The Trump Lane or The Conservative Lane
Goodbye, Chris. You did your best in New Hampshire. And you sure did put a good New Jersey-style hit job on Kid Rubio, whom you out-psyched and out-boxed at the debate last weekend. But the primary voters of New Hampshire sent you a clear message Tuesday night — quit. Gov. Chris Christie did the right thing for the Republican Party on Wednesday by taking himself out of the presidential primary race.
It was not a hard decision. When you finish 6th and can’t reach double digits in a presidential primary, it’s time to start planning your career as a future U.S. Attorney General.
Carly Fiorina also has finally faced reality. She also “suspended” her hopeless campaign — which is a way to call it quits but still be able to raise money, pay your bills and jump back in if a miracle occurs.
Ben Carson needs to join the rush of losers to the exits — and soon. The good doctor never should have cluttered up the over-cluttered GOP primary race in the first place.
As I said in last week’s column, Republicans are rapidly running out of time if they want to stop the Trump Express. They have to settle on one candidate so all of the party’s conservative voters can unite behind him.
The media likes to say there are three lanes in the GOP primary — the Trump lane, the establishment lane and the outsider lane. But there are really only two lanes — the Trump lane and everyone else. The everyone-else lane is now the conservative lane, which includes outsiders Cruz and Carson.
Trump has his lane all to himself — and always will. Except for his own ego, he has no competition that can split up the Trump vote. He has the same advantage my father had in the 1980 Republican primary, when he was the only conservative candidate in a sea of moderates who were splitting the moderate vote.
The reverse happened in 2008 when John McCain, the only moderate in the primary, won because Huckabee, Romney and Giuliani split the conservative vote. Meanwhile, this year, even with Christie and Fiorina gone, the remaining candidates are still be splitting up the conservative vote into six pieces.
Trump captured 35 percent of New Hampshire voters. Kasich had almost 16 percent and Cruz, Bush and Rubio virtually tied for third with around 11 percent. Fiorina, Christie and Carson collectively got almost 14 percent. In other words, about 65 percent of New Hampshire voters didn’t want Trump and voted for one kind of conservative or another.
Conservatives have to get out of their own way and choose their one hero to battle Trump before the wave of March primaries, when it’ll be too late. But it’s not looking good.
In South Carolina and for the near future, even if
Carson and someone else quits, it looks like we’re going to have three or four conservative Republicans taking turns beating each other up, while Trump gets his automatic 35 percent.
With Hillary Clinton’s cruise to the Oval Office being sunk by a 74-year-old socialist, the Democrats seem to be trying their best to hand Republicans a victory this fall.
It’ll be a major tragedy if conservatives in the GOP blow their big chance and America ends up with President Trump. But that would still be better than Hillary.
Michael Reagan is a political columnist.
He is the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, and is heard daily by over 5 million listeners via his nationally syndicated talk