I don’t know whom I will end up supporting next year, but I do like Donald Trump.
I like his books. I like his personality. I appreciate all of the things he's done right in this campaign.
If you applied the old "Who would you like to have a beer with?” test that has probably determined far more elections than most Americans want to admit, Trump would beat everyone in the field combined twice over. In a time when the Republican Party has become timid, weak and utterly corrupt, Trump is bold, strong and he has enough money that he can't be bought off. Also, unlike most other Republican politicians, he doesn't turn into a pool of whimpering jello every time someone claims to be offended. His immigration plan? It may be the single best thing a Republican politician has come out with in the last decade. Also, in a time when most of the Republican Party isn't willing to fight anyone except for its own supporters and won't fight for anything except what its wealthy donors want, Trump has shown a willingness to take on the Left and win.
Yet and still, I never expected Trump to make it into first place. Then, after he made it into first place, I never expected him to hang on for so long. He has already taken enough hits and made enough gaffes to kill 5 other campaigns, but Trump has done so much right that the things he's done wrong haven't done much damage. If anything, Trump seems to be getting STRONGER.
This has been reflected in the types of discussions you hear about Trump on the radio. In every radio appearance I’ve done in the last couple of months, we’ve inevitably spent at least half of our time talking about Trump. At first, the question that kept coming up was, “Why are people supporting him?” Then it moved on to some variation of, “How long do you think Trump can last?” Now that Trump has shown some staying power, the question has become, “Will Trump win the nomination?”
I don’t know the answer to that question and anyone who tells you definitively that Trump is going to win or is going to go down in flames is full of it. However, I can make some educated guesses about what could stop the guy who’s dominating the field from winning.
1) How Conservative Will He Turn Out To Be? Trump has no problem admitting that he used to have much more liberal opinions, but he says he’s “evolved” to become much more conservative, much the same way Reagan did. Of course, Reagan “evolved” as a very conservative politician who had a chance to show what he really believed as the governor of California. Because Trump hasn’t held office and tends to talk in very broad strokes, we really don’t know how conservative he will turn out to be on many issues. Over the next few months, Trump will be forced to spend a lot of time fleshing out his positions and if it turns out he’s well to the Left of the base on some of them, it could peel off enough support to cost him the nomination.
2) He Could Top Out: This is one you hear a lot from political insiders. Supposedly, if it turns into a two man race, with Trump vs. an “anti-Trump” candidate, his support may top out and he’ll be unable to win.However, that may be wishful thinking. After all, in the latest Quinnipiac poll, Trump is polling at 28% while the other “outsider” candidates (Carson, Cruz, Fiorina) draw in another 24%. Trump would have a better shot than anyone of reeling in those voters if those candidates left the race. Combine that with the fact that the RNC heavily frontloaded the primaries and that Republican voters LOVE to jump on the bandwagon of the campaign that they think will win and there’s not much reason to believe that Trump could start extremely strong, but wouldn’t be able to gather enough support to emerge victorious. If Trump dominates in the beginning, it’s highly likely that he’ll be dominating in the end as well.
3) Mistakes Pile Up: Donald Trump has shown a remarkable ability (for a Republican at least) to survive gaffes that would wipe out a lesser candidate. There were his comments about McCain, the fight with Fox over the debate, retweeting some nasty shots at Megyn Kelly and probably a half dozen other minor incidents for him that would have done serious damage to another candidate. Although it’s possible Trump could make a major gaffe that will sink him, an accumulation of mistakes could be just as lethal. It’s sort of like a car. You expect a mechanical problem now and then, but if you have to take it in for repairs every few weeks, you’ll eventually conclude it’s a lemon and go get a new one.
4) If he Has Bad Polling Numbers Against The Democrats In 2016: Head-to-Head polling numbers in August of 2015 don’t mean much. After all, there haven’t been any ads yet, the voters are just learning the candidates and the debates are just getting started. However, later in the campaign season, in say January of 2016, how the different GOP candidates match up with the Democrats will take on more significance. While a minor difference in numbers shouldn’t sway anyone, if it turns out Trump is getting buried while other candidates are doing well, it will move votes. At the end of the day, it’s not just about beating the Republican Establishment; it’s about putting someone in the White House who can change things.
5) He May Be Reluctant To Spend Money: According to Ed Rollins, who ran Ross Perot’s run at the White House, one of the things that kept the campaign from really taking off was Perot’s refusal to spend the money he needed to get over the top.It might seem surprising that a billionaire like Perot wouldn’t be willing to spend what it took to win, but billionaires get that rich by accumulating money, not by spending it on things that will never produce a financial return on their investment. There are at least some indications that Trump may be reluctant to spend what it takes to win as well,
While Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton boasts an army of more than 350 paid staffers, Trump's operation fields less than a tenth that number.
It includes a coterie of about a dozen paid staffers operating out of the campaign headquarters at Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue — the same building where Trump lives and runs his real estate empire.
His team has no pollster, fundraisers or media consultant and only announced its first fulltime, big-name policy adviser this week.
Becoming the next President of the United States is probably going to cost somewhere between 2.5 and 5 billion dollars. Can even Trump liquidate enough of his empire to shell out that much? More importantly, would he be willing to do it? The jury’s out right now, but as we get closer to the first primaries, we’re going to see if Trump is really willing to vaporize a large chunk of his own fortune to become the next President of the United States.
6) Opposition Research Could Be A Problem: Because Donald Trump has never run for office, he has not been fully vetted. In his case, that’s an area of particular concern because he’s a celebrity, playboy billionaire on his third marriage who has no qualms about saying outrageous things. As we speak, every book he’s written and every public appearance he’s ever made is being scrutinized. People who hate Trump’s guts are being interviewed, rumors are being chased down and whatever is found will be put into ads by Super PACS that will spend millions to saturate the airwaves. What will they come up with? Well, as Donald Rumsfeld might say, that is one of the, “unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”
Whatever happens with Trump, I’m grateful to him for his immigration plan, for hammering Jeb Bush into the ground and for shaking things up in a Republican Party that has grown stagnant and unresponsive to the people that have put the GOP in office. Whether he wins or loses in the end, as long as Trump’s involved, it will probably be one Hell of a show!