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What a difference a week makes. Trump is losing his luster and I would offer losing his cool except you can't spend what you ain't got and can't lose what you never had (as the old song goes).

destroying trump

For Republicans, The Party's Over—Lance Simmens

Carson is sleepwalking through misinterpretations of historical proportions and history itself as he contorts what his reading of the Constitution is.

Walker not only never gained traction but actually squandered whatever capital he had coming into the race by running a campaign bankrupted by a lack of passion and presence and a slippery grasp of issues.

Jeb Bush is the weeble who wobbles but won't fall down.

Carly Fiorina is the flavor of the month merely because she at least appears to have more testicular fortitude than any of her male counterparts.

The quintessential dilemma facing Republican strategists at this point is how they will destroy their frontrunner without destroying the party. 

I wrote after last week's debate that Trump was beginning a long, torturous decline, here, and also predicted that if the heat got too high he would most likely extract himself from the kitchen rather than suffer the ignominy of appearing to be fired. It turns out his skin is much thinner than the blusterous coat that cloaks his bravado. He also is turning into a whiner of the highest order, ratcheting up complaints of unfair treatment in a manner reminiscent of Sarah Palin's complaint that asking what magazines she reads was gotcha journalism. Running an election campaign devoid of conviction is very different than running one devoid of any substantive knowledge whatsoever and he is finding out being an anti-politician is less risky than being anti-policy.

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Ben Carson is proving that he simply is not equipped to surgically repair a broken and dysfunctional political system by wading into the thicket of constitutional interpretation. Armed with barely the most cursory grasp of the complexities and historical significance of freedom from religious persecution that undergirds the birth of this nation he loves he is now wrapped in chains that Houdini himself might find impossible to escape. He completely boxed himself in on national television Sunday and is walking backwards so fast that he is tripping over his own feet. Simply put he is not ready for this league.

The field of fifteen is so weak that the most effective strategy now being explored by those remaining in the game is to merely drop out so as to coalesce around a candidate who at least has a chance of limiting the damage done by the Donald. It reminds me of the old Three Stooges routine where no one actually steps up, but rather all the others step back leaving the appearance that the hapless individual not in on the maneuver is actually volunteering to take the lead. The quintessential dilemma facing Republican strategists at this point is how they will destroy their frontrunner without destroying the party. Further complicating the issue is whether or not a Trump implosion and subsequent retreat will not have the same effect on the health of the party.

There are candidates in the Republican free-for-all who actually have some policy chops (Rubio, Bush, Kasich). You may not agree with them but they do have experience in the realm of policy making. What is holding them back, however, is that very fact. The inevitable irony of this sorry state of affairs is that the politics of fear so adroitly practiced by the Republican opposition since the 1980 election, when fear of a changing world brought about a period of retrenchment and longing for a simpler time when the streets were paved with gold (a Hollywood version of history). Fear-induced acceptance of policies like supply-side economics and overt militarization encouraged us to reject common sense and progress.

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The need to project military strength as a reaction to 9/11 has wrought an unstable international stage where we are victims of our own violence. Compounding the dysfunctional world order is domestic confusion that has eviscerated the middle class, created a level of income inequality unparalleled in American history, and an angry, cynical, and frustrated electorate that distrusts its leaders and institutions. And yes FDR was right, the only thing we have to fear is....fear itself.

The anti-government, anti-liberal, anti-regulatory, anti-equality and anti-evolutionary forces marshalled by the Republican centurions of unfettered capitalism over the past 35 years have rendered a system incapable of utilizing compromise and reason to resolve our problems and hence we are sleeping in the bed we effectively made for ourselves. Without compromise and reason our system of representative democracy grinds to a halt. Unfortunately, everyone pays the price in the end.

Republican futility is fueled by the vapid intellectual disdain exhibited towards vision, wisdom and long-term thinking and a rejection of the foundational tenets of scientific inquiry. So you brought this upon yourselves and hopefully you will continue to pay a heavy price for your greed and complacency. Unfortunately we have long relied upon a vibrant and conscientious two-party system that is today absent. Until the national Republican party adopts a more rational and realistic acceptance of the changes that are occurring all around it we are left with only one serious alternative and that is not healthy for the long-term growth of the country.

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Lance Simmens

Republished from Huffington Post with the author's permission.

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