The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump Runs Free Again

We’re back to the strange dynamic that held before the last couple of weeks in Iowa: Donald Trump is the frontrunner but no one is really going after him. 

Ted Cruz, who blunted Trump’s momentum in Iowa, has no chance of winning New Hampshire (it’s hostile terrain for him and — mostly unfairly, in my view — he had a terrible couple of days of publicity after his Iowa victory dealing with the Carson flap). Meanwhile, the guy probably in second place entering the weekend, Marco Rubio, has been more concerned with fending off the other contenders than going after Trump. And the other contenders have been more concerned with bringing down Rubio than going after Trump. So Trump has lots of open running room. 

The deeper problem here is that both Cruz and Rubio would rather be in a one-on-one race with Trump than one with another (and the other candidates have been trying to claw their way back into the picture), so no one has much of an incentive to go after Trump as hard as the other candidates. (Even Bush, the most consistently anti-Trump candidate, has devoted more resources to hitting Rubio). 

By the way, for what it’s worth, my gut says the over/under for Trump in New Hampshire should be 27, the Buchanan vote in 1996, and the over-under for Kasich should be 17, the Huntsman vote in 2012.

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