Could Trump Win It All?
It's clear that Donald Trump's consistent rise in national opinion polls has shaken the political establishment. He can't win...he's bound to fail...no way will he ever be president. But what if he wins?
It's not impossible. In fact, recent history shows that when voters are sufficiently fed-up with the political class, and have a viable opportunity to make a profound change in political leadership, they do it:
For those now supporting Trump—and they are a minority of a minority as of now—his nascent campaign seems to be acting as the Ventura campaign and the California recall did: providing a mechanism to turn a fever of disaffection into action. And from that sense of possibility, the chance to redefine what political plausibility means, comes an overt, enthusiastic rejection of the “norms” of politics. Does he flaunt his wealth? Then he doesn’t have to suck up to rich, powerful influence-buyers. Does he hurl insults left, right and center? Like the Minnesotan said about Jesse Ventura, “I don’t put up with a lot of stuff, and neither does he.” In fact, most of us have to put with a lot of stuff—from bosses, bureaucrats, family—which makes Trump an object of admiration, for his ability to tell pretty much everyone to go to hell). Does he blatantly contradict his past views? Hell, every politician lies, or tells us what the think we want to hear. He’s smart enough not to take all that stuff seriously. If all of his fellow candidates disowned him, if established conservative voices tried to read him out of the movement, as William Buckley did to the John Birch Society, it would only be proof that they are resistant to an honest outsider. If a modern day equivalent of Joseph Welch asked Trump, as Welch did of Joe McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency?” Trump would likely respond, “I don’t need any lectures from a stuffed shirt wrinkled old geezer!” And his backers would cheer him on.
We have no idea if Mr. Trump will make it to November, 2016. It's entirely possible his campaign will fizzle. But it's also possible it will only get stronger.
Presidential politics have their own mechanics. Momentum is incredibly important. If a candidate starts winning actual votes -- as opposed to polls -- that builds momentum which carries into other states. Attention grows, money and resources start flowing in...and the attacks get sharper.
One thing is already becoming clear: Trump is helping to separate the weaker GOP candidates from the rest of the field.