Last I checked, Donald Trump was lapping the field in New Hampshire, more than doubling his nearest competitor in the poll of polls. I’ve heard repeated talk about how there’s a “silent base” for Jeb! Bush or how Christie has really started to move the needle, but none of that seems to be showing up in the respected poll numbers. Carson really never caught on there the way he did for a while in Iowa and the only other person who seems able to seriously challenge Trump there is Romney. (I know… I know…)
So things are looking bright and rosy in the Granite State for Trump, right? Well, at least one former GOP power broker isn’t on board with the plan. In fact, he wants The Donald to be forcibly removed from the ballot. (WMUR)
A former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party says Donald Trump should not be on the Republican presidential primary ballot on Feb. 9 because the GOP frontrunner has not proven he is a registered Republican and has expressed views “inconsistent” with the state and national party’s platform and by laws.
Fergus Cullen, who chaired the NHGOP in 2007 and 2008, filed a complaint on Monday with the state Ballot Law Commission, which will take up the matter, along with three other complaints focused on other candidates, beginning Tuesday morning.
In his usual, understated fashion, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski responded by saying that if this move were approved, “Mr. Trump’s supporters would probably riot in the streets of New Hampshire.”
Normally I’d shrug off a comment like that as typical campaign rhetoric, but in this case it’s probably much closer to reality than hyperbole. Just this weekend I had a conversation with one family in Nashua who I’ve gotten to know quite well through my various trips there and I could easily picture them looking around for some pitchforks and torches. These are people who are heavily involved in the state legislature battleground and really have their finger on the pulse of the GOP community up there. I’m here to tell you that they are All Trump All The Time. The most common words I hear associated with the real estate tycoon in these conversations are fight and fighter. The dire nature of the situation with ISIS and the very real and present threat to America posed by radical Islamic terror has people paying attention and they are looking for somebody who is ready to fight. It’s a very H.L. Mencken atmosphere in some quarters of New Hampshire and Trump’s appeal seems to be that he’s the guy who is ready to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
So will Fergus Cullen’s complaint go anywhere? I’m with the other observers who think he’s spitting into the wind on this one. Trump is a resident of New York and appears on the rolls as a registered Republican. That’s really all he needs to do in terms of qualifications, aside from paying the usual fee and turning in his signatures. (Neither of which presented him a problem by all accounts.) The idea that Trump could be disqualified for expressing views inconsistent with the state and national party’s platform is too laughable for serious consideration. First of all, you’d have to find a version of the party’s platform that even a simple majority of registered Republicans around the nation could agree on up and down the line. Good luck with that. And even if we could agree on all the issue positions, what would happen if you found a group of candidates who has the same position on each and every one? What’s the point of even having a primary in that case? Should it just be a beauty pageant? (I’m going to bail on that line of thinking before somebody suggests the idea of John Kasich in a bikini.)
Cullen’s move will be good for a few headlines in New Hampshire, but not much beyond that. And if it changes anything at all it will probably just fire up Trump’s supporters even more and nudge him further up in the polls.