He’s vulgar. He’s a bully. He’s a philanderer.
He’s a showman on par with P.T. Barnum.
And yet, in some small way, I am thankful for Donald Trump for one reason and one reason only: he has utterly destroyed the GOP Presidential primary.
Rewind to a year ago. Jeb Bush was the freight train rolling down the tracks. He was “inevitable” and “the legacy” candidate. To his credit, he and his team backed it up with a tremendous fundraising haul, cracking $100M into his super PAC, Right to Rise, by the end of the second quarter in 2015.
In June of 2015, Donald Trump announced he was running. From the moment he opened his mouth to announce he was running for President, he was panned by the media. Written off as a blowhard and a showman, no one (I mean, no one) gave him a chance.
And then something funny happened.
He tapped the angst of the American taxpayer. Note I didn’t say the tea party or conservative base. The American taxpayer because if nothing else, Trump’s coalition is anything but conservative. They are terrified that America’s best days are behind us and that with our descent into a nation like any other will come the loss of jobs and security. Even more importantly than a loss of jobs and security, a loss of identity as the greatest nation on earth.
To their troubled ears, Trump shouted, “I’m gonna make American great again!”
And folks said, “Wait, no one else is saying that!”
Has he backed it up with many details? No, therein lies Trump’s inherent problem. It’s hard to define what the plan is when your vocabulary is that of a sixth grader.
However, people wanted to hear someone, anyone, say, “I’m going to make us great again.” With that comes a frenetic energy that we have not seen in a Presidential primary in a generation. And it’s blowing pundits’ and consultants’ minds nationwide.
Because of it Scott Walker, considered by many to be a lock in the GOP Final Four, crashed and burned early (partly due to the political pygmies he surrounded himself with). Rick Perry, THE jobs governor-gone. Jeb Bush, The Inevitable One, struggles to crack 5% in the Real Clear Politics poll average. Chris Christie-about to be shot out the back end of the pack. John Kasich-meh.
And the issues. The issues!! We’re actually having a debate on immigration, the sacred cow of the GOP Establishment. If Donald Trump had not brought the issue front and center, how many of you think we’d be discussing the merits of Marco Rubio’s Gang of 8 bill? Or Jeb Bush’s bald support of amnesty (and Common Core-had to add that one)? Anyone? But to the chagrin of the GOP Beltway types, not only did Trump shove the issue to the center of the GOP Primary, he has forced the issue since.
Does he actually believe what he is saying? I doubt it. He’s a consummate showman (see “P.T. Barnum”). The camera wavers off of him, he says things like, “I’m going to ban Muslims from entering the United States!” and boom, the cameras are back.
The fact of the matter is, Donald Trump has totally shaken up what the GOP Establishment hoped would be a tightly scripted primary that crowned either Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio the nominee.
While there is a still a long ways to go before this thing is over, I am just going to put it out there one more time: I am thankful for Donald Trump.