A trio of underwhelming candidates are battling for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination. In my new column, “Game Of GOP Thrones: Home,” I break down the parallels between the best quotes from the second episode of Season 6 Game of Thrones (spoiler alert!), “Home,” and the GOP contestants Trump, Cruz, and Kasich.

“For thousands of years the Night’s Watch has held Castle Black against the wildlings.”

The wildings (Trump followers) are storming the gates of Castle Black (the Republican Party), and the conservative establishment is none too pleased. The Republican Party is descending into anarchy. In their disdain of Trump, conservative pundits have come to resemble the man they despise. George Will calls Trump’s followers “invertebrates.” John Hood describes them as “a motley crew of simpletons, bigots, and cynical manipulators.” Indeed, Trump’s legion of “just crawled out from underneath their rocks” followers do not resemble the refined image of right-wing voters held by the think-tank intelligentsia:rock

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“Next time I have an idea like that, punch me in the face.”

Trump’s much-ballyhooed Foreign Policy speech was, as Fareed Zakaria observes, “populist pandering masquerading as strategy.” Trump presented both sides of every story, almost simultaneously (e.g., endorsing enhanced military spending while emphasizing the importance of budgetary restraint to help decrease the national debt). Zakaria astutely compares Trump’s overall philosophy to Andrew Jackson: “It is anti-immigrant and nativist, economically liberal and populist, in foreign policy largely isolationist but if and when engaged abroad militaristic and unilateral. In trade it is protectionist and on all matters deeply suspicious of international alliances and global conventions. Jacksonians are exasperated not so much by enemies but by our allies. They want to abandon the world or utterly dominate it. What is exasperating, in fact, intolerable for them is engaging with the world, working with other countries to achieve incremental progress, manage conflicts and thus solve problems.”

“Right, so there she is, high and mighty Queen Cersei, tits and ass jiggling in the breeze. All of a sudden she looks my way. Gives me a little smile like, “Well?” So, all right, you know, I’ve never been shy and I’m blessed down south, so I put it right out. (laughing) She’s never seen anything like it. I mean, she’s used to her brother and from what I hear, Jaime Lannister’s half an inch shy of an inch. Ooh! She sees it and I swear to the gods she licks her lips. (laughing) Well, you all know me. You know I wouldn’t lie about this.”

 In this election cycle, the high road is indeed the road less travelled….

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“If you acquire a reputation as a mad dog, you’ll be treated as a mad dog. Taken out back and slaughtered for pig feed.”

Ahead of the Indiana GOP Primary on Tuesday, Donald Trump picked up the coveted Bobby Knight endorsement:

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“Ramsay, where is your father? Ramsay. Where is Lord Bolton?”

“I am Lord Bolton.”

“Ramsay. Ramsay, please. I’ll leave Winterfell. I’ll go back to the Riverlands. Please. Ramsay. He’s your brother.”

“I prefer being an only child.”

Ted Cruz continues to refuse to say whether he would support Donald Trump should Trump, as expected, win the Republican nomination. Indeed, Cruz is so far in denial about the futility of his campaign that he has selected Carly “Ms. Robot” Fiorina as his vice-presidential running mate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB5wMs2dJ6A

“When you rule the Iron Islands, you can wage all the peace you want. But for now, shut your mouth and obey or I will make another heir who will.”

John Kasich dropped the ball on many fronts in establishing himself as the GOP Clown Car’s reasonable and moderate alternative. On the debate stage, his most memorable quotes were surprisingly belligerent: “punch Putin in the nose” and “arm the Ukrainians.”

“Everything I believed, the great victory I saw in the flames, all of it was a lie.”

Donald Trump, should he win the Indiana Republican Primary as expected, appears to be “home free” in securing the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination. It looks like things couldn’t have worked out better in the long run for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Steve Benen of the “Maddow Blog” dismissed “Trump is a Democratic plant” conspiracy theories but presciently wrote this back in July of 2015: “If the DNC had scripted the last month or so, the party probably would have come up with a scenario that looks quite a bit like the one we’ve seen. A republican carnival barker would use racially charged, xenophobic rhetoric, which would propel him into the GOP’s top tier, pushing minority communities even further from the Republican Party. All the while, the GOP would find itself on the defensive, and more serious candidates would struggle to gain traction.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXiK9xas7KU