Lay into the drums, fire up the guitars, and let the first riffs of Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song rip across the land. By this time next week, the Republican nominating process could be a smoking ruin. The delegate count says Donald Trump’s marauding hordes are already storming the walls of the Republican castle.
Sure a desperate surge by Ted Cruz might repel the attack. Or maybe twin charges by Marco Rubio in Florida (where he trails Trump) and by John Kasich in Ohio could push the whole fight to a contested convention, where the GOP gray hairs could throw a sack over Trump’s head. But none of that looks likely now.
Instead, the New York billionaire is roaring from state to state, slaying his challengers and dragging their dead campaigns behind like Conan. (The barbarian, not the comedian. Well, okay, maybe both.) The brutal efficiency of his assaults has made the Republican Old Guard look less like worthy foes than a bunch of terrified villagers – cowering at the sound of hooves.
Many Democrats have surveyed the carnage across the aisle with great satisfaction and not a little schadenfreude. Not only have they enjoyed the supreme discomfort of Republican leaders, the situation has also given them something to focus on beyond their own frontrunner’s troubles. Yes, Hillary Clinton still seems to be dispatching the usually polite Bernie Sanders, but she is doing it so slowly even some of her fans are worrying about her ability to match steel with the raging warrior of Fifth Avenue.
And they should worry. Trump is drawing in legions of new voters; battalions of angry folks who can fundamentally change the math of the general election. Remember in 2012, only about 62 percent of the people who could have voted in this country did so. If Trump is the candidate and he keeps tapping into the remaining 38 percent, watch out. The minority vote? Forget it. It matters, but the Dems had that sewed up last time and there is too little room for growth in this cycle. The base? Forget that too. The faithful are already onboard for the Dems. And don’t even mention the polls showing how Trump might lose in the general. Trump has been smashing expectations like pottery.
If this election keeps playing out as it has, the Democratic Party will almost certainly need reinforcements - new blood to carry the fight to a victory. The problem is, right now it looks like Trump is sharpening his sword and aching for the next battle to begin. Cue the Led Zep. Ah ah ah – ah.
(CNN’s Tom Foreman is the author of My Year of Running Dangerously)