Consider: Despite being the front-runner, Trump has almost entirely avoided attack ads against him, from both rival campaigns and outside groups. Outside GOP organizations have shown little interest in organizing against a candidate they all view as unelectable against Hillary Clinton. Candidates are so focused on their short-term interests that they’re neglecting the bigger picture for the party. If Trump wins Iowa and New Hampshire—blowing up the theory that his support will dissipate as voting nears—any efforts to blunt his appeal will be too little, too late.
“Running Cochran’s campaign gave me a different perspective than some—and helped me understand Trump as soon as it was apparent he was connecting with voters,” said Barbour. “I’ve seen this movie before.” Except this time, no one is playing Barbour’s role as the captain steering the party ship away from danger.