Let’s start with a disclaimer: I am not a Trump supporter. On the other hand I am not a Trump hater either. I’ll explain both in more detail later.
Now some facts: Donald Trump is running for President. He is not just running to help Hillary win. He really wants to be President. He believes he would be a good one. He may or may not be correct, but in my opinion he would probably be an improvement over Obama. “Better than Obama” is a really low threshold. Forty-three Presidents were all better than Obama.
Trump is not a partisan. He is running as a Republican because he correctly believes that that gives him his best chance of winning. If you are strongly partisan you do not like Trump. The GOP establishment hates him.
Trump is not an ideologue. He is not a policy wonk either. He does not have any detailed policy ideas. He cares more about results than how we get there.
I believe that Donald Trump is smart, savvy, and generally a nice guy. He is also brash, vain and thin skinned. Nobody is perfect, but most of Trump’s faults are more obvious than usual for a politician. But then Trump is not a politician.
Trump is an unconventional candidate who is running an unconventional campaign. If he tried to run a conventional campaign he would get creamed. His only chance of winning is to break all the “rules” and he wants to win.
This may surprise some of you but not everything that Trump says is 100% accurate. On the other hand the same could be said for every other candidate in the race. He doesn’t mean everything he promises either. He knows it really doesn’t matter anyway.
If Trump loses then nobody will give a shit what he said. Under these unique circumstances he is unlikely to have any coattails. Even if he were to lose to Hillary the GOP will still control Congress.
If Trump wins nobody will give a shit about what he said during the campaign. What they will care about is what he does while he’s in office. Obama broke every promise and still got reelected.
Here is the secret behind Trump’s current success: Most people don’t care about partisanship or policy. They want peace and prosperity and good schools and low crime. They are “outcome oriented”. Trump is promising good outcomes.
Our presidential elections have turned into a reality television show. It’s one big popularity contest. It’s Survivor, and the winner gets to live in the White House. Donald Trump was the star of a hit reality television show.
If you have watched those kind of shows you know that the best contestants don’t always win. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be the last one standing.
By conventional rules Donald Trump is a horrible candidate. So what? He’s winning, and that’s all that matters right now. Donald Trump is focused on winning the GOP nomination. If and when he becomes the nominee he will worry about how to beat Hillary.
The anti-Trump forces claim that Trump is running a racist campaign. That argument might carry more weight if Obama hadn’t relied so heavily on using the race card the past eight years. Anyone the GOP nominates will be accused of racism and sexism.
The irony is that Trump is indeed appealing to populist fears regarding crime, immigration and Islamic terrorism. The Democrats have worked hard for the past 50 years to convince the public that having those kind of fears is ipso facto proof of racism. They were very successful in achieving that goal.
But when people turn on their televisions and see skyrocketing murder rates in our inner cities, racial riots, floods of illegal immigrants and terrorist atrocities, they feel afraid. Those things are very real.
Along comes Donald Trump, and he starts saying what no other politician is willing to say. He addresses those fears directly. He doesn’t tell people they are racists for being afraid. He promises to make things better. He connects to people on an emotional level.
As far as political strategies go, that’s golden. If you win their hearts their brains will follow.