Amid rising controversy and even violent protests, U.S. Republican Party (GOP) front-runner Donald Trump’s campaign is starting to gain endorsements from the party’s rising stars as his nomination is becoming more and more likely.
On Friday, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, the only African American Republican candidate who dropped out of the race just last week, endorsed Trump. While many were surprised at his endorsement of Trump, the mild-mannered Carson said that Trump has “a contemplative side apart from his public braggadocio.”
The endorsement came just a day after Trump suggested in a speech that members of the party’s establishment wing are beginning to rally around him. It also came on the heels of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s endorsement.
Christie, who in summer was considered a strong contender for the nomination before he dropped out of the race recently, said he would “lend (his) support between now and November in any way for Donald.”
“I’ve been on that stage. I’ve gotten to know all the people on that stage. And there is no one better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership that it needs both at home and around the world than Donald Trump,” Christie said last month in a speech announcing his endorsement.
These developments came amid Republican attacks on Trump, as the New York mogul has raised hackles among members of the Republican establishment, many of whom do not want to see an outsider such as Trump gain the nomination and represent their party.
Republican establishment candidates fret over the possibility of Trump becoming a nominee or even a president, as party leaders would lose their clout and influence as Trump appeals to Americans’ sense of being fed up with what they see as the Washington elite.
Last week saw 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney pile on criticism against Trump. Romney hammered Trump on a number of issues, saying the bombastic businessman is a “phony” in a speech at the University of Utah.
But as the brash billionaire speeds through the Republican primary contests with the force of a freight train, some of the party’s rising stars are beginning to recognize the very real possibility of a Trump nomination, and are getting on the Trump bandwagon.
Meanwhile, violent clashes between Trump supporters and protesters forced him to cancel a campaign rally in Chicago Friday. Other candidates from both the Republican and Democratic fields were quick to condemn the increasing violence at Trump’s rallies and held Trump responsible for it.
Trump, who has never been shy away from attacking women, African-Americans, Muslims and even fellow candidates, has been widely criticized for dividing the party and the whole nation with his inciting or insulting remarks.
But U.S. analysts said that despite attacks from the GOP establishment, Trump’s support in the party will grow as he inches closer and closer toward clinching the nomination.
“More Republicans will endorse Trump as it becomes apparent he is the GOP nominee. A couple of wins next week in winner-take-all states will make it clear he is the party choice,” Brookings Institution’s senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.
Indeed, despite the split within the party, the old adage that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ may well ring true in the months to come.
“Hatred of Hillary Clinton will help unite Republicans behind Trump,” West said, referring to likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a candidate that the GOP wants to stop at all costs.
“As voters realize the choice is Clinton versus Trump, establishment attacks will fade. Republicans will not want to concede the presidency to Clinton without a fight against her,” West said.
Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, told Xinhua that the Republicans will eventually fall in line.
“Parties like winners and if he scores big victories in Florida and Ohio, and maybe another, they will want to be behind the candidate who can win the nomination,” he said, referring to the winner-take-all contests next week. Enditem