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Blood Sport: GOP Presidential Race Takes Another Brutal Turn As ‘Party Favorites’ Tear Into Trump

Patrick-HenningsenPatrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire

As Baron Rothschild famously said back in the late 18th century, “When there’s blood in the streets, it’s time to buy property.” Too bad then that Donald Trump has to divest all of his holdings and put them in the hands of a blind trust.

On the scale of ugly, last night’s debate was a moon shot even by this election’s sinking standards.

Both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz began their two hour-long sustained attack on the man in the middle, Donald Trump – relentlessly hitting the front-runner with every conceivable ‘gotcha’ factoid and political angle. Trump hit back at Cruz calling him “a liar” and at Rubio calling the Florida Senator “choke artist” in reference to his meltdown at the hands of Chris Christie during the last televised debate.

1-Donald-Trump-Sen.-Marco-Rubio-CNN
WAR: GOP rival Marco Rubio tearing into Donald Trump on an endless range of issues and supposed scandals.

Clearly, CNN was also part of this coordinated attack, as they echoed Wall Street luminary and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, going after Trump about publicly releasing his tax returns. Trump then hit back saying that he’s being audited by the IRS and can’t release his returns in the middle of an audit (which is actually true), and CNN, along with Cruz, kept hammering the issue straight into the post-debate media opportunity where CNN ingénue Chris Cuomo tried (and failed) to channel his inner Tim Russert as he continued the Trump tax probe.

It didn’t end there. Subsequent gang stalking by Rubio and Cruz were powered by the New York Times (who’s adopted a overwhelmingly anti-Trump editorial stance early on), including accusations of fraud over the Trump University civil court case, Trump using Polish building labor in 1980 (the same year that Rubio and Cruz were beginning second grade), and accusations of hypocrisy over Trump’s use of used H-2B Visa applications to import seasonal labor to build in south Florida (that one turned out to be ‘nothing burger’ though. Trump, a seasoned litigator, didn’t seemed too worried about the Trump University case, intimating that ‘the lawyers are taking care of that’, and the Polish builder scandal (come on guys, who doesn’t like Polish builders?) happened 36 years ago.

Forget about airs and graces. This was a vicious battle – a historic new low for American politics. The fact Trump survived the beating was something in itself. If he does make it through this storm, then both Cruz and Rubio will have done The Donald a huge favor – having vetted and exorcised all of his scandals early on during the primary stage, and leaving Hillary and the media with little besides bone to chew on come August.

When today’s morning press came out, exactly as they have throughout this election, all of the mainstream media channels, newspapers and magazine loudly declared Trump’s “debate defeat”, and trumpeted Rubio ‘aggressiveness’. Liberal establishment stalwart The Atlantic declared, “Trump’s Terrible night”, while NBC News ran with the headline that “Rubio and Cruz Hammer Trump”, followed by the Washington Post trumpeting, “Rubio Won Debate, Put Trump on the Defensive.”

Other wishful pundits weighed in, like media mogul Glenn Beck (who is openly backing Ted Cruz and warning his audiences of an end times Armageddon if America doesn’t elect a “true Christian Conservative” in November). Beck was ecstatic after Rubio’s debate performance, especially after this week when Trump gatecrashed a Nevada event where Beck was stumping for Cruz.

This morning, Rubio drew additional fire from the Trump CENTCOM after Rubio claimed that Donald Trump had received $200 million from his father, and said if not for his father’s ‘inheritance’, Trump would be “selling watches in Manhattan.”

This morning Rubio appeared at an outdoor media event where he tore into Trump, calling him a “con artist” and went on the pick apart Trump’s spelling mistakes on Twitter. At this point, you just got the feeling that Rubio has ventured into a new area of media warfare outside of his own sanitized political wheelhouse. As the old saying goes: never wrestle with a pig.

In the end, it was Trump who stole the wind from Rubio’s sails, when early the following morning he appeared on national TV next to firebrand GOP candidate, Chris Christie, garnering a power midstream endorsement from the popular New Jersey governor.

Rubio-Rent-a-Crowd
RENT-A-CROWD? Critics have pointed out that Rubio’s crowds appear as props for the camera, as seen at this morning’s Rubio rally in Texas.

Crowds For Hire?

