I haven’t talked much yet about the Trump phenomena, having been watching with some bemusement. I will now. Here goes:
When The Donald first announced, like most folks I didn’t take him too seriously. He is a serial self-promoter and publicity hound, and in most venues can’t be taken too seriously. A reality-TV buffoon as President? Seriously?
That was then. This is now.
I still estimate his odds of gaining the GOP nomination as one in five, tops. He is leading in the current polls, true; out of a field of 17, and at least as many registered Republicans say they won’t vote for him under any circumstances. Should he gain the nomination, though, his odds of being elected are good, mostly because the Democrats don’t have anyone electable running. The GOP is pitching the strongest bench they have fielded in decades against Her Royal Highness Hillary I, whose email scandal is rapidly revealing her to be either corrupt or incompetent (bear in mind that the two are not mutually exclusive), a nutty old Socialist, a failed governor from a deep blue state who couldn’t get his lieutenant elected, and (possibly) daffy old Uncle Joe Biden.
That’s not the primary role Trump is playing at the moment, though.
Donald Trump is the gigantic, bad-hair bull in the electoral china shop. He’s making a lot of professional politicians very uncomfortable by appealing to a lot of voters who are sick to death of professional politicians. The United States was never meant to be a nation with a permanent political class, but that is precisely what we have in the Imperial City right now.
Further, The Donald is breaking a lot of rules. He showed up for the first GOP primary debate with no preparation, speaking entirely off the cuff – and, objectively, didn’t do so well. But his poll numbers went up. He brings up a lot of subjects the pros don’t want to talk about – deporting every illegal immigrant, for example – and his poll numbers go up. He insults his opponents, insults the press, insults pretty much anyone he pleases – and his poll numbers go up. He is making a lot of professional politicians very uncomfortable by appealing to a lot of voters who are sick to death of political correctness.
Trump may never get the nomination. Then again, he might. The lesson from his performance to date is this: Both Republicans and Democrats underestimate him at their peril. He’s in this to win and doesn’t particularly care who he pisses off in the process, and honestly, that is sort of refreshing.
Besides, professional politicians deserve to be made very uncomfortable – every day, and twice on Sundays. It reminds them who they work for.