Donald Trump is now tied with Mike Huckabee for first place when Republicans are asked who they support for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, according to a new national poll.
Nineteen percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents questioned in the poll say that as of now, they'd be most likely to support Trump for next year's GOP presidential nomination. Trump says he'll decide by June whether he runs for the White House. An equal amount say they'd back Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate says he'll decide by later this year if he'll make another bid for the White House.
So according to this CNN poll, the two most popular presidential candidates among Republican primary voters at the moment are a guy who hasn't taken any serious steps towards running (until now?), and a megalomaniac who once agreed to shave his preposterous head of hair in a televised publicity stunt, and who was recently roasted by a Jersey Shore cast member. The mind reels.
Even if (when?) most GOP voters abandon their flirtation with Trump, he doesn't sound the least bit interested in taking his Bouffant and heading home:
“I am very conservative,” said Mr. Trump. “The concern is if I don’t win [the GOP primary] will I run as an independent, and I think the answer is probably yes.” Mr. Trump said he thought he “could possibly win as an independent,” adding, “I’m not doing it for any other reason. I like winning.”
As Ace says, this admission of distilled self-interest may be the most candid raison detre for a political campaign ever offered. But as Ace also points out, a Trump vanity run could guarantee President Obama's re-election:
He says if he doesn't win the Republican nomination, he'll gladly divide the anti-Obama vote into two losing minorities and hand the election to the man he says is ruining the country. This is a really horrible threat. With all of the natural advantages of incumbency, the last gift anyone should want to give Barack Hussein Obama is a divided anti-Obama vote.
The only difference between Trump and H. Ross Perot seems to be that Perot was a better businessman. About four minutes into the interview, Kelly Evans hits Trump on his flirtations with bankruptcy over the years. Trump insists that he never filed for bankruptcy, which is true in terms of his personal finances, although Trump came close enough to it. His businesses were another matter. Trump’s Taj Mahal casino had to go through bankruptcy, which cost Trump half of the casino. The Trump Plaza Hotel next went through bankruptcy, which caused him to lose 49% of the hotel and resign from its management. Two years ago, Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for Chapter 11, and in 2008 his Trump International Tower in Chicago defaulted on a $40 million loan. In response, Trump blamed the global economic collapse and tried to have it declared an Act of God to relieve himself of responsibility for the default.
Trump's political -- and personal, for that matter -- appeal is completely lost on me. Genuine question for the gallery: How are we to understand his apparent, if momentary, popularity? Is it his "refreshingly" brutal attacks against his critics? Do people truly believe he'd make a good president? Or is it really all about the birtherism? Politico's Jonathan Martin offers a somewhat palatable alternate explanation:
Nat'l polling = these are the folks i'm seeing dinging Obama on cable tv at the moment.
This is your guy, Trumpites? Really?