But there are plenty of quality candidates whom one can envision competing for the nomination next year. While the media delight in taking whacks at Jeb Bush, he has only just begun to sharpen his rhetoric. He has the resources to use paid media to tell his own story and change the race’s dynamic, provided he avoids bobbles, steers clear of further staff bickering and focuses attacks on areas where others are weak. His super PAC has gobs of money to begin telling his story. (And truth be told, he’d rather Trump be taking up the oxygen than see a more viable alternatives gain traction.)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who few saw as a real competitor, looks more impressive than many expected. He’s run a smart race as the compassionate conservative and shown in debates he can be disciplined. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has both the political skill and broad appeal to make a run once the field narrows. So long as no one competitor wins all the early primaries, he will likely have the resources to compete once the race turns to winner-take-all races. And finally, Carly Fiorina gets high marks from most everyone with whom we spoke. Almost sheepishly, some will admit that many of the male, professional pols are floundering while the one woman, a political novice, excels in earned media and interviews and on the debate stage.
Moreover, the shoe has yet to drop: At some point, if he doesn’t blow up on his own, candidates and super PACs will drop negative ads portraying Trump, accurately, they say, as a liberal Democrat on a slew of issues. After all, he is erratic on the issues, a fact that issue-oriented activists will readily concede. Let’s remember, this is only August, when a fraction of primary voters are engaged. A full-blown counterattack against Trump is not likely to get underway for several months.