Alternate headline: “Trump rises 10 more points in latest GOP poll.”
I’ll say this much for Jeb answering questions in Spanish. If nothing else, it’s a case of him actually following his strategy of “losing the primary to win the general,” an approach he’s moved away from as the Bush/Trump war has developed. Speaking Spanish to reporters when conservatives are screaming that he’s a pro-amnesty sellout is as clear an example of positioning for the general irrespective of primary dynamics as there is. And if, in spite of everything, he ends up winning the nomination anyway, half the people on the right who are knocking him for doing so right now will give him a pass on it in the general in the name of trying to win over Latinos.
“It’s got to be difficult,” said one Bush ally to the NYT. “Donald Trump epitomizes everything that Jeb has spent his political career trying to prevent the Republican Party from becoming.”
“I like Jeb,” Trump said. “He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”…
Trump also fired back at Rubio for aiming to undercut his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The campaign slogan was used by Ronald Reagan in the 1980 campaign for the White House alongside George H.W. Bush, Jeb’s father…
“If Marco thinks that the country is great now, he’ll never be elected president because it’s not what it was and it’s not great enough—and we will make the country great again,” Trump said. “But if Marco is satisfied—I like Marco, but that means he’s satisfied. You can’t be satisfied [with where the country is now]. You have to use the word ‘again.’ It’s very important, because if he’s saying that then that means there’s no room for improvement. That means he’s satisfied, that means he’s unelectable.”
He went on to call Rubio “Jeb’s plebe.” Meanwhile, here’s the racial split in Trump’s favorables per the latest WaPo poll:
Bush does worse with whites (39/55) but noticeably better with blacks (28/65) and Latinos (43/46). That makes him the better general election candidate, right? Well, depends on how you look at it. Realistically, in the near term, Republicans have already reached their floor with Latinos in the sense that there are no more states with high Latino populations that can be lost. If you’re a fatalist about that and think the GOP has a better chance of winning by consolidating the white vote, Trump’s your guy. If you’re not a fatalist and think there’s room for growth with Latinos (especially in Florida, where the Democratic edge is small), then maybe you want Jeb or Rubio or whoever out there next summer. Although, either way, it doesn’t answer Trump’s question: Why not set an example by speaking English and encouraging others to do so?
Elsewhere in the Bush/Trump war, Jeb’s latest gambit is to accuse Trump of being, uh, a germaphobe. Not only is that a weird line of attack, it’s doubly weird for being included on an otherwise smart list of Trump’s sins against conservatism on Bush’s website. Do you want a candidate who’s pro-life, asks Team Jeb, or one who once described himself as “very pro-choice”? One who was supported by the NRA or one who backed an assault-weapons ban? One who opposed the stimulus or one who supported it? One who shakes hands or one with a germ phobia?
Trump has admitted that he hates shaking hands because of how easy it is to transfer germs that way, but … so what? Is there a hidden segment of the electorate that really, really dislikes politicians who refuse to mindlessly press the flesh for hours on end? I’m intrigued because this question reeks of something that Jeb’s pollster discovered in surveying the public to try to find effective lines of attack against Trump, but I can’t believe it matters to anyone. And I can’t believe it’s Jeb, who’s derided as a creature of the elite, that’s trying to score this point on Trump, a guy who’s built a populist mania around him without handshakes. What am I missing here?
Exit question: Here’s how Hillary’s campaign is celebrating the Bush/Trump war. We really can’t do better than these two?
— The Briefing (@TheBriefing2016) September 1, 2015