Maybe Donald Trump will drop out of the race before the Iowa caucuses. Maybe he won’t. In the meantime, he’s polling between 10 and 15 percent and, perhaps more importantly, sucking up all the oxygen on the far right. That means he’s making it extraordinarily difficult for another candidate on that part of the ideological spectrum to get any traction. In previous cycles, some of those candidates (Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee) have gained momentum. The longer Trump stays around, the less likely it is that that happens.
Case in point: Ted Cruz announced today that, between his campaign and the cluster of supper PACs supporting his candidacy, he’s raised $51 million. That’s an impressive haul and ensures he’ll have enough money to stick around for a while. But the press has spent more time talking about the kind words Cruz has offered for Trump — and I suspect he offered those as much out of a desire to elbow his way into the spotlight as from an urge to support his fellow Republican.