Trump Continues to Lead Republican Field Despite Controversy

无惧争议,川普在共和党中仍一马当先
FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to reporters after the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Aug. 6, 2015.

VOA News Jim Malone,August 12, 2015

Billionaire Donald Trump may have taken some hits in last week’s Republican presidential debate, but so far it doesn’t appear to be hurting him in the polls.

The latest Reuters-Ipsos national poll found Trump holding steady at the top of the Republican field with 24 percent, followed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 12 percent.  Bush was at 17 percent before the debate.  No one else garnered more than 8 percent support in the online survey, which was conducted between the end of the debate last Thursday and Sunday.

Two new polls in the early contest state of Iowa also show Trump now surging into a lead over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who had been leading in Iowa for months.  A Suffolk University survey found Trump at 17 percent, followed by Walker with 12 percent.  A Public Policy poll also found Trump leading with 19 percent, followed by Walker at 12 percent and Bush in third place with 11 percent.

Third-party option

Trump appeared Tuesday on Fox News Channel for the first time since last week’s debate and again raised the specter of a third-party effort should he not win the Republican nomination.  “I want to run as a Republican, but I do want to keep that door open in case I don’t get treated fairly,” Trump said on “Fox and Friends.”

Previously, Trump criticized one of the Fox debate hosts, Megyn Kelly, who asked him about past offensive comments he has made about women.  After the debate, Trump told CNN that he thought Kelly was angry about their exchange during the debate and said she had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”  That comment sparked a furious backlash against Trump, and he spent several days trying to explain what he meant.  Trump was disinvited from the grass-roots conservative Red State gathering held right after the Cleveland debate.

On her Fox show Monday night, Kelly said she felt her question to Trump about his comments concerning women was a “tough but fair question.”  She added, “I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism.”
 
Rivals careful

The reaction among Trump’s Republican rivals to his debate comments and penchant for attacking critics remains mixed.  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said in a conference call with reporters that Trump is “an empty suit here, full of bravado.”  

“Unless someone points out the emperor has no clothes,” Paul went on, “we’ll end up with a reality TV star as the nominee if we’re not careful.”  

Paul was one of the few Republicans on the debate stage in Cleveland to go after Trump after the latter refused to pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee or rule out a third-party bid.

Bush has said Trump’s language is “divisive,” and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said Trump’s comments about Kelly were “completely inappropriate and offensive.” Walker and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, another GOP presidential candidate, have also criticized Trump.

But several other candidates have steered clear of taking critical shots, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich, who said in the debate that Trump had “touched a nerve” with his blunt-spoken campaign.  Cruz in particular has been careful not to criticize Trump, perhaps in hopes of eventually winning over Trump supporters to his campaign if and when Trump stumbles.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton also weighed in on the Trump controversy during a rare media availability with reporters in New Hampshire.

“I know it makes great TV, but I think the guy went way overboard, outrageous, pick your adjective,” she said Monday.

Clinton said she attended Trump’s 2005 wedding because she thought it would be “fun” and “entertaining.”  She added, “Now that he’s running for president, it’s a little more troubling.”

Trouble for Trump?

Trump’s refusal to pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee may have sown some doubts about his loyalty among party activists.

“His refusal to play by party rules is a long-term problem for him,” said National Journal's Hotline Executive Editor Josh Kraushaar.  “Trump said [in the debate] that he won’t be a team player, and he did not provide any policy answers.  It’s an open question as to whether he can keep it going.”

Trump remains an unpredictable force in the Republican field at the moment, but in the long run he may do the party some good.  Last week’s debate drew 24 million viewers, a record for a primary debate, and voters got a good look at some other plausible nominees including Rubio, Kasich and Fiorina. The former CEO performed well in the earlier debate for the seven contenders who did not qualify for the top 10 debate in prime time.

That exposure could pay off down the road if, as many experts predict, Trump eventually implodes.  But there is no sign of that happening yet, and Trump has maintained his lead in the polls even after slamming illegal immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists” and criticizing Senator John McCain’s war record.  

“There is a long way to go,” said Hotline's Kraushaar.  “We have eight more debates and many months to go, and at the moment it remains a very unsettled Republican field.”

The intense focus on Trump is already taking a toll on the rest of the Republican field.  Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had hoped the debate would rekindle their campaigns, but they were both overshadowed during the debate by Trump.

Meanwhile, former Texas Governor Rick Perry has stopped paying campaign staffers as he struggles in the polls and in fundraising.  Perry was one of the seven Republican contenders relegated to the so-called undercard debate last week.

