The idea that Donald Trump doesn’t carry any real weight in the electoral process should probably be carted off to the recycling center at this point. It was only four days ago when The Donald made the seemingly offhand comment that he should probably be getting Secret Service protection by now (and would if he wasn’t a Republican) given his frontrunner status. He put the Secret Service “on notice” about their lack of attention to this task, but would anybody pay attention? The answer is a resounding yes. (The Hill)

The Secret Service is extending protection to GOP presidential contenders Donald Trump and Ben Carson, while beefing up Dem front-runner Hillary Clinton’s security, according to a report from Newsmax on Saturday.

Trump and Carson will receive agents as early as next week, with each candidate being assigned approximately two dozen agents. The report cites a source close to the agency’s planning…

Trump’s son, Eric Trump, told Fox News’s “Fox and Friends,” in an interview on Friday that he wished his father had a security detail.

The Secret Service isn’t commenting – as one would expect – but the optics of this are very good for a few people and damaging to others. It’s certainly possible that the agency was getting ready to deploy agents assigned to all the frontrunners anyway as the end of the year approaches. There aren’t enough resources to put a full team on all of the nearly two dozen candidates running from both parties, so focusing on the leaders in the race is the only logical move. Trump and Carson are lapping the field on the GOP side and Clinton already had a detail anyway as a former First Lady. (It’s being beefed up now, though.)

There must be some fuming going on in the campaign offices of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders. The first two still maintain some level of credibility as the establishment favorites, but their poll numbers are really nothing short of a joke when compared to the Trump – Carson juggernaut. This may be the right call logistically for the Secret Service, but a story like this just makes the Florida duo look increasingly irrelevant in the race. The question about Sanders is a bit more complicated. If the GOP rates two candidates with coverage, why not the Democrats? And as I already noted, Clinton isn’t taking up an entire team of new agents… she’s just having some added to expand her team. Bernie is leading in New Hampshire and not that far behind in Iowa. Nationally he’s still a rather distant second, but he’s still in second place. Seems to me that he should rate as highly on the Democrat side as Carson does on the Republican bench, no?

I’d rather avoid dragging political intrigue into every tidbit of news that comes out, but this certainly smacks of something which has the effect – intentional or accidental – of painting Sanders as a sort of sideshow while cementing Hillary’s place as the preordained nominee. Unless the Secret Service plans on releasing their exact policy which led to these decisions you can expect this to pop up on the trail if Sanders is in the mood to do some grousing.

So do these candidates really need protection at this stage? It’s not a crazy idea.

A source told Newsmax that Carson had received a number of threats, calling them “off the charts.”

Carson’s campaign would not confirm or deny reports that he was slated to receive Secret Service protection. The report said that Carson was initially reluctant to accept a detail but relented when he was given intelligence about potential threats.

“It is widely believed ISIS would like to strike a major political target in the U.S.,” the source told Newsmax.

That’s a frightening but wholly realistic concern. ISIS likes to go for individual quick hits with maximum media exposure rather than trying to build an army on the shores of their enemies. What could be more high profile than sneaking a converted believer into a huge rally and taking a shot at someone in line to potentially be the next leader of the free world? Clinton was always going to be a hard target, but somebody like Trump or Carson might be seen as an achievable hit by some crazed Islamist. And the threats are certainly coming in.

Either way, it was time to do this so it’s good to see the Secret Service kicking into action. And it won’t hurt Trump’s media mystique any when it winds up looking like everyone is marching to his orders. First he complains about the CNBC debate format and they change it the next day. Now he criticizes the Secret Service and they leap into action. I’d put down a sizable wager that we hear The Donald bragging about this in his next speech.