We had predicted that Scott Walker was the most likely person to be the next President of the United States. Ouch! Walker’s exit from the field is a big moment, as he was the only candidate capable of bridging the divide between the GOP leadership–which is beholden to the Chamber of Commerce position on Immigration–and the base that disagrees fully and fundamentally. Walker was never willing to break with the Chamber on THE issue of 2016. He tried to walk a middle road and was, a la Mr. Miyagi, squished like a grape.
Walker is calling on other low-polling candidates to withdraw so that Chamber donors can coalesce around one candidate to defeat Trump. The GOP Primary is now a take-no-prisoners fight over the issue of immigration (no Amnesty, reducing legal immigration, E-verify, ending draws such as Birthright Citizenship. etc).
Trump is an imperfect candidate in many ways, probably too imperfect to win the Presidency, but his presence in the race–and the Establishment GOP reaction to him—has proven that the other candidates will not reverse America’s disastrous immigration policies.
This issue completely separates the Libertarian wing of the party as they mostly support open borders. It also splits the conservative base between those that conclude mass immigration is an existential issue for the conservative movement, and those who don’t. The former group is willing to over look Trump’s personality flaws and unconventional opinions on other issues, arguing that saving the demographic base of the conservative movement is paramount and that Trump’s failings on the other issues can be corrected down the road.
The latter group of conservatives does not see an existential threat and this explains why the Club for Growth (for instance), which focuses on fiscal issues only, is attacking Trump.
Here’s the uphill battle that immigration hardliners face:
Trump must defeat both the libertarians, the Chamber of Commerce Republicans, and the conservatives who don’t see immigration as an existential threat. If he succeeds, some of the GOP opposition will line up, others will refuse. Trump can make up the difference with other voters because he’s a politically disruptive candidate (populist) and will poll better with non-GOP factions than a typical Republican nominee.
However, as he succeeds the Left will turn up the heat. The Main Stream Media, Hollywood and Academia will grow more shrill and apocalyptic. Violence and protests will increase dramatically. Whatever you imagined as you read the previous sentence, multiply it by 10.
The indisputable fact is that Trump’s candidacy has drawn a true Red Line (as opposed to a fake Obama Red Line) between opposing forces within the GOP. If the establishment GOP position on immigration wins the nomination fight, there won’t be enough enthusiasm or unity for the GOP to win the White House.
At this point, Trump is the only candidate who has a chance because he has captured the public mood on immigration, and he can assemble a coalition that cuts across traditional political demographics. While Carson and Fiorina are impressive in their own ways, they can’t win the nomination. Carson isn’t the fighter the Right wants and needs, and Fiorina has always been running for the VP slot as the only person who can criticize Hillary with impunity.
A populist Trump victory in November would have the same political effect on the Republican Party as Andrew Jackson’s win for the Democrats in 1828. Trump is arguably a demagogue. However, it’s hard to see how anyone other than a demagogue could stand up to and defeat the Liberal/Left hold on America’s commanding heights.
The next five months will be interesting times indeed.