A lot of people — hell, just about everyone — have seriously underestimated the Donald. Not only is he not going away, he keeps getting stronger. He’s walking on a wire, forty stories up, and instead of losing his balance he’s becoming more sure footed. And, as the center of attention, he’s loving every minute of it.
He most resembles Silvio Berlusconi, and, unless we’ve become Italians, won’t be elected. Politics is a joke to Italians. They have known for decades that all their politicians are liars, thieves, and scoundrels, so they don’t take them seriously. We’re on the road to Italy, but we’re not there yet.
Any serious political analyst needs to look closely at Trump’s Tribe. No Republican can win without them. While Trump won’t be elected President, if he can convince his Tribe to back the Republican nominee, he will win the election. In a landslide.
Like most people, I assumed the bulk of his support came from Tea Party types, but that’s not true. If you separate Republican poll respondents into five categories, very conservative on one end, and moderate/liberal at the other, Trump has virtually identical support in each quintile. And Nate Cohn thinks Trump may be getting a lot of votes from “irregular voters”, people who sometimes don’t bother to vote.
This, combined with what I’ve learned from my budding acquaintance with my commenters at AT, leads me to believe that Trump is something entirely different from past candidates. Comparing his rise in the polls to the ones experienced four years ago by Bachmann, Perry, Cain and Gingrich is pointless. Trump is different.
He’s not a politician, he’s a celebrity. He’s got a little Elvis in him. He’s not playing by Washington rules, but by Hollywood rules. Hollywood rules are for celebrities. Because they’re famous, people want to know all about them, and are more forgiving of their faults. I don’t know if Trump has made the cover of America’s most influential magazine, People, but he soon will. He’s been at the celebrity business for most of his adult life, and he’s a master, none better.
This is the main thing I’ve learned about the Tribe of Trump: they love the guy. It doesn’t matter what they hear about him, they don’t care. He’s got balls, he tells it like it is, he’s rich and successful, and yes he’s got balls of titanium. A lot of these people swear — swear! — they will not vote for any other Republican. They aren’t upset with the Republican Party. They hate it. They are like a woman scorned. In most cases they’ve swallowed hard and voted for Bush, and McCain, and Romney and they feel seduced and abandoned. They say, never again, and they mean it.
Only Trump can bring them back. If Trump turns his back on the nominee, and refuses to endorse him, it could be fatal. (Forget a third party run. Trump’s candidacy will last until March, at least, which would be too late to do a third party properly.)
I haven’t been keeping track, but I believe Cruz and Kasich are the only two plausible candidates who haven’t criticized the Donald. Maybe it’s no coincidence that Cruz and Kasich are the two smartest guys in the race. Eventually, when Trump exits the stage, he will either do it alone, or in the company of his Tribe. A lot will depend on how he feels he’s been treated. That’s what he says, and there’s no reason not to believe him. It’s like that old Elvis song:
Treat me nice.
I did a piece for AT today, but will submit it tomorrow, and either publish it or link to it on Monday. They may not go for it. It’s a parody of sorts, and they’re really not into that. But, it’s pretty good, so we’ll see. I had this idea for a cartoon, but I can’t draw, so I had to do a word picture. I see the Donald, all decked out like Elvis, on a Harley, doing a wheelie, with a beautiful girl (the GOP) in the back seat, her long legs flying in the air, blonde hair streaming in the wind, as all his rivals watch from the sidelines.
In fact, when I was dating my wife I had a motorcycle, a 350 cc Honda, which is sure as hell no Harley, but I could do wheelies. She’s riding in the back, with a skirt on, and we’re at a stoplight in downtown Walnut Creek, California when I decide to get off the line real fast. I overthrottle, and up the front end goes, up to a 45 degree angle. Babbie’s hanging on for dear life, her bare legs kicking up in the air, her hair flowing.
She didn’t even get mad.