In the 2016 Republican primary race there's been no shortage of drama and hand-wringing. This time more than usual because Donald Trump is defying gravity and seems immune to the normal candidacy killers. So far, he's also been immune to media criticism.
But I'm fascinated most of all by something else. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was a strong candidate from the outset and has been gearing up for this 2016 run for years. He's primed. His organization appears to be outstanding. His supporters are fanatical, just as his father's were. And he's avoided any blunders that prompt on-the-fence supporters to hop over to a different candidate and the media to start the drumbeat that a candidacy is over. But he's dropped like a rock in the polls. The latest polls has him floundering down at the bottom of the field at 2.2%, between John Kasich & Carly Fiorina (who's also taken a massive dive in this race). So, what's going on?
The problem comes when Paul, Fiorina and other GOP candidates and their supporters lock arms with Hillary, Obama, Harry Reid and the big media to have a meltdown at the GOP frontrunner. Right now, that's Trump. When they do this, they're not giving anyone any reason to vote FOR them and they sound exactly like the liberals that the conservative base is trying to get rid of. Which is exactly why Cruz has steadily climbed through the field. He's stayed laser-focused on why people should vote for him and refuses to badmouth the current front-runner (and not alienate that guy's voters). He's staying positive, putting his best foot forward, focusing on beating Hillary to avoid another 4 or 8 years of collectivist, alinski-esqe national nightmare and setting himself up very nicely for when Trump's support fades (to move into the top spot) or to position himself to work with Trump if he turns out to be the next Commander in Chief. And one can't argue with the numbers. Cruz has steadily climbed through the field and looks like a contender. He's also not been reduced to hissy fits about how stupid everyone is who's voting for someone else. Fiorina has taken the same path with the same results. The more she bashes Trump (and sounds just like Obama & Hillary) the more her support fades away.
I have a lot of friends and listeners who are huge Rand Paul fans. I've always liked Paul and I think he'd make a terrific president. But he and his supporters seem to be obsessed with bashing Trump and mocking his supporters. For the life of me I can't understand what compels them to continue down this path. The results of their tantrums are steady and predictable and right in front of their eyes in black and white poll numbers. And yet, they don't seem to be able to help themselves. And now Paul has tumbled like a rock almost completely out of this race. Cruz (and Carson, to a large extent) are showing how to stay competitive. Joining in with Obama & Hillary to bash Republicans is not the way to win over the Republican base.
I'm not a political professional, but I know what I see. Just a non-partisan commentator's observations.