The Republican elites are back with another edition of "Why The Commoners Are Wrong To Vote For Trump."
This round is more of the same of the last round, and the round before that.
Republican strategist Elise Jordan is the latest to declare that voters are voting the wrong way, and that if they really knew what was good for them, they'd pull the lever for someone besides presidential front-runner Republican Donald Trump.
Writing in TIME, Jordan helpfully reminds us that the 2016 presidential election isn't about the economy, or national security, or protecting Western culture. It's not about border security, trade agreements or facing down extremism.
According to Jordan, it's about Roe v. Wade. Yeah, that Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court case that was decided more than four decades ago.
Republican bigwigs know Roe v. Wade well. It's a tried-and-true base-unifier, a boogeyman almost every GOP candidate promises to wipe off the books, until they're in office and they forget about it. It's one of their favorite carrots to dangle in front of religious voters, leading them toward the polls.
If there was an official Republican playbook for whipping up the base into a frenzy, it would read something like this: "Step 1: Start with something folksy, some verbal Americana preferably with a tinge of southern drawl, then say something about 'the gays' and proclaim you're going to end abortion. Step 2: ??? Step 3: Profit."
Trump offended the Republican establishment, yet again, by saying something stupid: he answered a question from MSNBC's Chris Matthews about a hypothetical situation, in some alternate universe where abortion is made illegal again. And in that hypothetical universe, Trump said, “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions.
So really, GOP leaders would have us believe that this election isn't even about Roe v. Wade, per se. It's about legislation in some parallel world, where abortion hypothetically could be illegal again, and how Trump would handle that issue if he were president in that alternate reality. Republican leaders know better than anyone that they're never really going to push to make abortion illegal again. It's too valuable a carrot, just like border security.
So will the abortion issue finally be Trump's undoing, as Jordan and others say it will?
Maybe. But if this election cycle has taught us anything, it's that not one of the many talking heads and political analysts to opine on this race is Nostradamus reincarnated. It's also difficult to see how Trump's abortion comment could sink him when voters haven't been fazed by his "my wife is hotter than yours" Twitter flame-war with Cruz, or the debate performance in which he reassured American voters that his penis is big enough for him to be leader of the free world.
More likely, if Trump's campaign collapses before he gets the nomination, it will be under the weight of every Republican fat cat who's piled on in the past year.
As a December 2015 Politico story notes, Trump's deep unpopularity with women is more likely to hurt him if he's the eventual nominee in a general election. Recent polls by Quinnipiac and CNN showed 67 and 74 percent of women, respectively, have unfavorable views of the loudmouthed candidate.
This summer will mark the anniversary of pundits saying Trump's campaign has worn out its welcome.
He was originally a flash in the pan who would be amusing for about a month before "real" candidates like Jeb Bush would start to get serious. When his campaign picked up steam, pundits conceded the "Summer of Trump," but predicted the real estate mogul's bid would collapse in the fall of 2015. Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went, and the experts predicted the start of primary season would be the Trump campaign's death knell. After all, he didn't have a traditional campaign or the kind of grassroots support a real candidate needs to win.
Wrong, wrong, and wrong.
Trump may be crude, he may say disturbing and ridiculous things, he may have the most unpresidential demeanor of any candidate in history, but so far he's proven impervious to rules that govern other political candidates. Any pundit who declares an end to Trump's campaign must be comfortable with being wrong, because odds are they will be.