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Trump, who promised to make a decision whether to run or not by June, has emerged as a potential force in the coming campaign. Whether that force would exert itself as a serious contender for the nomination or as a spoiler remains to be seen. His oft-expressed skepticism regarding President Obama’s birthplace resonates with a significant portion of Republicans, and “the Donald” is also emerging as a Tea Party favorite. A good deal of his support appears to have come at the expense of Romney, who has dropped in the polls as Trump has climbed. Trump has been working to undercut the former Massachusetts governor even more, describing Romney as “a small business guy” and declaring that he has a “much, much bigger net worth. I mean my net worth is many, many, many times Mitt Romney.”
Conventional wisdom suggests that Trump won’t be able to turn his support among Tea Party activists and so-called ”birthers” into a nomination once the field begins to shake out. Only about thirty percent of Republicans identify themselves with either constituency (or both, as the circumstances may be). For that reason, Romney remains the favorite according to many observers, but allahpundit identifies the huge bit of baggage that Romney carries into any campaign: his sponsorship of government-funded health care in Massachusetts:
61% of primary voters say they would not be willing to vote for someone who supported a bill at the state level mandating that people have health insurance. In 5 of the 6 horse race questions we asked Romney still leads with those voters, suggesting that most Republicans who follow politics and the 2012 race only casually are not really aware of ‘Romneycare.’ It’s safe to say they’ll be well aware of it 9 months from now, and it’s going to be interesting to see if Romney can sustain his support once he’s been endlessly bashed over the head with it.
Thus, if neither Trump nor Romney are viable long-term candidates, then Palin could be in a strong position as the races develop, along with Huckabee and Gingrich. This weekend might be her opening shot in what is sure to be an interesting, entertaining and lengthy battle for the Republican presidential nomination.
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