Super Tuesday 2016 primaries: The states Marco Rubio must win; where Donald Trump reigns

SMU Prof. Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, talks about Donald Trump's Trump's lack of experience in government and his willingness to disparage and humiliate politicians.

By Douglas Perry
The Oregonian/OregonLive

"Can someone please attack me?"

That was retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at Thursday night's Republican presidential debate, hoping for an invitation to get involved in the discussion.

It didn't work. The inclusive preliminaries are over, the voting is underway, and everyone other than Carson is now focused on who will actually end up leading the party. That means almost all of the attention is on the so-called "Big Three" -- businessman Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz -- the candidates who have the best chances of becoming the GOP's standard-bearer.

The "Super Tuesday" contests on March 1 will go a long way toward deciding who will land both the Republican and Democratic nominations . . .

(Trump's opponents are) also pointing out that Trump's lack of experience in government and his willingness — indeed, desire — to disparage and humiliate politicians who don't agree with him will undermine a President Trump. In the long run it's this charge, says Southern Methodist University communications professor Rita Kirk, that could have the greatest impact.

"When Jimmy Carter ran for president, he ran as an outsider," Kirk points out, referring to the former Georgia governor who came into office in 1976 after the Watergate scandal. "And when he got to office, Washington was happy to acknowledge that he was an outsider, that he played by himself a lot, and his first year was hellacious in terms of getting things done. Voters might like Trump's intent in being bombastic, but he'll be challenged this week on, 'Can he deliver?'"

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