Wednesday, February 10, 2016

As Donald Trump Wins, Mainstream G.O.P. Is Left to Muddle On


MANCHESTER, N.H. — Republican leaders had aimed to bring a swift and orderly resolution to the party’s presidential primaries, avoiding a long and costly fight that could stretch well into the spring.

Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary dashed those hopes.

Despite strenuous efforts to overtake Donald J. Trump, none of his mainstream Republican opponents stood out from the pack. Now, they are left to muddle forward with no particular momentum into the next contests, in South Carolina and Nevada.

If any strong alternative to Mr. Trump is to emerge, senior Republicans say, it will most likely come only after a long nomination fight, spanning dozens of states and costing many millions of dollars. At this stage, his most formidable rival appears to be Ted Cruz, the hard-right Texas senator who won last week’s Iowa caucuses, and who is even less acceptable to traditional party leaders than Mr. Trump.

Former Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, who led the Republicans’ campaign committee in the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2006, said there would ultimately be room in the Republican race for just one candidate besides Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz. The New Hampshire outcome, he said, will most likely leave the traditional Republican candidates fighting among themselves. “For the establishment, it’s almost like a hockey fight,” Mr. Reynolds said. “And the gloves are off and the refs can’t get in the middle of it.”

(More here.)


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