Some bright, talented, and highly qualified Republicans are thinking about running for president. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts–all current or former governors–are eminently capable. Regardless of whether you like or agree with them, they are worthy of consideration for the Republican nomination.
How demoralizing it must be, then, for them to look at national polling that shows Donald Trump tied for first place for the GOP nomination. According to the new CNN/Opinion Research poll, the New York real estate, hotel, and casino magnate was tied with Huckabee at 17 percent. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ran third with 12 percent; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Romney were fourth with 11 percent each; followed by Rep. Ron Paul (7 percent); Rep. Michele Bachmann (5 percent); Daniels (3 percent); Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum (2 percent each); and Barbour (less than 1 percent). On a separate question, 56 percent said they would like to see Trump run, while 43 percent indicated that they wouldn’t want to see him enter the race.
“It’s downright embarrassing,” confessed one former Republican House member, when apprised of the results. Of course, Trump’s chances of winning the GOP nomination are exceedingly remote, to say the least, and his poll numbers are all about name recognition. Anyone assuming that the reality-show host’s interest in running for president is just another one of his publicity stunts would not likely be wrong. But what does it say about the Republican Party or, for that matter, the American people that this guy gets a second glance? Could a Jersey Shore personality be far behind? Legitimate Republican candidates have to wonder whether they’ll be sharing a stage in the early debates with characters straight out of the bar scene in Star Wars.