With so many people disengaged from mainstream politics and from major broadcast media, politicians are said to be turning to PR agencies and “rent-a-crowd” services in order to fill out their camera frames and look more appealing to audiences. More than any other previous presidential election cycle, this 2016 race has seen more accusations of this – leveled mainly at GOP candidates like Jeb Bush – but also towards Marco Rubio. At this morning’s media event, Rubio’s team had hand-picked dozens of youths and immaculately dressed made up crowds – carefully assembled in rows behind and directly below Rubio. Interestingly, the teen models and the gangsters do not cheer with the core crowd positioned between the cameras and Rubio – they simply smile, and many of these people are wearing sunglasses – on an overcast morning in Texas. Even hip hop gangster-looking students wearing color-coordinated red hoodies – many of whom are even too young to vote, appear disinterested, as if they are being paid $40 to stand in a row in the camera frame.

If this is any indication of Rubio’s “New American Century”, then it’s certainly cause for worry. The fact that Rubio stole his campaign slogan from Donald Rumsfeld and John Bolton’s neoconservative pro-war think tank, Project for A New American Century (PNAC) is interesting, and the fact the media have not commented yet on this is highly suspect.

Ironically, it was the brash hawk Donald Trump who took the high ground on the issue of the Middle East. When asked about his commitment to Israel, Trump pointed out that he would not take sides beforehand when brokering any peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and even stated that if he could negotiate a peace deal between the perennial warring neighbors that, “It would be my greatest achievement as US president.” Who can really argue with that? Well, hermanos Cubanos did. Cruz and Rubio were furious at this point, and the reason for this has to be that both of them have received mucho dinero from the Israeli Lobby to maintain a categorically anti-Palestinian stance. Cruz and Rubio adopted a very ugly tone during this exchange, both telegraphing their commitment to the decrepit status quo – meaning that there would be no peace in the Middle East on their watch. Once again, Cruz and Rubio are completely out of touch with what voters really want.

Almost one year ago I said on the SUNDAY WIRE SHOW that the Republican establishment would be looking to hedge its approach to returning to the White House more than they have in past elections – this time going for the mathematical and demographically pragmatic option – which would be Marco Rubio, with Wisconsin’s Scott Walker throwing early innings in the bull pen. Orthodox RNC thinking last spring believed that with Rubio, with less than one term in Senate and no leadership experience, could somehow repeat the ‘Obama effect’ of 2008 and finally usher their party into the 21st century. Things looked very different for Hillary last spring too, where she seemed invincible on the Democrat side as well as in national polling. On paper at least, it seems that Rubio would “tick all the right boxes” for the GOP elite who are presiding over a party in decline and disarray – he’s young (44 years old, although you’d punt him at a decade his junior), and even more importantly he’s Latino, which gives the GOP a shot a pulling in a crucial trilateral voter compliment: Hispanic-American, independents and moderate Democrats. On paper this all makes perfect sense, but running for President in the United States of America isn’t simply a case of what looks logical on paper. Case and point: Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson and, of course, Donald Trump.

Curtains

Mueller Testifies At Senate FBI Oversight HearingIf Cruz loses his home state Texas GOP primary on March 1st, then it’s lights out for the Cruz campaign. Right now Cruz and Trump are in a dead heat, nearly tied in the pre-polling, with Cruz a few points ahead. Ditto for Rubio in his home state Florida’s GOP primary on March 15th. Currently, Trump is burying Rubio by an average of 15+ points in every poll for Florida. Birther issues aside, this has always been the knock against both Rafael Edward ‘Ted’ Cruz (photo, left) and Marco Rubio: just like Barack Obama, they are too young and with no real experience governing, and like Obama, destined to become party functionaries.

Trump supporters will often point out that while their man was building skyscrapers in Manhattan, both Cruz and Rubio were still scraping their knees playing dodge ball in junior high. Putting this into perspective, it’s hard to take a junior politician seriously when they talk about “restoring America”. Like him or hate him, Trump has a long list of achievements and powerful relationships, and has actually created jobs. As much as politicians tell us that their successive administrations have conjured “job creation”, the truth is that Americans no longer believe this lie, and millions now see Donald J. Trump as the antidote to that institutional fib. If you polled Americans today and asked them: would you rather live on government assistance or build your own company and be independently wealthy (?), it’s fairly certain that the overwhelming majority of Americans would choose the latter – even if it meant risking everything. Trump understands this dynamic better than any other candidate because for him, it’s not a theoretical proposition. In essence this is the American Dream, and therein lies the disconnect for both career politicians Rubio and Cruz, and perhaps for Hillary Clinton too, should she face-off against Trump later on.

