The entire GOP is having a massive ISIS freakout and is now doing its utmost to protect America from Syrian refugees. Obviously, much of this is purely political.
This moment could not have come at a worse time for the sane Republican establishment hoping to derail Trump. We are now only 10 weeks from the Iowa caucuses and 11 weeks from the New Hampshire primary. Politics will also get sidelined by Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years, so the calendar is much more compressed than it seems. Time is running short to establish order, and two weeks on the clock are getting chewed up by the ISIS/Paris/Terror/Syria storyline, which is in Trump’s wheelhouse of xenophobia. This is not the kind of moment that Republicans decide to indulge in sober judgment. The adult candidates can get no oxygen. Bush is down around 6% in the polls, and even Rubio who supposedly did so well in the last debate is around 12%, and tied with Cruz.
Carson is fading, as his laconic approach to everything fails him now, just as his reputation was getting whacked by his weird theories about the pyramids and his inability to name an American ally during an interview about ISIS.
If you add up the crazy vote (Trump plus Carson plus Cruz) it is about 60% of the GOP vote, and the sane vote sums to about 30%. How is Rubio or Bush going to pull those Carson or Trump voters to them? What do they have to offer? Bigger tax cuts?
The path for Trump to run the table is wide open, and the ability of the GOP to block him is getting constrained. Right now he looks to finish at least second in Iowa, then win New Hampshire and South Carolina. At that point, most of the rest of the field will drop out, leaving Carson, Bush, Cruz, and Rubio. Bush and Rubio will kill each other by splitting the sane vote, ensuring both finish poorly, and neither party sees any reason to humbly step aside so the other gets a clean shot at Trump.
Cruz will continue his strategy of stoking the wingnuts while avoiding a direct attack on Trump. He knows his path to win is for Trump to self-destruct leaving him to pick up the pieces. But if he is the one to take down Trump he is unlikely to get those voters to his side. This strategy will succeed in boosting Trump, as Trump is not going to self-destruct. If the GOP base was going to reject him as a know-nothing extremist with zero basic knowledge about policy they would have long ago done so.
I am fervently praying that nothing stops Trump. His nomination is exactly what the GOP needs to break its fever of extremism. The standing Trump has with the GOP base is clearly displayed by the fact that right wing talk radio has completely refrained from taking a jab at him. None of the right wing radio nuts have actually endorsed him, but they all treat him with kid gloves, and hold him up as the standard bearer of the base against the establishment. As if a billionaire is not part of the GOP establishment.
One question that has not been discussed much, is who would run on the Trump ticket as a VP candidate? I doubt any serious Republican governor or senator would take that gig. They know they would be heading for an epic defeat, and to be associated with the whole Trump circus and the need to play second fiddle to an egomaniac would drive away any reputable Republican. Which leaves the one obvious choice, Ted Cruz. If Trump does win the primary, I think Cruz would end up his VP pick. Who else could he get?
If Trump wins the GOP nomination, the general election will be an easy and overwhelming win for the Democrats. The sane members of the GOP will be left deeply uncertain about what to do. They can’t vote Democrat, so will likely stay home or vote third party. The math for this election up to now has been a 70% white electorate and 30% minority, with the Dems winning 40% of the white vote and 80% of the minority vote. That would give the Dems 52-48 win. But if Trump is the candidate, I think the Dems get 45% of the white vote, and 90% of the minority vote, giving the Dems a 58-42 landslide, which will give them the Senate and likely the House. Even if the Dems only get 43% of the white vote and 85% of the minority, it still would be a 56-44 trouncing. Any way you slice it this will be the biggest national Democratic win since 1964.