Noah Rothman: Time to Panic – Commentary
Donald Trump is back in the pole position. His commanding performance across almost all demographics and voting blocs in New Hampshire is staggering. Worse, Hillary Clinton’s disastrous performance among both swing and core Democratic voters in the Granite State suggests that the flamboyant, vulgar, intemperate businessman may be electable in November.
Donors and endorsements will be harder to find for Rubio, and he’ll run out of money eventually. Cruz will not experience similar adversity, nor will Trump. Bush, Kasich, and Rubio have every reason to stay in the race as long as possible. There are no party elders or establishment figures of prohibitive stature that can impose some discipline on this motley lot. If their wing remains fractured into March, the prospect of a Trump nomination – and, unthinkably, a Trump presidency – grows exponentially.
It should, indeed, be time for the party’s moderate voters to panic. The candidates who are most acceptable to the party’s moderate wing, however, all seem disinclined to call a truce in their Mexican standoff for the good of their party. If that dynamic prevails for much longer and the Trump juggernaut persists, the worst possible scenario for the GOP could come within an ace of being played out.