As Super Tuesday’s nominating contests loom on the horizon, a flurry of activity has been mounting amongst those would like to put an end to the growing Trump juggernaut. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has said that if Trump were to become the nominee the GOP would “drop Trump like a hot rock“. It is not clear from his comments how this could be achieved.
A group of concerned GOP donors have researched the possibility of supporting an Independent candidate, but no viable name has surfaced as to who would be the face of this campaign. Certainly Michael Bloomberg would not fit the bill as his progressive social agenda would be anathema to the GOP.
Politico recently published a risk-reward assessment of using “The Nuclear Option”, as in, using every available resource at the disposal of the party establishment and donor class to try and take down the Party Frontrunner against the will of the voters. The scorched-earth campaign could lead to the ruin of the party and still may not succeed, and Politico concludes:
You can make the case that it comes with ill grace for Republicans and conservatives to shun Trump at all, given the party’s embrace of a no-compromise, no-accommodation approach to governance . . . Given the course of the primaries so far, the nuclear option is a highly improbable approach to stopping Trump. Everything else is more or less impossible.
The Ricketts family of Chicago has already committed to the attempt to stop Trump, donating $3 million to the anti-Trump Our Principals PAC. In response Trump tweeted:
I hear the Rickets family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2016
As witnessed during the recent Republican debate, there is plenty in opposition research widely accessible to Trump’s opponents and the most striking thing is how long it has taken to come up as a substantive matter.
GOP nomination opponents Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz continue to hit on Trump to release his tax records, attempting to bloody him over his refusal and making accusations that will only go away once they are released–using a bit of Trump’s “Birth Certificate” and then later “College Records” offensive strategy against President Obama. The IRS has refuted Trump’s claims that he cannot release his tax returns due to being audited, and his stubborn refusal to do so continues to give his opponents ammunition to speculate wildly, including Cruz accusing Trump of ties to Organized Crime.
It’s also worth noting that if a person is audited and their assessed penalty is zero they cannot be audited again for the next two years. So if Trump is being audited, as a person, 12 years in a row this means he has had to pay a penalty every single year without exception.
It is not clear whether Trump is being audited as an individual, or some portion of the Trump Organization, and whether his 12 years claim is some combination of the two. It is not that unusual for high-net worth individuals and corporations with foreign holdings to be audited.
Rubio, having found his comedic footing, continued the sharp jabs this weekend:
In anticipation of the upcoming Fox News debate–which will again feature Megyn Kelly as a moderator–Trump hinted he might skip it, calling debates “a waste of time”. Trump also stumbled a number of times in the last few days, alternatively refusing to disavow the endorsement he has earned from David Duke based on his “not knowing who he is” to eventually disavowing.
[Politico] [The Hill] [The New Yorker] [Yahoo Finance] [CNN]