Trump Mystique Would Disappear With Iowa Loss, Bill Kristol Predicts

Saturday, December 26, 2015

This week we asked ABC News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol five questions about Donald Trump, the GOP's current frontrunner for the nomination for president, and the broader 2016 race for the White House. Kristol will appear on the "This Week" roundtable Sunday.

1] You sent a tweet suggesting a new party would have to be started if Donald Trump wins the GOP nomination. Were you serious? Would you leave the Republican party if he does win the nomination?KRISTOL: I was semi-serious. I don't think Trump will be the nominee, so I don't expect it to be an issue. But since I don't think I could support Trump, and I'd like to have someone to vote for, if Trump were to be the nominee, I'd be open to a new party, probably for 2016 only -- but you never know.

2] Would you support Hillary Clinton over Trump if they are the nominees?KRISTOL: No. Thus my talking about a third party or an independent candidacy. I've registered the website cheneycotton2016, just in case -- but neither Dick Cheney nor Tom Cotton has expressed interest. So far.

3] Ok, lay out for me a scenario in which Donald Trump does not win the nomination. Who overtakes him? And when?KRISTOL: Trump loses Iowa, the mystique disappears, he's just another candidate -- though perhaps a formidable one -- and he's beaten by either [Marco] Rubio, [Ted] Cruz or [Chris] Christie.

4] Looking at the polls, Trump does not seem to be penalized by his supporters for making controversial comments. What does that tell you?KRISTOL: For now, they're willing to set a lot aside on behalf of their favorite. I'm not sure that continues forever or even for another month.

5] What do you think is Jeb Bush's calculus at this point? How important is Iowa for his campaign?KRISTOL: Bush may be a little less dead than everyone thinks. He needs to run ahead of Christie and [John] Kasich in Iowa, and then again in New Hampshire. If he can do this, he stays in as the sober, experienced candidate against Trump, Cruz and Rubio.

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