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As Trump Rampage Continues, GOP Readies Elephant Gun

Cenk Uygur discusses the upcoming barrage of negative advertising Trump is about to contend with in Iowa and New Hampshire. The question is, will it backfire?

The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur discusses the upcoming barrage of negative advertising Donald Trump is about to contend with in Iowa and New Hampshire. The question is, will it backfire?

As they discussed in the Washington Examiner article Cenk mentions in the segment above, the establishment is panicking and they're ready to go to war with Trump as the reality starts to sink in that he could actually wind up being the Republican nominee for president:

This weekend was an inflection point in the Republican presidential race — a moment in which some significant part of the GOP establishment came out of denial and realized Donald Trump might well become their party's nominee. [...]

That doesn't mean Republicans have made their peace with a Trump victory. On the contrary — some are preparing to do whatever it takes to bring him down. Which could lead to an extraordinary scenario in which GOP stalwarts go to war to destroy their own party's likely nominee.

Over the weekend I talked to a leading conservative who opposes Trump. I asked what would happen if January comes and Trump is still dominating the race. Would he and other conservatives make their peace with Trump's candidacy, or would there be massive resistance?

"Massive resistance," was the answer. "He's not a conservative."

Insiders have watched as Trump defied what many believed were immutable laws of the political universe. First they thought Trump wouldn't run. Then they thought voters wouldn't take a reality-TV star seriously. Then they thought gaffes would kill Trump as they had other candidates. None of that turned out as expected.

But there is one belief Trump has not yet tested, and that is the political insiders' unshakeable faith that negative ads work.

"I don't think Trump can withstand 10,000 points of smart negative in Iowa and New Hampshire," says one veteran Republican strategist who is not affiliated with any campaign. "It would force him to spend money. That's when this starts to get real for him." ("Points" refers to gross ratings points, a way of measuring TV ad buys; 10,000 points would be a really big buy, meaning the average viewer would see an anti-Trump ad many, many times.)


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But as York also discussed in his article, this could backfire:

The other problem is Trump himself. If he decides to spend serious money on his campaign — and some GOP veterans still aren't convinced he will — he can launch a serious counterpunch to any anti-Trump campaign.

And then there is the fact that Trump is improving as a candidate. Just look at Sunday's interview on "Fox News Sunday" in which he was sharp, focused, and forceful. A talented candidate who does something over and over again will get better at it. Trump is better than he was just a month ago, which is not good news for his opponents.

He's also got plenty of people willing to donate money to him, where he won't necessarily be spending his own money to push back against the ads.

Whether it works or not, get ready for the cat fight, and as Cenk said... pass the popcorn. Things are about to get interesting.

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