As of September, Donald Trump’s success have more to do with his persona phenomena than his bona-fides as a candidate. He’s proven himself capable of injuring other contenders, but the race to the White House is a marathon, not a sprint. When the “new” factor wears off, we’ll have to see if Trump is more than a grand prank.
Trump’s bid for the White House is something the establishment machine of both parties didn’t see coming and have no clue how to handle. Trump has broken the wall between mass entertainment and levers of power, and they’re freaked out. For better or worse he’s a man the unwashed masses are already emotionally attached to, which bodes ill for political theater built on knee-jerk voters. Should Trump win the primary, he will be unstoppable in the general.
That’s a big if. First Trump has to win the primary, complete with GOP delegate shell games and rigged election processes. The primary voter is a wholly different beast from a general election voter. The average general voter tunes into election news coverage 3 weeks before election day. Sound-bytes and party prejudices form the bulk of his/her decision process; there’s not time to learn anything else.
The primary voter absorbs political news as a lifestyle, not an event. Ignorance and prejudices can influence this voter as well, but local political climate impacts them far more. This is the main reason the Republican National Committee changed the rules for its national convention; crippling legitimate grassroots votes is their 5th food group.
Trump as a candidate is less impressive. Based on stump statements he’s more of a moderate policy-wise. He’s advocated for universal healthcare, but holds a hard-line on illegal immigration. He has plenty to say on domestic financial policy, and that’s great, but primary voters care about moral issues as well. So far he’s also thin on foreign policy, but as waves of Islamic “refugees” crash over Europe, we’ll be hearing more from all candidates on that.
As a businessman he’s played both sides of the aisle. I don’t hold that against him, but there are voters that do. Trump has one ace in the hole; he’s not beholden to the existing D.C. power structure. There’s been debate over whether he’s willing to self-finance his entire campaign. That’s important, because Obama would defund Planned Parenthood before the RNC gives Trump a red cent.
If for no other reason, all non-establishment Republicans should be thanking Donald Trump for wrecking GOP Inc.’s strategy to elect Jeb Bush, using “splitters” to break up the anti-D.C. vote.