It is about two months until the first caucus of the year, and the Republican Party is beginning to get very, very scared. Why? Because no matter how much time passes and how many bizarre statements he makes, businessman Donald Trump still appears to solidly lead the polls of presidential candidates.
"According to the five-day rolling Reuters/Ipsos presidential poll, Trump has leapt some 17 percentage points among likely Republican voters since Nov. 6, when he was essentially tied with Ben Carson at about 25 percent," reports Yahoo News. "Trump now captures 42 percent of those voters while Carson has fallen off slightly. Among all Republicans - not simply likely primary voters - Trump holds a substantial edge over Carson, at 34 percent to about 20 percent, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll."
Of course, this comes just before a truly baffling campaign stop in Iowa, where Trump repeatedly called Ben Carson "pathological" and did a number of odd gestures at an imaginary belt buckle as he attempted to explain why Carson's story of stabbing a young friend before finding God was potentially a fabrication.
While Trump could see his polling numbers decline as a result of his attack on Carson, Carson, too, has hit a campaign rough patch. Well supported by many who consider themselves strong advocates for "life" issues like abortion and euthanasia, Carson may find that backing dwindling now that he has announced that the Terri Schiavo case was "much ado about nothing." The attempt to keep Schiavo on life support, despite the wishes of her husband, was a call to arms for many in the pro-life movement, and they are aghast to hear Carson, a medical doctor, say that trying to keep Schiavo alive for as long as possible may have been a futile waste of medical resources.
As headlines continue, it is clear that both of the major front runners are terrifying prospects to the rank and file GOP establishment. In fact, despite there being nearly a dozen candidates remaining to choose from, one of the party's biggest donors has decided not to pick a favorite at all.
When the campaigns first started their runs, the Koch brothers weren't shy in noting that they had picked a favorite in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Despite the accolades, however, Walker ended up being one of the first out of the 2016 race. Now, just a few months from the start of primaries, Charles Koch has decided not to put his name on any of the remaining competitors.
"Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch said Wednesday he's unlikely to back a candidate in the crowded Republican presidential primary, the latest sign that one of the most influential figures in conservative politics seems less than enthusiastic about his choices," reports USA Today. "'I have no plans to support anybody in the primary now,' Koch told USA TODAY during a wide-ranging interview that touched on politics, his management theories and what he views as increasing threats to free speech at universities." Although the businessman has bandied about a few names in the past that are still in the race, none of those candidates are anywhere near the top of polling like Trump or Carson is.
With the party still massively divided, and voters apparently eager to give the endorsement to the candidate who is the least likely to know how to actually govern - or, probably, able to win a general election among moderate voters - it's no wonder that party powers are whispering about an as of yet undeclared politician who could come in and save this GOP mess.
Yes, it's Mitt Romney to the rescue. "According to other Republicans, some in the party establishment are so desperate to change the dynamic that they are talking anew about drafting Romney - despite his insistence that he will not run again," reports the Washington Post. "Friends have mapped out a strategy for a late entry to pick up delegates and vie for the nomination in a convention fight, according to the Republicans who were briefed on the talks, though Romney has shown no indication of reviving his interest."
When Romney becomes the White Knight who can save the White House for the GOP, it's obvious that the party knows their presidential campaign is on the route to becoming unwinnable.