The Corner

Politics & Policy

Re: Lining Up Nicely for Cruz

I’m not inclined to second-guess Rich on a matter of operational politics, but to supplement his observations below, I’d point to Josh Vorhees’s recent Slate piece on second-choice candidates.

While Trump’s outsider appeal is undeniable, a closer look at the polls suggests it may also be overblown. In the last national survey conducted by Fox News, for instance, pollsters reassigned Trump supporters based on their declared second choice. The biggest winner? None other than establishment poster boy Jeb Bush, who saw his support climb by more than a third to 19 percent. (The bizarre Bush-Trump overlap can also be seen in reverse: With Jeb out, Trump’s support climbs by 3 points, the biggest jump of any member of the field.) It’s only one poll, of course, but we’ve seen similar trends in others.

My suspicion (and my prayer) is that most of the gas inside the Trump bubble comes from simple celebrity. Most people don’t know very much about Ted Cruz or Rick Perry, but everybody knows who Trump is, and most everybody knows what a Bush is. This suggests that the best way for conservatives to connect with the low-information voter is to rally behind Kim Kardashian, or for Rick Perry to get a quickie sex-change operation and a reality show.

Citizenship is hard. 

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