The “Trump debate,” as each GOP outing is starting to be known, once again went in favor of the billionaire real estate mogul and Republican frontrunner Wednesday night (September 16).
Donald Trump has turned running for president into not-to-be-missed performance art, and it has clearly given his Republican rivals fits as seen with the massive piling on from candidates like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who characterize Trump’s antics as juvenile and “sophomoric.”
Perhaps they’re right. And while some media outlets are starting to see what they believe to be chinks in the Donald’s armor — check this CNBC analysis, for example, which called last night’s showing “the beginning of the end” — this isn’t the first time people have dismissed him or counted him out.
Yet he continues to dominate in the polls, especially among online conservative strongholds like the Drudge Report.
As of this post, for example, the website has 587,377 respondents, with 53.65 percent of the vote for winner of last night’s contest going to the Donald himself.
The next closest was Carly Fiorina, who secured just under 21 percent. From there, it went Marco Rubio (No. 3); Ted Cruz (No. 4); Rand Paul (No. 5); and surging candidate Ben Carson (No. 6), making this yet another “Trump debate” that is unlikely to stop his momentum.
Nevertheless, people will still talk. CNBC rightly points out that Trump doesn’t seem to have much command of policy, with his answers usually consisting of “hiring the best people.”
Nate Silver, who was the only pundit to accurately predict the outcome of the 2012 election, also sees the Donald as running out of steam before he gets to the finish line.
He has given Trump and Republican rival Carson “maybe about 5% each” when it comes to their chances of winning the GOP nomination.
“There are a couple of things to think about,” Silver said in comments reported by Breitbart. “One is that if you look back at history, you’ve never seen candidates like Donald Trump certainly, or Ben Carson win a party nomination, and secondly, if you look at the polling a lot of times, a candidate leading the polls now, mid-September didn’t win the nomination, didn’t even come close.”
He continued, “So, if you look four years ago, Rick Perry was in the midst of a surge right now, and eight years ago on the Democratic side, you had Howard Dean — or 12 years ago, rather, Howard Dean was surging, Hillary Clinton was still way ahead of Barack Obama in 2008. Rudy Giuliani was leading the polls in 2008. I think people — there’s so much interest in this election, in this campaign, people forget that polls five months before Iowa, historically, have told you very, very little.”
What Silver’s analysis fails to take into account, however, is the nuance to this particular election. The Republican Party has never been this divided, and the American people have never practically thrown their hands up in the air and admitted that the system is broken with no hope of a fix by voting in the same old tired candidates.
The country is at a tipping point where many of the old rules no longer apply. The Trump debate “wins,” even as various media outlets panned his two performances, are living proof. It’s like no matter what is reported or said — and no matter what he says about people — he just grows stronger and stronger in the polls.
Trump, by funding his own campaign and continually harping on other candidates as “bought and paid for,” is exposing what voters have suspected about Washington’s dysfunction for a very long time.
As a result, he’s getting a wide array of support — from skinheads and white supremacists to fed up middle of the roaders disenfranchised with political dysfunction to left-leaning liberals irate at the influence of lobbyists on elected candidates.
Don’t believe it? Take a look at this rather fascinating Reddit thread pulled together by Vox in August, where self-identified Trump supporters explain their positions.
“He’s an a**hole, but at least he’s honest, and isn’t really into bulls******g people. Besides, I don’t want a third Bush or a second Clinton in office anyway. The Presidency is not a hereditary monarchy.”
“He isn’t a pandering politician. He is relatively centrist and populist. He has a long track record without any damaging scandals. He seems more than the others to be genuinely interested in being a good leader for the country, rather than only for his base (as he doesn’t really have a base to pander to).”
“I’m seriously thinking about voting for Trump, and here is why. I firmly believe that our system of government is deeply flawed, if not completely broken. Yet we still keep voting for the same type of people. If Trump wins, there’s a good chance the whole thing will collapse from his absurdity. Then maybe we could start over and build something better that works. A vote for Trump is a vote for full system breakdown, which I believe is exactly what we need.”
In other words, last night was another Trump debate win, regardless of what you thought about his actual performance. And the winning isn’t likely to stop anytime soon.