Are the gun-shy candidates of the NJGOP paying attention to any of this? As they continue to present themselves as versions of Democrat-lite, are they seeing what's happening in their own party? Is it sinking in or are they going to wake up one day and it will be too late?
Your excuses for why you do what you do don't work anymore. Fewer and fewer buy it. Here is a great article from mainstream conservative Byron York, who looks ready to face the new reality:
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — For months, Donald Trump's antagonists in rival campaigns, in the GOP establishment and in the punditocracy have believed the time would come, someday, when Trump would say something so outrageous, so over-the-top, so out there that the scales would finally fall from his supporters' eyes and the Trump candidacy would collapse. The South Carolina campaign, some believed, would be that time. After all, in the course of a week, Trump had dumped all over popular former President George W. Bush, had said good things about Planned Parenthood, and had gotten into a weird tiff with the pope. Surely now…
But no. Despite it all, Trump surged to a ten-point victory here in South Carolina Saturday. And talks with Trump voters who came to the Spartanburg Marriott to celebrate suggest that the very statements that drive Trump's critics to distraction actually serve to strengthen his position with his supporters.
At the Marriott, I asked Trump voters the most basic question: Why did you pick Trump over the other guys?
"The big reason is honesty," said Lori Jagla, of Woodward, S.C. "The more I hear everyone else going, 'Isn't he going too far?' the more [I think], 'No, you just wait, you get into America, and it's not too far. It's what we're thinking.'"
"Because he's honest," said Nicki Cox, of Greer.
"Doesn't mince words," said Angela Griffin, of Spartanburg.
"I don't even care what his views are, I just care that there's a better chance that he's going to do what he says than the other guys," said Robert Daughenbaugh, of Mauldin. "I mean, you know they're all liars. End of story. They're all liars."
It's not that Trump's supporters agree with everything he has to say. They don't. It's that they see strong statements from Trump as proof of strong conviction on his part, and when he says something that causes his critics to go nuts, they see that as proof that Trump is saying not just something that needs to be said but something that he himself believes. So they view him more strongly than ever as an honest man who tells it like it is.
Trump didn't win across the board, but it was close. According to exit polls, he won men and women. He won voters who are evangelical Christians and those who are not. He won veterans and non-veterans. He cleaned up among the 46 percent of voters who do not have a college degree and nearly tied Marco Rubio, 25 percent to Rubio's 27 percent, among those who do. He won among voters who think terrorism is the top issue, and among voters who think the economy is the top issue, and among voters who think immigration is the top issue, and tied Rubio and Ted Cruz among voters who say government spending is the top issue.
In at least one area, Trump invented an issue and then dominated it. The exit polls show that 74 percent of South Carolina Republican voters support a policy of temporarily banning Muslims from entering the U.S. Trump won big among that group.
Trump also won against the opposition of pretty much the entire South Carolina political establishment. In the last couple of days of the campaign, popular Gov. Nikki Haley and popular Sen. Tim Scott and popular Rep. Trey Gowdy traveled the state together with Rubio, presenting themselves as a "new conservative movement" (Haley's words) that would sweep Rubio to victory. Gowdy and Scott developed a buddy comedy routine, and Scott at times seemed almost giddy introducing "Marco Rooooooooooooooobio!"
It didn't work. Just 25 percent of voters said they thought Haley's endorsement was important. And of the 75 percent who didn't, Trump won by a dozen points. Finally, another pillar of the state political establishment, Sen. Lindsey Graham, endorsed Jeb Bush. When the televisions at the Trump victory party mentioned Graham's name, there was loud and lusty booing. It was much louder than any catcalls directed at Bush's withdrawal speech.
The crowd at the Marriott Saturday night was deeply anti-establishment, but their hostility to entrenched power was of recent vintage. Many had supported mainstream Republican candidates for years and felt they had nothing to show for it. Trump is their opportunity to change course.
"I went into a couple of weeks' depression when Mitt Romney lost," said Doug Moore, of Greenville. "I'm just tired of the politicians. I'm tired of the establishment. I voted establishment for most of my life. I voted for both Bushes, I voted for Bob Dole, John McCain, Romney. I'm just ready for something different, somebody who'll actually get in there and make a change."
Note: Trump creates issues and then dominates them. He doesn't allow the mainstream media or the Democrats or the Legions of Ass or any other lobby group, to set the agenda. He inverts the process by listening close, figuring out why people are pissed, where the emotion is, and then turning what is on their minds into a policy statement. He doesn't get his policies from insider lobbyists at cocktail parties hosted by the coffee-enema crowd. Learn from this.