'Never Trump' Forces Gather Ahead of CPAC; Bolton Opposition Research Polling Leads the Way

AP Photo/LM Otero

Some RedState readers may have noticed that your text message inboxes have started to receive Trump polls in what should remind you of 2016-era Cambridge Analytica opposition research style messages that are coming in as either please respond YES/NO or go here and take this poll invitations.

Screenshot of opposition research style text message polling questions appearing in January-February 2022 (Credit: Dennis Santiago)

The two messages I received in my phone’s text came from unknown outfits. One called itself CI Polling and the other was a link to something called web-act.co, which traces to a URL registration in Colorado where the ownership information is masked.

Some of that is being paid for by none other than Trump nemesis John Bolton’s Super PAC, which Bolton says has been engaging in research polling and is making announcements on its website that support for Trump is falling.

The John Bolton Super PAC January 19, 2022 press release says,

Washington D.C. – A new national survey conducted by John Bolton Super PAC of likely voters revealed a 14-point drop in Republican Primary voters identifying themselves as “Trump Republicans.” Voters calling themselves “Trump Republicans” fell to 14.6% from 29.4% in September. Trump’s “very favorable” numbers also dropped 11 points with GOP primary voters continuing their decline, down from 55% in September to 44% now.

The poll also revealed a substantial decline in the power of Trump’s endorsement: Republican primary voters “definitely voting” for a Trump endorsed candidate are down to just 12.6%, compared with 28.8% in September, a 16-point drop.

According to lobbyist tracking website opensecrets.com, Bolton’s Super PAC has shown reporting activity for the 2021-2022 reporting cycle with the last summary at the end of 2021 showing about $1 million in available funds.


Bolton recently did an interview with the Foreign Press Association where the first topic he wanted to discuss were the results of his polling asserting that Trump is becoming irrelevant to the GOP.  I watched the interview more because I was interested in Bolton’s thoughts on Ukraine; but, when he mentioned he was paying for polls, the lights went off as to who was at least partially behind the text messages carefully crafted with that “ever so slight doubt about the subject of the question” that is so characteristic of a Cambridge Analytica style crafted outcome poll question.

Donald Trump is a controversial figure in American politics.  Appearing on the scene in 2016, his anti-establishment, break from conventional thinking style resonated with mainstream Americans propelling him to the 45th presidency of the United States.

Acrimonious resistance to Trump began in the Republican Party itself in the establishment wing of the GOP as the DC insiders warily eyed the possibility of a total outsider, who openly shunned their values, coming to power, in their town.

In 2016, the Democrats dismissed the upstart challenger to the cozy inner circle. They had the heir apparent to the throne who could not lose in candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. The assumption proved to be wrong. Trump touched a chord in ordinary Americans that swept the country.

If you’ve ever had the chance to be in DC on an election night, the aura at the bars and watching the returns come in is one of distant curiosity. It doesn’t really change anything for the residents of the castle keep other than changing offices from the Capitol offices to the consulting offices one Metro stop away until the next election.


But Trump was different. Regardless of party affiliation, the 45th presidency upset the status quo of DC’s comfort zone. Trump turned over every ground rule and assumption of the Beltway. It created universal opposition against the Whitehouse paralleled only by DC’s universal acrimony against another President who also defied convention to save the Nation from civil war, Abraham Lincoln.

Looking at things objectively, one could note that the Trump presidency reaction was so great, it enabled outsider Democrats from the far left of that party to raise their stature inside the Beltway. In 2022, Cabinet officials can spend over half of their press conference time on “woke” talking points that would have been unheard of in the days before 2016. The bulls in the China shops set into motion continue in many forms.

Trump’s term ended with a country deeply divided.  But Trump’s presidency also ended with the DC Establishment deeply united. They know their mission is to prevent ordinary America from turning their town inside out again, whatever it takes. They are very afraid that Trump might be like the fictional Lord Voldemort and “come back.”

As the country can plainly see, the Democrat portion of the task of keeping this from happening is to attempt to contain Trump using a “death of a thousand cuts” strategy by endlessly creating investigations and lawsuits that question the integrity of the man.  What they aren’t saying is that what they are really opposing is the legitimacy of the values of ordinary people inside the Beltway.  This is after all 2022 where, if you even think about questioning the party line, you’ll lose your press credentials.


The GOP side of the DC Establishment has its task list too. Chief among these is to prevent Trump’s populist agenda from gaining traction in the GOP platform, lest the 2022 midterm become the start of yet another round of “resistance” by the castle against the outsiders. John Bolton certainly looks to be signed up as a foot soldier for that cause.

So, what does this mean for the wrangling that will take place from February 24-27, 2022, at the CPAC meeting where the first battle between the GOP establishment and the Trump outsiders will ensue? Your guess is as good as mine.

But I’m quite sure the Democrats will be rooting for the DC insiders.


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