Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Harsh Reality that is Donald Trump

The Summer of 2015 is winding down. Beach trips are ending. College students are already back at college, and school children will soon return to school. Labor Day is just around the corner.

It has been two and a half months since Donald Trump declared himself a candidate for President of the United States, and today he has a commanding lead over the field of sixteen other GOP candidates. The chart at the top of this post is the Huffington Post Pollster poll of polls. It includes polls going back as far as 2012. I don't like it--I don't think it is an accurate picture of what is going now in the Republican Party. I would argue that Donald Trump's official entry into the presidential race dramatically changed the character of the GOP race.

Luckily, Pollster has a feature that allows you to customize their poll of polls. Accordingly, to produce the chart below I have made the following changes:

1) I have altered the time frame to June 16, 2015 to the present.
2) I reduced smoothing.
3) I eliminated the individual poll points to produce a cleaner image.

This chart shows the dramatic rise of Donald Trump to a dominant lead in the GOP presidential race. It also shows that Trump's rise hasn't been completely smooth. He has taken hits for his many gaffes, but he has also clearly overcome them and continues to rise in the polls. Trump has survived the early attempts by the GOP and Fox News to stop him and is now in a position to consolidate his lead.

For all this, the majority of the Republican establishment remains deeply in denial. Anyone who visits conservative websites will encounter hopeful posts and comments about what will happen when Trump finally implodes. The problem for the GOP is that Donald Trump is highly unlikely to implode.

The Republican establishment and main stream media have made the mistake of judging Donald Trump by the standards of ordinary professional politicians. Trump has already survived (and thrived) after three gaffes that arguably would have ended any other politician's candidacy. Trump has labeled most Hispanic immigrants as rapists, belittled John McCain's record as a genuine American war hero, and dismissed Megyn Kelly's critique of his documented sexism as a product of her menstrual cycle. Any of these episodes would have been fatal to any other GOP candidate, but Trump has shrugged them all off.

In almost every action-adventure movie there is a scene early in act two where some force or plan is deployed to stop the antagonist or bad guy. Some authority figure confidently asserts that there's nothing to worry about as they deploy a strike force or secret weapon to stop the dinosaurs/bad guys/antagonist. And then the secret weapon or strike force is wiped out and the real hero emerges to defeat the bad guys. The first GOP presidential debate was supposed to be where Trump imploded and Megyn Kelly was the GOP establishment's secret weapon. It didn't work out as planned.

The problem the GOP has is that it is fresh out of heroes. No one is going to step up to defeat Donald Trump, far from it. Instead, the moment is drawing near when the GOP capitulates and tries to find a way to live with Donald Trump as their leader. At this point I think a Trump-Cruz ticket is highly likely as Republicans jostle each other in line to board the band wagon.

Donald Trump is for real and he is here to stay.

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