Aaaaaand now we see why Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are, and Donald Trump is not, sounding so confident of late:
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has sailed past Donald Trump and Ben Carson in Iowa to become the front-runner in the intensifying race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday.
The new numbers, based on a survey of 425 Iowa voters likely to attend the Republican presidential caucuses in February, reveal:
Ted Cruz 24%
Donald Trump 19%
Marco Rubio 17%
Ben Carson 13%
Jeb Bush 6%
Rand Paul 4%
Carly Fiorina 3%
John Kasich 3%
Monmouth said Carson had the steepest decline of any candidate, plummeting nineteen points from a poll two months ago which had him as front-runner.
As I always take pains to emphasize, polls outside of the last two or three days before Election Day are all about trends, and the one in Iowa over the past couple of months is pretty easy to read:
Ben Carson has collapsed even in the evangelical-heavy State he was most likely to win, and two-thirds of that support switched to Senator Cruz, with the other third going to Senator Rubio and none going to Trump. The downside is that Trump's numbers haven't cratered as well, but at this point I'm becoming convinced that if Cruz is the conservative candidate (almost a no-brainer) and Rubio is the "establishment" candidate (a lot more mixed of a question than TPers probably want to admit), Trump has become the American Idol candidate, with a posse of followers that are much less likely to actually show up to vote in primary elections, and still less to trudge out to caucuses in a neighbor's living room and spend an entire evening on it when they could be watching the newest episode of Fargo or Celebrity Apprentice reruns or something. No wonder he's begging them to value a vote for him more than their very own lives.
The why isn't a difficult fathom, either:
Yes, national security topped the issue list four months ago, too. But the intensity behind that prioritization has greatly intensified over that time as we've seen Obama green-light Iran's nukes, Russia occupy Syria and now attempt to provoke a war with Turkey, and therefore NATO, and therefore the U.S., at the same time that Obama's phony war against ISIS has been exposed as the fraud it's always been. And that was before Paris and San Bernardino.
It has, indeed. And the situation calls for serious leadership to deal with it. That means out with the "outsider" dalliances and in with the....well, more experienced than the outsiders, anyway professional pols who might actually know what they're doing.
Leaving the self-evident question of how Trump is going to rip Cruz from rectum to belly-button without alienating whatever Tea Party support he still retains. Crap on government shutdown brinksmanship? Nah; not only would conservative Trumplicans fart on that, but it would make Cruz look like the Alpha male, which has been the core of the Trump mystique. Go full-bore Birther on him? Now you're getting warm.
Maybe the latter would finally bring about the long-theorized Trump collapse. But I doubt it.
UPDATE: Trump calls for purging the country of Muslims and not letting a single one back in:
Ben Shapiro stumbled upon the reason Trump says things like this without apparently realizing it:
Kiss Our Intelligence Apparatus Goodnight. We need to work with Muslims both foreign and domestic. It’s one thing to label Islamic terrorism and [Islamic Fundamentalism] a problem. It’s another to label all individual Muslims a problem. That’s what this policy does. It’s factually wrong and ethically incomprehensible. Donald Trump has just transformed into the strawman Barack Obama abused on Sunday night. [emphasis added]
Precisely. Because that's his role in the GOP race - to personify leftwingnut strawmen and caustic, insulting, slanderous, smearing caricatures of conservatives and conservative policy prescriptions in order to provide the Obamedia with "proof" that Republicans really are what they've always said we are - but only AFTER Trump clinches the GOP nomination.
Just as with calling for the deportation of all thirty million illegal aliens squatting in this country, it would be, contra young Mr. Shapiro, a good idea if it were remotely practical. But it isn't, physically or politically. Which is why no professional pol has called for it. Trump is, without meaning a word of it, because he knows that's an opening he can take that none of his rivals ever will, it'll generate him another ton of free publicity, his core followers will love him for it, and it'll further cement the negative view of the GOP he's doing so much to entrench in the subconscious of the larger general electorate.
I do hope everyone realizes only reason Trump is running this new "BAN ALL THE MUSLIMS" schtick right now is b/c of today's IA poll numbers.