Despite the mainstream media insistence that Marco Rubio “won” Thursday night’s debate, and  Ted Cruz looked “strong”, it’s fairly clear that both candidates are now relying on negative attacks and cruel swipes, in effect, trying to out-Trump The Donald. If that’s their main strategic directive – and mind you we haven’t even reached super Tuesday yet – then it’s fair to say we are looking at the final desperate lunges of two highly over-inflated political marketing exercises. Their double team might have impressed a few media gatekeepers, but in the end it didn’t make the Cuban pair look presidential. At this stage of the race, looking presidential is important, but when you’re desperately playing catch-up you simply can’t afford to look presidential, according to Rubio and Cruz anyway. Just another example of how short-term logic rules this race.

Meanwhile, the media continue to scratch their heads and quietly panic (think of all the retractions and back pedaling if Trump wins) as Trump continues to win primaries and scoop-up delegates on his way towards a Republican nomination.

Watch Rubio’s somewhat vain attempt at gutter politics this morning in Texas:


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Likewise, the fickle days of the media crucifying and murdering any candidate for saying one word are ancient history, as they did with Democrat front-runner Howard Dean in 2004 when he shrilled, “Yeeeeeaaaaaah!” following his primary win in Iowa that year. Watch the scream that killed Howard Dean:


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Indeed, times have changed. This was demonstrated only last week – as the media sat idle after Hillary Clinton barked like a dog on national TV last week. Why? Maybe the media cannot keep up anymore, or maybe because no one actually cares anymore. American audiences have developed a thick skin for depravity. Reality TV and selfie-style narcissism has melded seamlessly into Shameless, and it’s all gone mainstream, even for Democrats. Watch:


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Beyond Cynicism

It was amusing to watch CNN interrogators, along with Rubio and Cruz, lay into Trump about his lack of specifics on his healthcare plan. Trump stuck to his canned lines, and generalities, and lost no ground with his supporters either. It should also be said voters don’t really care about hearing policy details either, as the population has finally copped on to the fact that candidates will say anything to get elected and that no president will ever make good on his or her campaign promises. Eight years of Obama taught America that lesson once and for all.

Throughout the CNN event, Trump would point out individual corporate lobbyists in the audience from various industries including the pharmaceutical industry. The fact of the matter here is, despite painting themselves as rebels and ‘DC outsiders’, both Rubio and Cruz made it on the stage by taking millions of dollars from various Washington DC lobbies. The same special interests have poured fortunes into Super PACs which are presently funding Cruz and Rubio’s presidential campaigns and paying for all of their million dollar TV ad slots. Trump, on the other hand, is funding his own campaign and is not bought and paid for.

Collectively, between Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, hundreds of millions of dollars have been donated, invested and spent – in order to try and inflate a bloated GOP field – and give lift-off to each one of these political balloons. As it stands now, all of this money will have been spent in vain. The only winners will be the media consultants and PR companies who produced mountains campaign ads and printed material, and also the TV networks, like CNN, FOX and the others, who ran all of those costly political ads.

Towards the end of CNN’s gladiatorial event last night, Trump got the last word, and again, it reflected the public mood and thus will further galvanize his support base. He exclaimed:

“Politicians are all talk, no action – just like these two here (Cruz and Rubio)… Look what’s happening to our country. Trade, vets, common core, Obamacare: I’ll get it done, they won’t, and we will Make America Great Again.”

Once again, it’s not a question of whether voters believe everything he says, or like everything he does. Just as Jimmy Carter was to cure for Nixon’s epic corruption, and the Simple Jack approach of George W. Bush was the beneficiary of Bill Clinton’s shameful antics in the Oval office, and just as Barack Obama was the natural reaction to the nation’s WMD shame and intellectual inadequacy of two terms of George W. Bush – so too is Donald Trump the natural progression following eight years of divisive partisan “lead from behind” community organizer-in-chief politics by Barack Obama.

If Trump does win the nomination in July, then this general election will be one of the most rancorous contests in American history.  The real fun has only just begun.

READ MORE ELECTION NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire 2016 Files

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We are a North American and European-based, grass-roots, independent blog offering geopolitical news and media analysis, working with an array of volunteer contributors who write and help to analyse news and opinion from around the world.
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