无惧争议,川普在共和党中仍一马当先

美国之音马隆,2015年8月12日

亿万富翁川普可能已经在上周的共和党总统候选人辩论中受到了一些打击,但到目前为止,它似乎并没有伤害他的民调数据。最新的路透-益普索全国民意调查发现,川普稳居共和党阵营首位,获得24%的支持率。其次是前佛州州长杰布·布什的12%。布什的民调在辩论前是17%。没有其他候选人在上周四到周日的辩论结束之间进行的在线调查中取得超过8%的支持率。

在最早开始竞选的爱荷华州的两个最新民调也显示,现在川普迅猛赶超威斯康星州州长斯科特·沃克,后者在爱荷华州已领先数月。萨福克大学的调查发现川普的支持率是17%,其次是沃克的12%。另一项公共政策的民调显示川普以19%领先,接着是沃克的12%,前佛州州长杰布·布什以11%排在第三。

以第三方参选仍然是选项

川普自上周辩论结束后周二首次出现在福克斯新闻频道,他再次提出了,如果不能赢得共和党提名就会以第三方参加竞选的可能性。“我想作为一名共和党人参加竞选,但我想保持这扇大门敞开,如果我没有得到公平对待的话。”川普在“福克斯和朋友”节目上说。

此前,川普批评了福克斯辩论主持人麦金·凯利,后者在辩论中问及他过去对女性的攻击性评论。辩论后川普告诉CNN说,他认为凯利在与他的交锋中非常愤怒,并说凯利“眼睛在喷火,浑身上下都在喷火”。这样的评论引发了许多人对川普激烈的反弹,他花了数天试图解释他的意思。紧接着在基层保守派举行的“红州”聚会中,川普的邀请被撤销。

凯莉在周一晚上的福克斯秀中说,她觉得她问川普关于妇女的问题是一个“尖锐但公平的问题。”她还说:“我当然不会为做得好的新闻而道歉。”

川普的对手谨慎行事

川普的共和党对手对他在辩论中的言辞以及他喜欢攻击性批判的偏好反应复杂。肯塔基州参议员兰德·保罗告诉在一个记者参加的电话会议上说,川普是“内在空空,虚张声势。”“除非有人指出皇帝没穿衣服,”保罗接着说,“如果我们不仔细一点的话,将会最终选择一个真人秀明星来被提名。”

在川普拒绝承诺支持最终共和党总统候选人和放弃作为第三方参选后,保罗是少数几个在克利夫兰对他穷追猛打的角逐者之一。

杰布·布什曾表示,川普的语言是“分裂性”的,前惠普CEO卡莉·菲奥莉娜说,川普对凯利的评论是“完全不适当的和冒犯的。”威斯康星州州长斯科特·沃克和另一共和党总统候选人前阿肯色州州长迈克·赫卡比也纷纷批评川普。

但其他几个候选人迄今避免采取抨击行动。包括德克萨斯州参议员泰德·克鲁兹、佛罗里达州参议员马克·卢比奥和俄亥俄州州长约翰·卡西奇。卡西奇曾在辩论中称川普用他生硬的竞选语言“触动了一根神经”。克鲁兹刻意的小心的避免批评川普,也许是为了最终如果川普出局后赢得川普的支持者。

民主党候选人希拉里·克林顿也在新罕布什尔州对记者说,川普的争议言论推波助澜。 “我知道这对收视率来说很好,但是我觉得他出格了。注意你的用词。”克林顿说她参加了川普2005年的婚礼,因为她觉得那将会“很好玩”和“有娱乐性,可是现在他是在竞选总统,这就有点麻烦了。”

川普竞选前景中的乌云

川普拒绝承诺支持最终共和党总统候选人的态度,可能已引起党内活动家对他忠诚度的疑虑。 “他拒绝按党的游戏规则行事对他来说是个长期的问题,”《国家杂志热线》的执行编辑乔希·克劳沙说。“川普说,(在辩论中),他将不会跟别人组团,也没有提供任何政策答案。他是否能保持下去,这是一个悬而未决的问题。”

在此刻,川普仍然是共和党阵营中一个不可预测的力量,但是从长远来看,他可能会对党有一点帮助。上周的辩论吸引了2400万观众,创下了初选辩论的记录。选民们仔细观察了一些其他表现抢眼的被提名人,包括马可·卢比奥,约翰·卡西奇和卡莉·菲奥莉娜——她在辩论之前的黄金时段举行的7个未进入前十的候选人辩论中表现很好。

这样的表现可能终将有回报,如果最终川普像许多专家预测的那样崩溃的话。但是,目前尚未有迹象显示这会发生,甚至是在他抨击非法移民为“罪犯”和“强奸犯”,批评参议员约翰·麦凯恩的服役纪录之后,川普依然保持民调领先地位。“还有很长的路要走,”《热线》的编辑克劳沙说。 “我们还有超过8场辩论和数月时间,而目前共和党阵营仍未尘埃落定。”

对川普的过分聚焦已经对共和党的其他人造成了损失。兰德·保罗和新泽西州州长克里斯·克里斯蒂曾希望辩论能重燃他们的选战之火,但他们在辩论中都因川普的声势而黯然失色。