Republicans, Reagan Democrats and Independents should support Trump

Why? Because he is the only candidate with a chance against Hillary.

Ari Lieberman,

OpEds

Public disclosure; I’ve always been a strong supporter of Florida senator, Marco Rubio. He is young, energetic and is a solid conservative who believes in American exceptionalism. He’s also electable. In poll after poll, he trounces Hillary Clinton in head-to-head matchups. His eloquence and oratory skill is matched only by his ability to broaden the Republican base. He ranks high among women and young people, two key constituent groups necessary for a presidential win. He also appeals to Latinos, a constituent base long ignored by the GOP.

Up until recently, I was certain that Rubio would be the Republican nominee. Like most of the political pundits, I believed that Donald Trump was a passing phenomenon with no staying power; an amusing if not irritating side show. I was dead wrong. Trump has demonstrated an amazing ability to galvanize his core supporters and has also proven to be masterful at manipulating the media.


Given Clinton’s vulnerability, Republicans must set aside their petty differences and focus on the main goal, which is to defeat Hillary Clinton.
He has defied conventional wisdom. He’s taken on the Pope, Fox News, liberals, Telemundo and just about anyone who stands in his way and it seems that with each confrontation, his popularity soars. The conventional wisdom was that his popularity would peak at 30% and once the weaker candidates – Bush, Christie and Kasich – dropped out, Republicans would coalesce around a solid, mainstream, and most importantly, electable candidate like Rubio.

That did not happen and the Nevada GOP caucus was the turning point. Trump secured a victory with nearly 46% of the vote shattering the previously held belief that he couldn’t crack 30%. He won with nearly every single constituent category including Latinos! Rubio came in second but it wasn’t even close. In fact, Trump’s numbers exceeded the second and third place finishers combined.

Ninety-five percent of the delegates are still up for grabs and calling it for Trump at such an early stage is like calling a baseball game in the first inning. But from all indications, including previously won states, momentum and polling data, Trump is the horse to bet on.

The only GOP candidate who can mount a serious challenge to Trump is Rubio but a poll taken recently of Florida GOP voters shows Rubio trailing Donald by a whopping 16 percentage points. If Rubio cannot win in his home state, a state that he desperately needs if he’s to have any realistic shot at the nomination, where can he win? As an aside, polling in Ohio shows that Trump defeats Kasich, who is the state’s popular governor.

This leads me to the conclusion that Trump will likely be the GOP nominee and should that occur, it is incumbent on all Republicans to coalesce around him and support his presidential bid. Democrats are overjoyed at the prospect of facing off against Trump because they think they can trounce him and the conventional wisdom says they’re right. But Trump has defied conventional wisdom before and has proven to be a formidable personality.

In a head-to-head matchup with Clinton, the current polling data suggests that Hillary would win. A minority of polls place Trump ahead. Regardless, Trump has demonstrated tremendous staying power and is transforming himself into a statesman while Hillary faces a number of dogging problems that will soon not go away.

Chief among these is her email/server/Clinton Foundation scandal/s. The FBI has placed 100 FBI agents on the case on a full-time basis and another 50 on part-time and from a legal standpoint, it does not look good for Clinton. She’s also beset by trust issues and has high unfavorable ratings. Moreover, many Bernie Sanders supporters are unlikely to back Hillary if their candidate loses and while she remains popular among African Americans, she is unlikely to garner the same level of support from that constituent group that Obama had. In sum, Hillary is vulnerable and beatable.

Trump is certainly not a conventional Republican. He has been referred to as an insurgent candidate and that may make him more attractive to Independents and Reagan Democrats. Indeed, political analyst Doug Schoen predicted that as many as 20% of Democratic voters would cross party lines and vote for Trump in a general election.

Given Clinton’s vulnerability, Republicans must set aside their petty differences and focus on the main goal, which is to defeat Hillary Clinton. For all of his faults, Trump has the ability to reach out to voters who can’t stomach Clinton but who have thus far been hesitant to vote for a Republican. It is time for Republicans, Reagan Democrats and Independents to join forces and reverse the detrimental domestic and foreign policies implemented by Obama in the last eight years. If Clinton becomes president, she will solidify Obama’s legacy and the country’s trajectory will be irreversibly altered for the worse. The nation stands at a precipice and this is an election that Republicans can ill afford to lose.





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