But now it appears that the Republican voter base has benched the bench:
Donald Trump, who became the center of attention in the race for the 2016 Republican U.S. presidential nomination with his denunciation of illegal immigrants from Mexico, has vaulted into a virtual dead heat with Jeb Bush atop the field, a Reuters-Ipsos poll released on Saturday showed.Jeb Bush is still one of the front-runners -- as expected, he's the choice of the one-fifth or one-sixth of the GOP electorate who aren't voting out of sheer rage.
Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, had the support of 15.8 percent of respondents in the online poll of self-identified Republicans compared to 16.1 percent for Bush, a former Florida governor.
They were followed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at 9.5 percent, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul at 8.1 percent, surgeon and author Ben Carson at 7.2 percent and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 5.8 percent.
But Trump has pretty much cleared the non-Jeb field.
All those candidates! That rich pool of political promise! Irrelevant now. We know now that on the Democratic side it's a two-candidate race. Well, it looks as if the Republicans also have a two-candidate race.
I suppose Scott Walker (who's in sixth place in this poll) will have a spike when he officially announces his candidacy tomorrow. Or maybe not. Who know what Trump might say or do tomorrow to steal the spotlight?
Maybe the dynamics of the race are going to change between now and the Iowa caucuses (and maybe Scott Walker, who's slipping in national polls, will maintain his Iowa lead). But for now the GOP field looks like a boring legacy candidate with money, a hate-filled eccentric nipping at his heels, and a bunch of also-rans.