Milwaukee Biz Blog: Trump is a nightmare for the GOP

Republican voters looking forward to the end of the Obama administration and dreading the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency should be worried about Donald Trump.

Trump continues to lead most of the polls in the Republican presidential primary, which he has dominated for months.

According to a recent Reuters poll, Trump is supported by 35 percent of potential Republican primary voters. But that means 65 percent of those voters favor some other candidate, or none of them. There are 14 candidates in the GOP primary, which has split the pie of voters into many different pieces. Trump has benefitted from the plethora of candidates. He leads the polls with the largest slice of the GOP pie, despite lacking the support of a majority of Republican voters.

Many voters are understandably frustrated with the failures of the Washington political establishment and worried about terrorism, among other issues. Trump supporters seem to like him as a political outsider that talks tough, and bluntly, and knows how to get stuff done (he’s a developer who can build big buildings).

But Trump’s campaign lacks detailed and well-thought-out ideas (his speeches largely consist of him bragging about the polls).

And worst of all, his most outrageous ideas are just pandering to people’s fears and are in conflict with traditional American ideals and values. Trump compares his plan to block all Muslims from entering the country to FDR’s authorization of the detention of Japanese, German and Italian immigrants during World War II. He compares his plan to deport illegal Mexican immigrants to the Eisenhower administration’s “Operation Wetback.” Trump thinks it’s a good idea to repeat some of America’s mistakes of the past.

Trump’s idea of an unconstitutional religious test to enter the country was met with outrage from both sides of the aisle, but the Republican outrage was especially noteworthy.

“This is not conservatism,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville. “What was proposed (by Trump) is not what this party stands for, and more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for…some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islamic terror are Muslims, the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of whom are peaceful.”

Some critics of Trump say his statements make it look like America is at war with Muslims and actually help ISIS recruit members.

Trump has made outrageous statements throughout his campaign that his supporters love, but that have offended others.

With that approach, how could he possibly attract enough independent voters to be elected? He can’t. It’s possible Trump could win the Republican nomination, but there is no chance he could win the general election.

“Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton’s Christmas gift wrapped up under a tree,” said former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, another Republican presidential candidate. “If he were our nominee…Hillary Clinton will wipe the floor with him.”

When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dropped out of the presidential campaign, he called on other candidates to do the same to clear the field so a credible Republican candidate could take on Trump.

If the Republican presidential field remains crowded and Trump wins the nomination with a plurality but not a majority of votes, it will be a disaster for Republican hopes to take back the White House next fall.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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