The latest polls provide encouraging data points for supporters of Donald Trump’s bid for the White House. Despite a shaky debate performance last Saturday, he continues to lead the field, besting his nearest competitor by a 2-1 margin in South Carolina. Still, at just 35% in the latest EP Poll Average of Palmetto State GOP primary polls, Trump earns the backing of just over one third of South Carolinians planning to vote in the Republican primary two days from now. That’s hardly overwhelming support, but it may not matter in a race that does not require a majority to win the prize.And that’s the rub for folks like me who desperately want someone else to be the GOP nominee in 2016. It is entirely possible that the Donald will move on to the general election having less than majority support within his own party. A recent USAToday poll helps illustrate this point. Well over half (56%) of the respondents voice fear or dissatisfaction at the thought of Trump being the party’s nominee. The explanation is clear, but difficult to overcome. Trump has been able to claim front-runner status not because he a good candidate, but because opposition to him is spread out among several other candidates who are trying to chase him down. The evidence for this is seen in another question the USAToday poll asked prospective SC Republican primary voters. When asked who their second choice was, poll participants chose Marco Rubio 23% of the time, Ted Cruz 19%, with Trump languishing in sixth place (last) in single-digits. I think it’s apparent that if Trump were up against just Marco Rubio or just Ted Cruz, his odds of capturing the nomination would be long at best. However, in order for that to happen, four other candidates have to step aside. That would be a most difficult thing for them to do, especially for Cruz and Rubio. Either of them can legitimately claim that they are capable of winning the nomination against Trump alone. Therefore, neither is amenable to making way for the other. And, I might add, rightfully so. (At this point, you may have noticed that I’m not mentioning Bush, Kasich or Carson. That’s because, in my view of the race, their candidacies have become nothing more than distractions which further erode the anti-Trump slice of the pie.)
So what is an anti-Trump guy like myself to do? Well, unfortunately, little can be done until and unless either Rubio or Cruz establishes himself as the main opposition to Trump and the others finally acknowledge the futility of their campaigns. The real problem is that it make take too long for that to happen. At some point, this three-way race may drag on long enough for Trump’s air of inevitability to grow strong enough to render his nomination inevitable.