The coming months will be quite interesting to watch as Trump’s campaign takes shape. There seems to be three factions as far as Trump is concerned: Those who like him and what he says; those who do not, and those who have no idea what is going on—a growing sector of our society. Trump is coming out on top in the polls by a hefty margin, but what exactly does this indicate? I am not sure that is clear yet, but I am having some serious reservations about how things may play out beyond the Republican nomination process.
At this point, I have to ask the question: Is Trump in this race because he believes he can ultimately win the Republican nomination and the presidency? That is a difficult question to answer as I am not sure how much more support Trump can garner beyond his current numbers. Certainly there is a sector of the U.S. population that is absolutely fed up with the actions of both the Obama Administration and Congress. They feel that our elected officials are ignoring fiscal responsibility and ultimately driving this nation to bankruptcy and socialism, but their numbers alone are not large enough to elect any candidate no matter how suitable. At the same time, Trump is the only one talking about their concerns with any great passion and conviction.
No doubt, whoever the nominee for the Republican side may be, he or she must sustain the conservative base across the spectrum, attract the independent voter and, most importantly, acquire more support from the Black and Hispanic quarters. That is a tall order for any candidate. We might note that Mitt Romney faced the same challenge and was unsuccessful. It is not enough to argue that things are really messed up in this country without producing a viable plan to fix it and convincing everyone it will work. And I, for one. am not convinced that Mr. Trump can accomplish that task without a serious change of approach.
I hear people saying all the time, Trump is a smart man. No doubt that is true and his success as a businessman supports that statement. You do not control over $10 billion in assets by being unintelligent. However, the business world requires a certain level of tact, compromise, and respect if one is to succeed. If the current sparring with his political opponents is any indication, Mr. Trump is demonstrating that he does not possess much of that. At present, he seems to be saying impolitic things to gin up attention and because he feels he can. Therein lies the problem: No matter how much we may agree with him on substance, how many more votes can he earn using his current style?
If Trump stays the course—and I think he will—realistically I cannot foresee but one outcome. Clearly, the leadership of the RNC surely does not want to see him become the nominee. Therefore, I think we will see more and more attempts to push Trump off the political stage. If Trump fails to get the nomination, then the question arises, Will he run as an independent? If Trump is indeed a smart guy, I would think that he would not attempt an independent run. Why? Because a smart guy would understand that the mountain to climb to acquire new, potential supporters would be much steeper. After all, it is not hard to gather votes from your disaffected base who yearn for someone to say what they feel, no matter how inartfully. Anyone really interested in winning would know that they must attract far more voters than a portion of the base conservative vote. A tall order.
That brings me to the possibility that I so hate to consider—The Donald as the spoiler. Keep in mind, Trump was once a Democrat, like most in the northeastern region of our nation. He donated a lot of money to help get Hillary Clinton elected back in 2008, either because he was a supporter or he feared Obama more than Hillary. Either way, I think it safe to assume that a rich man does not hand out a quarter of million dollars to a candidate just because he wants to oblige her to come to his wedding. I do not buy that explanation for one minute.
If Trump’s current approach costs him the Republican nomination and he runs as an independent, he will only create a splintering of the conservative base (much as Perot did, which resulted in Bill Clinton’s election), and virtually guarantee a Hillary Clinton victory (if she is the nominee). A smart guy would know this. A smart guy would also know that he had someone in the presidency whom he could control with a bit of money—Hillary Clinton. So, the smart guy businessman throws his own party under the bus for personal gain. Dirty? Evil? Yes—but the potential is there.
For now, let us take Trump’s candidacy for what it is—a wake-up call to conservatives. At the same time, let us cast our vote for a nominee who is smart enough to know what to do and how to approach it along the way. In my opinion, if Trump lasts beyond the Republican primary, it will guarantee a win for the Democrats. Any smart guy can see that.
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