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Nate Jackson / February 23, 2016

Nevada’s High Stakes Caucus

Trump will cash in if opposition doesn’t consolidate.

Today’s Nevada caucuses are likely to be a rough repeat of South Carolina’s primary Saturday. In a state famous for gambling, casino mogul Donald Trump will win, followed by Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz duking it out for second place. John Kasich and Ben Carson will follow with a distant fourth and fifth. Trump’s business connections to the state in addition to his overall draw are likely going to be too much for any of the competitors to overcome.

In our estimation, Trump continues to win for two reasons. First (and most important), as we’ve been saying all along, Trump’s card is the ace of anger affirmation. He’s tapping into an entirely justified swell of frustration among voters created by Barack Obama and left insufficiently addressed by the GOP establishment. Trump gives voice to politically incorrect things voters only wish they could say with impunity. He’ll make great deals. He’ll knock heads together. He’ll upend Washington, DC. He’ll make America great again. What’s not to like?

A lot, actually. A constantly self-contradicting narcissistic liberal with New York values is not the answer to our nation’s questions or problems. And among numerous profanity-laden tirades, we’ve been told to “burn in hell with [our] 30 pieces of silver” for saying so. True story — that’s an actual quote. What can we say? We’re going to stand for our constitutional principles, even if people wish us eternal damnation for it.

Second, Trump is leading because of the still-large and divided field of opponents. The GOP presidential race began with a staggering 17 candidates, and five yet remain. Only one of them gets 24/7 media coverage. Trump’s appeal runs deep (though not wide), leaving the rest of the field to divide up two-thirds of the votes. Two-thirds wins unless it’s divided.

And boy are Trump’s opponents divided. The latest spat involves one of Cruz’s top aides posting a video of Rubio making comments about the Bible with a (deliberate) mis-transcription of his remarks at the bottom. The details of the embarrassing episode are hardly the point. It’s the fact that the incessant fratricidal infighting has gotten this ridiculous. At this point, the infighting is self-perpetuating, and it leaves Kasich and Carson an opening to stay in the race when neither of them should.

Cruz and Rubio are both outstanding conservatives, and if this cycle hadn’t been turned on its head with Trump’s antics, they might be jostling for first place, not second. Instead, they’re only hurting each other, and the end result might be a party led by a man who thinks its last president was a war criminal. That may be what Republicans deserve, but our nation needs better.

What are we fighting for? We ask that question in more than one sense — both “why” we’re fighting and “what” we’re aiming to achieve.

Limited-government constitutional conservatism is the best — indeed, the only — way to make American great again. We must get back to being governed by Rule of Law, and thus enjoying the fruits of real Liberty. Rubio and Cruz are each able to carry that torch. Trump simply won’t, no matter how many are willing to roll the dice on him. Unless the two senators pick up their game, Trump will continue to collect all the chips.

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