down and deporting illegal immigrants. He was assisted by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Jeb Bush said that Trump's plan was "not grounded in reality." Marco Rubio said that Congress would never pass it. Bonjean added “The tell-tale moment, when you’ll know that these candidates are taking him seriously, is when their super-PACs go up with negative ads against him. That will announce that Trump is arrived and has staying power, and we haven’t seen that yet.”

Doug Heye, the former communications director for the Republican National Committee, stated “If Republicans generally are taking him more seriously, so is the media, and now the attention is turning to scrutiny." Robinson went on to say “People in both parties said the same things about the Tea Party movement in 2010. They said it wouldn’t last, that the anger isn’t channeled into anything. But what we’re seeing in this primary is another level of disgust and frustration, and it’s something that needs to be taken seriously.”

Photo: House Of Represenatives

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