How can GOP stop Trump? Just beat him in Iowa and N.H.
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There is good reason for many Republicans to be deeply worried about Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE as the GOP nominee:

  • He could lose 45 states and elect potential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a landslide.
  • He could lose the GOP majority in the U.S. Senate, and cost us dozens of House seats and governorships.
  • He would badly hurt the GOP brand.

And if, by some miracle, he narrowly won, he would be dangerous as president:

  • He has said he'd like to appoint his pro-choice sister, a federal judge in New Jersey, to the Supreme Court.
  • He favors a single-payer healthcare system, to the left of ObamaCare.
  • His tax plan adds $10 trillion to the national debt.
  • He has no understanding of foreign policy or national security.
  • He is flagrantly anti-free trade and would start a trade war with China.

I could go on.

It is true than many major GOP donors are scared to death of Trump as the nominee and want to see him defeated. To date, few, if any, have invested in efforts to highlight Trump's actual record.

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GOP pollster Frank Luntz has said that recent focus groups he has conducted of Trump supporters show that no piece of negative information or new facts can diminish their support for him. Should we despair?

No — we should beat Trump.

Everyone has their favorite candidate for president. And while the early states voting in February will narrow the field, no state is winner-take-all until March 15 (Florida and Ohio). This means that it will be virtually impossible for anyone to lock up the nomination before March 15.

We all desperately want a Trump-free race where the best candidate wins. I believe we can get that still.

February is about survival. The critical choice facing us now is this: How do we make sure Trump doesn't win the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary?

With less than two months before Iowa, it appears clear that only Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz2 Republican senators introduce resolution to label antifa as domestic terrorists Ted Cruz: Trump's chances of winning reelection are '50-50' How to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian energy MORE (R-Texas) is positioned to defeat Trump. He's been surging of late, rising to a statistical tie in one recent Iowa poll, won the endorsement of the state's leading conservative congressman and has a large and strong organization on the ground. It is time for Republicans to unite behind Cruz in Iowa in order to stop Trump.

The New Hampshire primary is a different race. Trump's lead there has been larger than in Iowa and it is an open primary. Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) desperately needs to win New Hampshire, as do Govs. John Kasich (R-Ohio) and Chris Christie (R-N.J.). No two candidates have spent more money in New Hampshire than Bush and Kasich and they are in the mid-single digits. Christie, on the other than, has spent more time in New Hampshire than anyone, with his 50th day in the state yesterday. In addition to securing more than 100 endorsements from political leaders in the state, he also won the endorsement of the influential New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper on Sunday. I suspect that he will rise in New Hampshire and will have a real chance to defeat Trump there.

Supporting Cruz in Iowa and Christie in New Hampshire does not mean that they will automatically be the two finalists.

South Carolina will have a major role, the Nevada caucuses will be important, and the March 1 "SEC primary" — so named for the Southern college football conference — will be hugely significant. There will be time for the final four or five candidates to compete in larger states like Texas, Ohio, Georgia, Florida and Pennsylvania.

If Trump does not win Iowa and New Hampshire, he will not be the nominee. If he wins both, he may be very difficult to stop.

So let's now unite behind the best path to stopping Trump.

Mackowiak is a syndicated columnist; an Austin, Texas-based Republican consultant; and a former Capitol Hill and George W. Bush administration aide.