- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2015


Donald Trump’s surprising rise up the polls is sucking all the air out of the Republican presidential primaries, leaving the third-tier candidates locked in oblivion and many in the second tier unable to mount a move.

Candidates like former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both of whom should be waging strong battles for the nomination, are barely registering in the latest polls. The latest average of all polls compiled by realclearpolitics.com put them each at 2.8 percent.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who flew up the polls when he first announced his candidacy, is floundering at 6.6 percent, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz comes in at just 5.2 percent.

Three-term Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is a blip on the polls: 0.6 percent. And he’s starting to get peeved.

“I think my voice needs to be heard on foreign policy,” Graham said on MSNBC Thursday. “It’s July 2015. I don’t expect my numbers to be any better than they are. But I expect to be given a chance to take Donald Trump on, to talk about why I’m different than Rand Paul, to challenge everybody on the stage and have them challenge me. So this debate construct, I think, is bad for our party.”

Trump has been wall-to-wall on mainstream media networks, including CNN, which vowed not to cover his campaign seriously but then bailed on that notion. The MSM loves the fact that Trump is making Republicans look foolish on immigration, saying those who come from Mexico are druggies and rapists.

Still, as it stands now, candidates like Graham, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the 2012 Iowa caucuses, won’t be allowed in the first GOP debate Aug. 6, which is limited to the top 10 in the poll average.

“I wish I was getting as much attention as he is, because anybody getting that much attention certainly is going to soar in the polls,” Huckabee complained last week.

Another candidate who will find himself off the stage that night is former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who of late has started bashing Trump as “not a conservative.”

Chances are Trump will fade fast; polls show voters are interested in him, but few said they would actually vote for him on Election Day 2016. But in the meantime, he sucking all the air out of the campaign for the second tier, and some simply won’t survive.

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