Baffled by Donald Trump’s persistent lead in the polls, establishment Republicans are scrambling to find arguments with which to stop him. So far they have hit him not from the right but from the left, calling him a heartless nativist, a sexist boor, and a reckless hawk. This has only served to drive him deeper into the arms of conservatives.
Meanwhile, to confuse matters even more, Trump attacks establishment favorites such as Jeb Bush not from the right but from the left, accusing him, for example, of insufficient support for big-government funding of “women’s health issues.” Interpreting that phrase as a euphemism for funding Planned Parenthood-like activities, Bush had said in an interview that he didn’t favor it. Ever since then, Trump has cast it as a campaign-ending gaffe, a criticism one would expect from an MSNBC liberal, not from a conservative Republican. “What he said was unbelievable,” said Trump. “Essentially he said he was not going to fund it. I think that will go down as Jeb Bush’s 47% — the 47% to Romney that probably cost him the election.”