- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 6, 2016

The presidential race is chaotic and compelling, the media coverage just plain chaotic. But in the end, Election Day will dawn, Americans will go to the polls, and someone will be elected. In the meantime, a moment of clarity is emerging for Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

“The home stretch of the nomination race is going to be ferocious, and if he survives, he faces a general-election war against Hillary Clinton that would be unlike any in modern times. Is Trump built to go the distance? Can the author of ‘The Art of the Deal’ close the deal of a lifetime? Yes he can,” writes New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin. “He can get a majority of delegates and beat Clinton, too. But he’ll have to tone down the juvenile nastiness, flesh out and stick to clear policies and build a national campaign infrastructure. Oh, and he’ll need to spend real money, at least $1 billion, either his own or other people’s.”

Mr. Goodwin continued, “The list is a tall order, but doable. Moreover, Trump starts this new phase with advantages, not the least of which is a passionately devoted base of support and the fact that he won’t need to make the usual tricky pivot toward the center for the general election.”

And one more simple thing.

Trump must broaden his base without losing too much of the street-fighter attitude that is key to his appeal. He will have to hold his tongue and control his hyper-competitiveness by reminding himself that the election is about America,” Mr. Goodwin noted. “To keep his eye on the prize, he might channel his inner Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach who also was excellent at closing the deal. ‘Winning isn’t everything,’ Lombardi said, ‘It’s the only thing.’”

WHAT MR. REAGAN SAID ABOUT MRS. REAGAN

“You know, if Nancy Davis hadn’t come along when she did, I would have lost my soul.”

Ronald Reagan, speaking of his wife, Nancy Davis Reagan. He made the comment in a conversation with Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin during his first term of office, according to Mrs. Reagan’s 1989 memoir, “My Turn.” She also noted, “My life did not begin until I met Ronnie.”

WOULD A ROMNEY ENDORSEMENT MATTER?

Should Mitt Romney endorse a Republican presidential hopeful, only 8 percent of Americans say his blessing would make them “more likely” to vote for that candidate. So says a YouGov poll of 2,000 people released Sunday.

Among Republicans, 18 percent said Mr. Romney could sway their preference. Deep numbers reveal differences: The number was 30 percent among those who backed Sen. Marco Rubio and ditto for Gov. John Kasich, 12 percent among those who favored Sen. Ted Cruz and 7 percent among Donald Trump’s fans. Even the Democrats had a say: 3 percent said Mr. Romney could influence their vote. See more in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

PREDICTION: THE GOP WILL GET A GRIP

One veteran observer has faith that the Grand Old Party will get its act together as the 2016 campaign rumbles through the next nine months.

“We’re going to move forward. At the end of all this, everybody will ultimately realize that the Democrat Party — the most destructive force in this country — they have to be stopped. They have to be stopped in this election if this country is to restore its founding principles and the ideals that the majority of Americans associate with this country,” talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace.

“The Democrats have to be stopped. And that is what ultimately will bring people back to sobriety here,” Mr. Limbaugh continued, adding, “I think clear heads will prevail, and the correct political enemy will be identified, and efforts will come together to defeat whoever it is the Democrats throw up.”

HILLARY + BERNIE = FOX NEWS

Lest we forget, Fox News will host a one-hour presidential town hall on Monday featuring Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders, live from a historic old theater in Detroit. This is her first appearance on Fox News in two years; Mr. Sanders sat down with the network last month. The program will be moderated by anchor Bret Baier at 6 p.m. EST before an audience of Michigan voters, just one night before the state’s primary. The program will re-air at 11 p.m.

MADELEINE GOES TO LONDON

Big doings in London town on Monday night. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has journeyed all the way across the pond to host a pair of campaign fundraisers for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Both are in private homes; one is a chatty conversational event, the other a dinner. Both feature $2,700 price tags.

These are not the first of such international fetes. Only last month, Chelsea Clinton and Vogue editor Anna Wintour were the hostesses of similar gatherings in London. Two fundraisers for Mrs. Clinton were also staged in Mexico City in recent days.

POLL DU JOUR

49 percent of Americans say Mitt Romney’s endorsement of a presidential hopeful would have “no effect” on their choice of a candidate; 52 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 43 percent of Democrats agree.

57 percent of Sen. Marco Rubio fans, 56 percent of Gov. John Kasich fans, 63 percent of Sen. Ted Cruz fans and 48 percent of Donald Trump fans also agree.

28 percent overall say a Romney endorsement would make them “less likely” to support a candidate; 22 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

2 percent of Rubio fans, 12 percent of Kasich fans, 23 percent of Cruz fans and 39 percent Trump fans also agree.

8 percent overall say a Romney endorsement would make them “more likely” to support a candidate; 18 percent of Republicans, 5 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent of Rubio fans, 30 percent of Kasich fans, 12 percent of Cruz fans and 7 percent Trump fans also agree.

Source: A YouGov survey of 2,022 U.S. adults conducted March 4-5.

• Childish tirades and facts to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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