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Analysis and perspective about what's happening in the political realm.

Rand Paul Calls Donald Trump an 'Empty Suit'

Sen. Rand Paul's presidential campaign has a new strategy since last Thursday's GOP debate: Go after Donald Trump, and don't let up.

On Monday, Paul went as far as to hold a conference call with reporters for the explicit purpose of trash-talking Trump.

Paul started out talking about how he got his start in politics with the tea party, an antiestablishment wing of the Republican Party aimed at primarying candidates who were not true conservatives. Paul said conservatives should doubt Trump's sincerity, given Trump's past moderate views on issues like health care and abortion.

In an anti-Trump column Paul wrote for IJ Review Sunday night, he sounded completely baffledby Trump's popularity among Republicans:

No conservative in America supports a single-payer government-run healthcare system, and yet around 25 percent of Republicans seem to favor Trump. How can this be possible? How can a quarter of the GOP support a guy who was a Republican, then an Independent, then a Democrat, and then a Republican again?

The stark reality for Paul is that, while Trump continues to surge in the polls, his own campaign is lagging. And while it's still very early—we're...

Are We Nearing the End of Trump?

ATLANTA—After months of insults, bombast, and impressively high polling numbers, celebrity businessman Donald Trump's graphic and sexist attack on a well-liked Fox News anchor will finally bring his presidential campaign tumbling down.

Or… not.

Such is the continuing conundrum that Trump creates for Republicans: an egotist with show-biz instincts and a willingness to spend millions of his own money on a campaign, and who thus far has survived unscathed despite a string of statements that might have proved the undoing of anyone else.

Usually when a candidate has a disastrous run of publicity, the candidate's fundraising dries up, which ends with the candidate dropping out of the race. In the case of Trump, though, only a small fraction of his campaign money has come from actual contributors.

What's more, his big lead—heading into Thursday's first GOP debate in Cleveland, Trump had double the support of his closest Republican rival, winning an average 24 percent support in recent polls—has Republicans pulling their punches. Finally, those Trump supporters are angry not just at Democrats but also the Republican establishment for not voicing their fears and frustrations.

In short, his candidacy has generated little but trouble...

Yes, Donald Trump is a Serious Contender for the GOP Nomination

It’s just a few days until the first debate of the Republican presidential primary season, when the top 10 Republican nominees will duke it out in a televised free-for-all.

Fox News, the host network of Thursday’s debate in Cleveland, will determine the 10 candidates on the stage based on an average of five most recent national polls. And a new Bloomberg poll has found that billionaire and unlikely frontrunner Donald Trump is dominating the pre-debate field.

separate poll from CBS showed Trump with an even bigger lead, at 24%, with Bush trailing behind him at 13% and Walker at 10%.

The Donald Trump Conundrum

August is arriving, and we are entering week six of Donald Trump's rise—first into the double digits, now into first place—in the national polls for the Republican presidential primary race. While there are few if any experienced GOP pros or political reporters who think Trump can actually win the nomination, it's hard to argue with where he is right now. Even after his unfortunate remark questioning the heroism of Sen. John McCain—who was held captive and tortured for five and a half years in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp while Trump cooled his heels stateside on one draft deferment after another (student, then medical)—the bombastic real-estate mogul remains at the head of the Republican pack.

Donald Trump talks to the media during his trip to Laredo, Texas, July 23, 2015. (Matthew Busch/Getty Images)The fact that Trump's very conservative, anti-immigration, militantly anti-establishment, and—most important—angry backers never cared much for the independent and sometimes-moderate McCain helps to explain why the comment had so little effect on the businessman's poll numbers. But the McCain incident also suggests that, while Trump's candidacy is almost certainly destined to fail, he is less...

Crowded Primary Field Is Good News for Republican Voters

The situation in which Republican voters find themselves these days is looking more and more like the experience of someone visiting a Baskin-Robbins. Walking into the ice-cream shop, one is immediately overwhelmed by the choices afforded by 31 flavors, but delight soon sets in. One starts off with a large number of options to consider, narrows it down to a handful, and maybe samples a few before making a final decision.

While GOP apparatchiks are concerned about the consequences of the unprecedented size of the field of contenders, Republican voters are deliriously happy with the large and varied selection of candidates. Particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire, where party activists crave being courted, they are in heaven these days.

There is nothing inherently wrong with starting out with a big field; typically, the Darwinian course of caucuses and primaries ultimately serves to winnow it. That natural-selection process was disrupted in 2012, when a couple of wealthy benefactors kept a few candidates on life support, allowing them to stick around longer than they would have otherwise. There's no question that the extended nomination fight, which dragged well into April, made Mitt Romney's odds even longer than they would have...