Donald Trump has been written off every step of the way, and yet he remains the Republican frontrunner; could he make it to the White House?
Nevada will caucus today on the Republican side. I know this because the nitty gritty of election process is my jam: I follow, discuss, and write about politics. But many people who do none of these things also know about The Silver State’s caucus today, and the reason is simple.
His name is Donald Trump.
I have been open about my drift towards being a political Independent, largely because of the nonsense of Washington D.C., all the pandering and lobbying and hypocrisy. So to all Donald Trump voters, let me say: I get your anger. It stinks being the little people to whom DC makes promises, and then being ignored.
I think this disillusionment goes a long way in explaining the rise of Bernie Sanders, whose nascent prospects looked a long way even from dim. Don’t believe me? Check out his campaign announcement here. There are almost as many cameras as there are actual people.
On both sides, voters are genuinely irate that their politicians don’t listen to them. That is where the similarities between Sanders and Trump end. (Unless you include their shared brash accent. We heart NYC).
But I have started to wonder, with a sense of real dread, if Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. As an Independent, you hope for strong candidates from both parties. And while Hillary Clinton has a freight train of baggage (including pesky questions about her ability to follow the law), and Bernie Sanders would be stalled from passing any semblance of a budget that mirrors his demands (separation of powers: it’s a pain in everyone’s butt, Bernie, but it’s here to stay), at least these two don’t show a deranged penchant for insulting anyone and everyone who wanders into their purview.
People with disabilities.
Immigrants in general.
Had any other candidate showed up to speak at Liberty University, and said something as asinine as “Two Corinthians,” most Evangelicals would have taken that as a pretty big swipe at the seriousness of their faith.
Had any other candidate implied that George W. Bush lied about 9/11, lied about WMDs, called Ted Cruz a p****, etc., that person would not only be out of the race. They would probably have been asked to leave the party.
Trump’s comments about immigrants by now are well-known. Everyone is getting deported.
And Mexico “isn’t sending their best.” In case you hadn’t heard, Trump thinks the majority of those crossing the border aren’t here for work or security; they’re “rapists” and criminals.
Donald Trump’s penchant for spouting nastiness on the fly took a real nosedive when he agreed to a reporter’s question about creating a “registry” of Muslims. Civil liberties be damned.
And Trump’s nastiness hit another low in his open mockery of disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski. Middle school meanness? Let’s bring it back to the presidential suite, everyone!
To top it all off, the sheer volume of Trump’s offensive comments about women leaves no doubt about his… generational inability to get into the 20th century, let alone the 21st.
With all this, a plurality of Republican voters still seem to think Trump’s (assumed!) ability to get the economy going and stick it to the international world are more important than basic adult manners.
It’s been entertaining, and Trump has had a huge assist from the mainstream media. And not just Fox News. MSNBC is under fire for their regular and relentless focus on Donald Trump, giving the reality star millions and millions of dollars in free publicity.
Given all this, it seems unlikely any scandal could derail Trump. His supporters have blinded themselves to the nasty aspects of the man, and are all in on the idea of someone going to DC and burning the capitol and all its incestuous hypocrisy to the ground.
So the question remains: could he actually win in November?
Before you write it off, consider: Trump is increasing turnout everywhere he goes. That means that, like Obama’s first election, people who have never voted are registering and showing up to cast their ballot for him.
If the Democrats run Bernie Sanders, there are enough Democrats (many of my friends included) who not only won’t vote for a Socialist, but will go vote against him. Even if that means voting for Trump.
Of course, there are probably many more people who would happily vote against Trump, no matter who the other name might be.
So I don’t think a Trump victory is plausible or even remotely likely. Especially as Trump Fatigue gets going (everyone will hit a wall of tolerance for the orange face endlessly filling up their TV screen).
But as an Independent, I am a bit horrified to find so much in the Republican frontrunner to give one pause. Two strong candidates? We’ll be lucky to have one.
Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore