The GOP primary is now sizing up as a three horse race, with the Scarecrow (Jeb Bush) gone, the Tin Man (Carly Fiorina) melting before our eyes, the Lion (Chris Christie) stuck on a bridge of his own making, Professor Marvel (Kasich) exposed as a “moderate” fraud and the Wizard (Ben Carson) shown to be little more than a mirage some time ago. That leaves us with Trump, Cruz and Rubio. Trump is still clearly the forerunner with Cruz trying to beat him to the right while Rubio attempts to provide a more moderate road forward.
Both strategies could ultimately work, but it is clear that the unthinkable has become, well, thinkable. A rightwing lunatic unafraid to break all the rules and short on ideas on how to actually solve problems has a strong chance of lining up with a shot at the presidency. It’s extraordinary, really – a joke of a man, famous for parodying himself on a popular TV show, of losing much of and then reaccumulating his fortune, and of making outrageous claims about a sitting president long after everyone else had moved on to other outrageous claims (the “birther” narrative, of course). In just the past few weeks, we have seen what a Trump presidency could look like – vilifying his enemies without compunction, hypermasculine diatribes on America, empty rhetoric about making America great again and barely veiled racist and sexist saber rattling.