I know this will sound crazy. I am fully aware that by uttering these words I risk jeopardizing any credibility that I may have with those of you that follow this space. But in the interest of fairness and honesty I have to tell you what I believe in my heart to be true. So here goes.
Donald Trump is a legitimate candidate for the Republican Party nomination for the office of President of the United States!
There I said it.
I told you it would sound crazy. And I know it is very early in the game. But an honest review of everything that is out there makes it astonishingly clear that Donald Trump is a legitimate candidate for the presidency.
Don’t believe me! Check out Bloomberg Politics’ video of a New Hampshire focus group comprised of 12 Republican and Independent voters. Watch as they explain why they support Trump’s candidacy. I guarantee you will come away stunned. Not because you are watching a bunch of crazies. Quite the opposite. In my opinion these are well spoken, common sense folks who find themselves drawn to Trump the person…not Trump the celebrity billionaire.
“He says it like it is.”
“He speaks the truth.”
“He’s just tough, we need someone tough.”
“He’s like one of us. He may be a millionaire which separates him from everybody else, but besides the money issue he’s still in tune with what everybody is wanting.”
They like that he is not a politician…that he is successful…that he is a tough minded…and that he not only says what he thinks but he doesn’t back down in the face of criticism. They see him as a “Reaganesque” figure who will return class and greatness to the White House and to the country. While that may frighten the hell out of progressives it plays well with conservatives and independents.
If this focus group does not make you a believer then check out any of the recent national pools. Trump is the frontrunner in all of them. And a St. Petersburg Press poll released yesterday has shocked even the most steadfast Trump critic. The poll shows Trump leading all Republican hopefuls in Florida with 26% of the vote. Jeb Bush comes in second with 20% and Marco Rubio fourth at 10%. Beating favorite sons Bush and Rubio in Florida is no joke.
People keep expecting that something will crash the Trump campaign but so far nothing has. In fact every time Trump stumbles or some salacious allegation hits the news wire Trump surges in the polls.
Trumps calls illegal Mexican immigrants criminals and rapist. Trump causes a huge uproar when rips John McCain’s hero status. Trump is accused of sexually assaulting one of his ex-wives. Trump describes a woman using a breast pump as “disgusting.” These are incidents that would end most campaigns; but after each occurrence Trumps rose higher in the polls.
Yes, it is early. So the obvious question is “Can Trump sustain this lead?” Trump's critics say that it’s one thing to talk in generalities and rip your opponents but quite another to have specific ideas on the complex issues we are facing. When the time comes for Trump to be specific he will crash and burn. I’m not so sure.
Most voters are low information voters. They don’t get all up in the weeds on policy. The look at the candidate and they get a gut vibe about the person. They vote on that gut reaction because they don’t really believe the candidate can or will do all the things they promised. They believe Trump can be successful…because he has been.
Depending on the poll…Trump has anywhere from 20-26% of the support of Republican voters. As the field of seventeen hopefuls winnows its way down, the remaining 74-80% of the votes are going to gravitate to someone still in the race. Why not Trump?
I know it sounds crazy…but Trump is legit. If the Washington establishment refuses to recognize his legitimacy they do so at their peril.