Ben and the Crazies
by Deacon Blues
With recent polls showing that Ben Carson has passed Donald Trump as the top choice among the GOP electorate both in Iowa and nationally, and the news that even the Freedom Caucus is getting blowback from the far right base for supporting St. Paul the Speaker, one can envision a true demolition derby within the Republican Party between now and January 2017.
At the presidential level, the notion that a significant slice of the 2016 GOP electorate feels that someone like the woebegone Carson is their top choice because of his calm, evangelical persona only confirms the wreckage that lies ahead. Trump has already starting attacking Carson for his faith, and continues to belittle Bush and Rubio, both of whom are already disinterested in their current pursuits. This ensures that neither Bush nor Rubio can get the nomination without losing a part of the base. This week’s GOP debate will set the stage for the remainder of this year, and we’ll see the fault lines much more clearly afterwards. The major takeaways however are that Trump is risking a major schism inside the party with the evangelicals, who feel that it’s their time to place one of their own at the top of the ticket regardless of the electoral outcome.
That dilemma is already manifesting itself within the base towards the Freedom Caucus, where its members are already paying a price amongst the crazies for supporting St. Paul the Speaker. If the fringe actually runs candidates against Freedom Caucus members from the right next year, the GOP has truly splintered, but as a result would not even be able to maintain control of their gerrymandered House districts. This would put the House in play for Democrats, at a time when some GOP incumbent senators are already behind in their 2016 reelection contests against likely Democratic challengers.
Make no mistake, the GOP has brought this upon itself. But we may be watching the unraveling of one major political party right before our eyes.