Donald Trump's harmful statements are forcing the Republican candidates to become more radical to the detriment of the heads of the party.
For a long time, the Republicans appeared divided in the face of the war machine put in place by Hillary Clinton on the Democrats’ side. As of now, an inside enemy is bringing them together because the rise of Donald Trump, whom no one was taking seriously at first, is reshuffling cards in the Grand Old Party.
Relentless, Uncontrollable, Performer
A relentless and uncontrollable performer, Donald Trump succeeded in re-orienting the Republican debate around himself. His continuous presence in the media constrains 16 other candidates, including favorites like Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, to adjusting their stances to his, particularly in terms of immigration. Not one day goes by without "The Donald" making a new suggestion against undocumented immigrants — he recently suggested that they all be deported and attacked jus soli citizenship as a birthright, a constitutional principle by virtue of which undocumented immigrants' children who were born in the U.S. get American citizenship.
But Trump's provocative statements cause more and more embarrassment to the party both because they are harmful (Republicans need the support of the Latino community, which they could have used in 2012) and because they force the other candidates to become more radical.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who had until now carefully avoided direct confrontation with Donald Trump in order not to damage his presidential image, finally came down to the arena. Married to a Mexican woman and having a fairly moderate stance on immigration, he surprised everyone last week when he used "anchor babies" to refer to American-born children of undocumented immigrants. "Do you have a better term? You give me a better term and I'll use it,” he roared at journalists interrogating him about his language, which was deemed pejorative.
Other candidates have just as much of a hard time resisting it. The other favorite, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also had to explain that his suggestions on immigration were "really close" to Donald Trump's, all the while rejecting the comparison. Of all the Republican candidates, he seems to be the most affected by the rise of Donald Trump – the percentage of Republican voters opposing him has more than doubled since May, according to a Vox Populi poll.
This is a dangerous game because those who have attempted to confront Donald Trump directly got burned. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who insulted him on multiple occasions during a televised debate at the beginning of August, has since declined in the polls. As for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who called his candidacy a "cancer on conservatism,” he renounced his candidacy.