The GOP establishment has been wrong at every turn, and Donald Trump has been right, says Mel Robbins
The only thing that's shocking about all this is that while Trump is always on the attack, no one has made a direct hit back, she says
He still has to amass delegates, but he's leading in the polls, and he's upended Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson
Editor’s Note: Mel Robbins is a CNN commentator, legal analyst, best-selling author and keynote speaker. In 2014, she was named outstanding news talk-radio host by the Gracie Awards. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author
It’s over. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.
He just added Nevada to the growing list of caucus primary wins, and while he needs more delegates to clinch it, who the heck can stop him now?
He is leading in national polls and in many state polls; he’s succeeded in upending rivals such as Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson; and there’s no one in sight who can stop him. The only question is when will the GOP embrace him? The answer: no time soon.
The establishment doesn’t like him because it can’t control him. Yet he’s the only conservative candidate who stands a chance against Hillary Clinton. The polls may reflect Marco Rubio doing well as a conservative uniter, but no one will hammer Clinton’s biggest weakness better than Trump, and that’s Clinton fatigue.
Sorry, Bernie fans, the Democratic nomination is hers to lose.
Bush has limped away from the race in a manner that validates almost every insult Trump had flung at him (these are just from the past two weeks):
“Total disaster,” “had to bring in mommy to take a slap at me,” “zero communication skills,” “weak candidate,” “spent a fortune of special interest money on a Super Bowl ad,” “desperate,” “failed campaign,” “Not a leader!” “by far the weakest of the lot,” “Jeb failed as Jeb,” “gave up and enlisted Mommy and his brother,” “Weak,” “no chance.”
At least Jeb had the guts to face the truth and withdraw. John Kasich is a nice guy, and he gives good hugs, but under what scenario does he actually win? Carson is just as surprised as you and me that he’s still on stage, which means he doesn’t belong there.
Staying in the race is delusional at this point. It’s time they pack their bags and turn their loss into a win on the speaking and publishing circuit.
That leaves Rubio and Cruz. Neither one of them can beat Clinton, or Trump for that matter. Yes, Cruz captured Iowa, but he is too scary for moderate Republicans and independents. And the GOP “establishment” can hope that with Jeb gone, Rubio will scoop up enough non-Trump votes to cruise to a victory, but that’s not happening either. After Cruz and Trump grab their share of the undecided, there won’t be enough left to give Rubio the bump he needs to pass Trump.
Last summer, I gave you five reasons why so many Americans loved Trump and why he would go the distance. Notice, four of the five points cemented his path to the Republican nomination. At the time, the seasoned political commentators and pundits just rolled their eyes at me. Now they’re predicting a win.
1. He’s real.
2. He doesn’t care what you think.
3. Many Americans hate Washington.
4. It’s early (null).
5. You want to see him debate.
(As I mentioned in that piece, in full disclosure, I know Trump. I’ve delivered keynotes for his company, spoken at the same leadership events, chatted in green rooms and interviewed him on camera.)
Also notice Trump’s campaign hasn’t changed one bit in eight months, either. If anything, Trump has just doubled down on the tone, the temper and the tactics.
In July 2015, this is how Trump put it to a crowd in Sun City, South Carolina: “We are tired of being pushed around and led around by stupid people … we need smart leadership, we need great leadership. We need to make America great again.” There was no policy then, and there isn’t policy now. And it doesn’t seem to matter.
Even back then, Trump was telling the media he didn’t see Jeb “as a factor,” and he was right.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus reportedly told Trump to tone done his rhetoric last summer. Yet he’s only turned the volume up.
In September, the world was up in arms over his loose tongue at the mic and Twitter rants. No one could believe it when he called Lindsey Graham “a total lightweight … idiot,” and barked that Rick Perry wears glasses so “people think he’s smart,” and Obama’s administration officials are “dopes.” Carly Fiorina’s face bothered him, Megyn Kelly had blood coming out of her “whatever.”
That hasn’t slowed down either. In fact, who hasn’t he offended at this point? Basically, no one. Trump’s targets:
- The Pope
- George W. Bush
- Mexican immigrants
- Fox News
- The Koch brothers
He even said he could shoot one of his supporters and he’d still win. Sadly, he might be right, assuming he wasn’t arrested and jailed for it. On Monday, he said he missed the “good old days” because he wanted to punch a protester.
The GOP establishment has been wrong at every turn, and Trump has been right. In business, there’s an explanation for this: disruption. That’s what Trump has done – he’s disrupted politics as usual and changed the rules entirely. As I argued in January, once disrupters such as Amazon, Uber and Airbnb get out front, they become nearly impossible to beat.
That’s why the establishment hates him. Not only has he changed the rules, he has upended the hierarchy. The GOP has been snubbed. It’s sort of like that moment a few weeks ago, when Paul McCartney was turned away from a Grammy after party. McCartney used to own the industry, but now he isn’t relevant enough for insider access.
That’s why, for Thursday’s final debate before Super Tuesday, we will all be tuning in – to see what Trump does. And I can tell you exactly what will happen.
He’s been 100% consistent since he jumped into the race last summer. He’ll tell us he plans to make America great again. He’ll remind us that we’ve got lousy deals with China and Iran. And he’ll go on the attack.
The only thing that’s shocking about all this is the fact that while Trump is always on the attack, no one has been able to land a direct hit back.
And consider this: Trump hasn’t even begun insulting Rubio yet. Trust me, it’s coming. And so is a negotiation trick he’s been using this entire time: lowering the perceived power of his opponent.
Mark my words, just as Trump pushed Jeb out of the race by calling him “weak” and “low-energy,” he’ll push Rubio out of the way by referring to him as a decent choice for “VP.”
So what is the GOP waiting for? In the past six GOP primaries without an incumbent, with the exception of Newt Gingrich in 2012, every South Carolina winner since 1980 went on to become the eventual Republican nominee.
For all Trump haters, that’s not good news.
If you are still crossing your fingers hoping for a Rubio surge, I advise you, don’t waste your time. The race is over. It’s time for the GOP establishment to decide if it wants to continue the identity crisis or elect a president.
The Republican nominee is Donald Trump.