The Brief: Trump's Latest Show of Strength in Texas
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The Big Conversation
With GOP frontrunner Donald Trump attracting thousands to a Monday night rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas Republicans increasingly must face this question: Can Trump win in Texas?
Wade Emmert, the chairman of the Dallas County GOP, told the Tribune's Patrick Svitek, "In Texas, before Trump got into the race, we were talking about how Texans were going to decide between Rick Perry,Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and even Rand Paul."
Trump's prolonged popularity, though, is forcing a reassessment, Emmert suggested, to the point where it is "entirely possible he wins the Texas primary, especially if his poll numbers remain high leading up to March 1."
The reasons for Trump's staying power remain to some extent inexplicable, at least using traditional measures of political strength. As Svitek writes, Trump's "political resume is paper-thin, and his past liberal stands have so far failed to dampen his appeal among the GOP primary electorate. While Trump regularly travels to the early voting states and has staff in spades there, the bulk of his campaign so far has been waged on cable TV, which provides the unpredictable businessman with wall-to-wall coverage."
But for the moment, Trump seems immune to these traditional laws of political gravity. Svitek writes:
In Texas, where the March 1 primary carries more weight than usual in the GOP nominating process, Trump's organization appears loose at best and nonexistent at worst. But that may not be a problem with the increasingly national focus of the race, according to Emmert, the chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party.
"Right now the national politics is driving much of the polling in Texas when it comes to these candidates," Emmert said. "The question is, can they win it without the organization in Texas? And I think absolutely they can."