GOP strategists are beginning to get ready for a painful fight for the presidential nomination, with establishment Republicans still insisting that while Donald Trump has continued his stronghold on the national polls, he will not become the Republican candidate.
"In order to get the nomination, you have to get the majority of the votes at the convention," former Republican Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, a closer adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, told CNN
, while not ruling out a Trump nomination.
"The presidential election is not going to be won in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina; it has to be won by a composite of all 50 states."
On Friday, Trump topped another major national poll, earning 36 percent in a CNN/ORC survey
, beating out the nearest candidate, Ted Cruz, by 20 points, and earlier this week, a Quinnipiac University poll
put Trump on top at 27 percent, Marco Rubio at 17 percent, and Ben Carson and Cruz at 16 percent each.
And, CNN notes, the polls come after Trump has balanced between one controversy or another, and amid predictions from both parties that he would not last.
Establishment Republicans are starting to fear a long primary race that lasts past the early voting states of Iowa, where the 2016 caucuses are set for February, and even reaching into the summer months, and believe Trump's hold may wear off as the more voters cast their ballots.
In addition, GOP officials are hesitant to attack Trump, "because he lashes back like ISIS," former Nevada Republican Gov. Robert List told CNN, noting he thinks Trump has just a "small chance" of becoming the nominee.
List also said a Trump victory will cause long-term damages to the Republican Party.
"He's the typical sort of person that historically folks thought of as a typical Republican — wealthy, country club guy who has a strong will and doesn't listen a lot to hard working folks," List said. "I don't think that's the kind of a symbol that we want to put forth."
However, Ward Baker, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee has circulated an internal memo to 2016 GOP Senate candidates, warning them to steer clear of Trump's "more extreme positioning," while at the same time urging them to mimic his outspokenness
in their own campaigns.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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