Donald Trump, somehow, some way, has the lead right now in the Republican Party presidential nomination polls. Which means about as much as being the favorite to win the football game weeks out before the big game. The scoreboard hasn’t been turned on; the teams aren’t in the stadium. Heck, there are other games to play before you get to the big one.
Any case, Trump is in the lead. Why?
Is it the media attention? Sure, the scads of media attention is a factor. The Donald speaks, and the media is there to broadcast it live to the nation, then break it down with various experts for hours thereafter. Other candidates are forced to respond to whatever The Combover has to say, and otherwise fend for the scraps of media attention that are left.
Give Trump credit for knowing how to play the media game. This is how you bluster your way back from four bankruptcies into being able to say with a straight face that you’re where you are because you perfected The Art of the Deal.
Is it that the Republican base is that batsh-t crazy? This is a factor as well, not the biggest one, but a factor. Keep in mind that the big lead for Trump has him in the area of 20 percent in a crowded field of 17 GOP candidates. Which is saying, it ain’t exactly like he’s Hillary Clinton or anything. He has the support of a portion of the batsh-t crazies in the Republican Party. He could actually be doing better if he could just get them all to coalesce around his candidacy. The batsh-t crazy subset of the GOP base is about 35 percent of that overall electorate.
Is it that none of the other candidates has been able to get any momentum? This is the biggest factor in the here and now. Eventually, someone from among the grouping of Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, maybe Rand Paul, becomes the go-to guy for mainstream Republicans, But it’s going to take a while before we get there, and until we get there, those guys are going to divide up that portion of the voting base.
Trump is filling a vacuum in the meantime, sucking the air out of the room as the rest of the field focuses on the little, but important, things like raising money, building campaign organizations in key states and laying the foundation for the long haul
None of which concerns Trump, who is clearly not in this race to actually win anything other than a popularity contest, ironic as it is to say that, considering that he’d lose to little-s socialist Bernie Sanders by 20 points if lightning struck a bunch of times between now and the fall of 2016, and we ended up with that amazing race.
Trump is with us to provide comic relief and little else, though you’d be hard-pressed to convince the rest of the Republican field of this being the case, considering how he’s dragging the party to the far, far right on the issues that he’s bringing attention to.
The hope for the party and the eventual nominee is that Trump gets bored with politics in the early fall and moves on. If he’s still a player by the time the teams start playing in stadiums, it could mean a blowout win for Democrats in the big game in the fall of 2016.
– Column by Chris Graham