The elite media will scoff at a potential Donald Trump candidacy for president. They will consider it a publicity move and a bluff. The Washington insiders will write off Trump as completely unqualified to be a presidential candidate, much less president.
And as usual, they will be wrong.
I have no earthly idea if Trump could actually win the GOP nomination or defeat the likes of Hillary Clinton in the general election. Certainly Jeb Bush's decision to "explore" a presidential run makes him the likely candidate of the GOP establishment, cutting Mitt Romney off at the pass. But neither big name politicians nor a dismissive D.C. press corps should dissuade Trump from running for president.
Let me make my case.
First, let's address the "experience" issue. Give me a break. We currently have a president whose political experience includes a relatively short time in his state's legislature and less than a full term in the U.S. Senate. I think the results of the last six years make that "experience we can't believe in."
Prior to that, President Obama taught some college classes and "organized communities." That is nothing to put down, but it's also hardly rough-and-tumble experience.
In Trump's case, "Rough and Tumble" is his middle name. Donald Trump has dealt with the real and sophisticated world for years. He took over his family business, admittedly already a success in the early 1970s. But he grew the company, under a new name and more diverse holdings, into a vastly more substantial entity. And he did that on his own in the roughest of real worlds -- New York and the real estate market.
Of course, today Trump has multiple business interests, the vast majority of which have been wildly successful. Always a hands-on businessman, he has dealt with virtually every aspect of life -- from business negotiations to being, for many years, one of the nation's most visible television personalities.
During his hugely successful career, Trump has dealt with government, including government regulations, public policy and big-name politicians. He is adept at dealing with media and certainly knows how to handle a crisis.
If Barack Obama was considered qualified by a lapdog national media in 2008, then Trump is "uber qualified" in 2016.
The next issue is that of electability. Certainly the "silk pants"-establishment GOP will chuckle over the prospect of a Trump candidacy. But I was around, working with Newt Gingrich and working in a U.S. Senate race in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was portrayed as a reckless nuclear cowboy. He was disdained by the national GOP establishment. But he whipped them all, and without ever changing his "cowboy" style or his conservative message. Suddenly, they all loved him.
Trump probably comes the closest these days to having Reagan's star quality, mixed with conservative beliefs. He has the ability and the willingness, as did Reagan in his breakthrough moment during New Hampshire's 1980 primary campaign, to remind folks that he "paid for this microphone" and will darn well be heard. (Interestingly, and by coincidence, both Trump and Reagan were stars at one time for the same company -- GE.)
Sure, Trump will have to deal with his stand on President Obama's birth certificate, but that will hardly hurt him in more conservative Republican primary states.
Moreover, a Trump candidacy will force the other candidates, most of whom are unsurprisingly the types to offer the usual political ideas, to confront issues that even GOP candidates normally don't have to face in the primary season.
Trump says he is suspicious about the official unemployment numbers. So are many others who just don't say so. He believes our troops should maintain a presence in Iraq, and that America should even consider taking control of the Iraqi oil fields to keep ISIS and other American enemies from getting them first. He wants a tariff on China to end currency manipulation. And he's generally conservative on virtually every tax-and-spend issue.
Sure, his candidacy might be a long shot. But so too was Obama's in 2008. And regardless, Trump would shake up the GOP field and a bunch of stale, complacent D.C. insiders and consultants who need to be told, "You're fired."