President Obama’s comments in his final State of the Union Address and the follow up GOP response by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, came together in a tag-team attack on the two frontrunners in the race for Republican nomination for President of the United States.

Obama fired the first salvo against business mogul Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE and the conservative Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHillicon Valley — Senate panel advances major antitrust bill Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE (R-Texas) when he downplayed the threat of terrorism from radical Islamic jihadists and placed a greater emphasis on references to fear mongering amongst the GOP presidential frontrunners. He pointed out the irresponsible voices galvanizing Americans into an unparalleled universe where we will fall back into tribes who do not share the same background or pray the same. The president’s paradigm of a shifting America simply does not exist when there is a real and present danger of the homeland being struck.


Rather than the traditional criticism of a sitting president by the opposition, Haley segued her launching points following the SOTU by placing Trump and Cruz in the GOP crosshairs when she insinuated angry voices of division are failing to unify the country, and there is a need to turn down the tone. Haley admittedly made it clear the following morning who her sharp attack was against, “Trump is one of them. Trump has contributed to the irresponsible talk” that Obama made citation to.  Not surprisingly, the White House praised the governor for her courage. What a gift to the Democratic Party in the upcoming race for president!

Trump is far from angry. On the stump with tens of thousands in the crowd, he is jovial, entertaining, unpredictable, and not so politically correct in his positions that makes the Republican establishment uncomfortable. Cruz, on the other hand, stands at arm’s length of the crowds with a determined and firm demeanor that you might think you were at a church revival camp, and that makes the Republican establishment uncomfortable. They are both, however, very angry with the direction of the country and they both seek to make America great and dispose of the current establishment in both parties.

Why would the official GOP response join forces with Obama to diminish Trump and Cruz? Well it is quite simple. Cruz and Trump are considered third party candidates that have infiltrated the Party and hijacked it. The GOP establishment is simultaneously fighting to take the White House and must do so by first taking out these two renegades. They are considered outsiders and not part of the club.

If the GOP were to falter in their efforts to take out these two mavericks, it may not matter if the Republican Party occupies the White House. Washington would dramatically change for the Republican establishment. Insiders' cushy posts, bureaucratic careers, and more importantly the elitist foothold that big money donors hold in the Capital, all would be threatened.

Some in the Republican establishment say they are failing under the Cruz and Trump campaigns in broadening their base of voters to independents, visible minorities, and women. It was no surprise that the GOP chose Haley in the rebuttal of the SOTU with her being a woman and an Indian American. While she may have been led astray by party insiders, she now owns this repertoire.

The opposite is true with Trump. With his business background, a television superstar, and a Washington outsider, he has notably attracted potential voters far beyond the Tea Party and Christian Evangelical constituencies to blue collar union workers, independents, veterans, and Democrats who are seeking a president who is not part of the Washington oligarchy that has exercised absolute control in changing the fiber rooted in the American dream and Constitution. Cruz, on the other hand, is holding the conservative base and strategically expanding with those voters not comfortable with Trump.

Even visible minorities, who once believed in the first black president delivering them into prosperity, have lost hope with an emerging divide in race relations. A job and a home trump their past loyalty to a candidate with the same skin color.

Haley and the GOP made a very strategic move that is not without a huge risk. Walking lock and step with Obama and some in the liberal media on the perceived divisiveness spouted by the GOP frontrunners will only serve the Democratic Party nominee when the big PACs replay Haley’s ‘out of touch and angry voices’ sound bites during the general election.      

It would seem imminent that Trump and Cruz will come out on top in Iowa and New Hampshire with a candidate from the GOP establishment running third. It is this third place candidate, whether Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPut partisan politics aside — The Child Tax Credit must be renewed immediately These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE or Jeb Bush, that the GOP establishment will rally behind. They will erect their own immigration wall around Haley’s South Carolina to keep the Republican outsiders from winning the state’s primary.  

It is here in the Palmetto State, where Cruz and Trump will be tested and have to run the GOP gauntlet when the establishment bolsters the South Carolina firewall to defend the party from being hijacked. A modern day civil war battle of Rivers Bridge will see cutthroat and vicious media attacks attempting to outflank and defeat their opponents. Trump will spend his money here and the bombardment of Fort Sumter will commence. In an unwritten treaty, Cruz will utilize Trump’s cover fire to his advantage.   

If Cruz or Trump can muster their way and break through the firewall into the inner sanctum of the GOP, it may be over for the establishment and the big money donors hoping for a return on their investment. As former President Ronald Reagan once told the Soviet Union to tear down the wall in Berlin, the two outsiders will be looking to follow suit by asking the American people to tear down the Republican establishment wall before marching over the depleted Democratic Party and onward to the White House. All bets are off on this episode of Survivor.     

Berdan, based in Detroit, writes on various subjects, and operates a website 'Man of Grit'