Steven Shepard of Politico worked the phones hard and reported:
Almost 85 percent of Republican insiders said Trump isn’t on a glide path to become the party’s nominee, despite a 22-point win in the New Hampshire primary this week.
Their rationale is partly about math – Trump has a solid plurality of the vote in many states, but polls suggest he is too polarizing to win over a majority of Republicans – and partly grounded in the belief that the brash, sometimes-profane real-estate mogul will wilt once the other candidates turn their fire on him.
“Trump needs to show that he can grow his share of the vote,” said a South Carolina Republican, who, like all respondents, completed the survey anonymously. “Right now he's getting around one-third, but that means two-thirds of the vote is ‘not Trump.’ If he has a ceiling, then as others drop out, Cruz or one of the establishment candidates can pass him. We are down to six in South Carolina – let’s see if he grows this time.”
“Nobody has gone negative on The Donald,” added a Republican in New Hampshire, where Trump won Tuesday with more than 35 percent of the vote. “Nobody has talked about his liberal views, his bankruptcies, or his personal life. As the front runner, it's all fair game.”
A South Carolina Republican put it this way: “He will flame out as people become more serious.”(By the way, it is legitimate; Shepard listed the insiders he talked to.)
The idea that nobody has gone negative on Trump is technically correct, but odd. His rival candidates do not have to. The media has mocked Trump as if he were the bastard child of Sarah Palin and Daniel Quayle. Yet Trump keeps going. The mainstream media is Ted Cruz's biggest Super PAC. And Marco Rubio. And Jeb Bush. Et cetera. The Conservative Commentariat savages Trump nightly on Fox News. he grows despite them; more likely because of them.
He grows, they shrink.
While it is true two-thirds of the voters in New Hampshire didn't vote for Trump, almost 85 percent didn't vote for the runner-up, John Kasich. Trump's showing so far, second to an evangelical Christian-backed candidate in Iowa, and a big win over an odd-duck Republican in New Hampshire, eerily follows Mitt Romney's results.
Not to be the fart in their elevator, but Trump is growing his share of the vote by bringing in new voters. Who has Cruz brought to the party? Marco Rubio? Jeb Bush? Did Ben Carson bring in a single African American? Did Carly Fiorina bring in a single woman? Face it, all they have going is the demographic they are in and they are failing.
Oddly, the rationale for open borders and amnesty is that the party needs to grow the base, but by opposing both, Trump actually is expanding the party's base. Trump is more popular among Hispanic voters than Cruz and Rubio combined.
Maybe at the end of the day, the insiders of today will be the outsiders.
We shall see.