Donald Trump's "toxic" presidential campaign has pushed the GOP into a "race to the bottom," as the billionaire developer and his fellow Republican candidates hurl insults at each other, Ari Fleischer, former White House spokesman for President George W. Bush, tells Newsmax TV.
"He's making it about too many other things that are negative, none of which are good for the image of the candidates or of the party," Fleischer said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show.
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"I'm afraid that Donald Trump is causing the race toward the bottom and a race toward whoever can say the most outrageous thing to get the most publicity and this is no place for a good party to be.
"Races should be about ideas, policies and this is a toxic mix that Donald Trump has brought into this."
Trump roiled the Republican Party as he launched his presidential bid by suggesting that some Mexican illegal aliens are violent criminals. Then he questioned whether Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran, is really a war hero.
In addition, Trump wondered about Jeb Bush's intelligence and the way he dresses, called Sen. Marco Rubio "weak on immigration," blasted former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as a failure in business and politics, and said of former Sen. Rick Santorum, "I have a big plane. He doesn’t."
Republicans have fired back, with Sen. Lindsey Graham labeling Trump a "jackass," Fiorina saying Trump "doesn’t represent my party," and Rubio charging that the White House already has a president with "no class."
Despite Trump's verbal haymakers, Fleischer, president of Fleischer Sports, believes he has "an intense but small following."
"In an unsettled Republican field … Republican primary voters — and then we've been like this for several election cycles — [have been] increasingly been shopping around, not sure who they want," he said.
"And there's a group that's about 20-25 percent … the anti-establishment wing that wants anybody but the frontrunner who's an establishment frontrunner. Trump's going to find that basic support.
"His problem is he's never going to be able to grow it. He will keep the most intense, most anti-establishment voters with him no matter what, mostly at the expense of [Sens.] Ted Cruz and Rand Paul who are probably the most established, political, anti-establishment figures there are."
But because Trump won't be able to expand that base, he'll never be able to win the primary, according to Fleischer.
Fleischer also said that the campaign of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton could be in trouble with the release of a Quinnipiac poll that shows she trails Republicans in three swing states: Colorado, Iowa and Virginia.
"[It's] highly significant … Hillary's campaign is 100 percent based on inevitability that she'll win because she's the winner. If Democrats start to question whether she can win, it's going to make them increasingly question her honesty and her trustworthiness, which is a big part of the decline," Fleischer said.
"The person most heartened by these three polls is [Vice President] Joe Biden. Joe Biden wants nothing more than to be invited to jump into the race lane to save the Democratic Party from Hillary Clinton."
"If, increasingly, polls come out showing that Hillary can't win the swing states, it's going to cause the Democrats to say 'what are we doing?'"
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