If you would’ve asked me back in January who would be the most viable GOP candidate to defeat Obama in 2012 (not necessarily based on qualifications, mind you), I would’ve probably said somebody like Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin. Never in my life would I have chosen a person like “The Hairman of the Boardroom” himself, Donald Trump. But the results of a recent Public Policy Polling survey now beg the question: Can Donald Trump really win this thing?
I suspect that a large part of Trump’s recent successful in the polls has to do with his status as a devout “birther” (despite the birther claim being debunked on numerous occasions, Obama not providing a birth certificate still arouses many people). As of late, Trump has been on a sort of media siege challenging the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate and consequently his presidency. And though his efforts have been scrutinized and ridiculed by those on the left (and some on the right), there is no denying the impact his birther philosophy has on his popularity.
Will that be enough to win him the presidency is the question.
One thing Trump has going for him is that he knows how to ring the bell of public concern. In addition to the birther claim – that still hasn’t been resolved to the liking of many Americans – he has also made certain aspects of the economy a focal point in his pre-campaign rhetoric. To wit, he has built platform based on attacking outside nations who benefit more from trade agreements with the United States than we benefit. With the job market hurting as much as it is from job outsourcing, the overwhelming amount of U.S. debt owned by the Chinese government, our nation’s growing dependance on foreign oil, and the amount of money offered to nations subjected to hardship (often at the expense of supporting people inland), Trump may have enough leverage to make some noise. Since the start of the 24-hour cable news cycle, the person with the most profound gift for tapping into the public’s concerns without necessarily putting the spotlight on America has been the most successful presidential candidate.
If there is one obvious place where Trump is exposed, it’s in his lack of refinement and media discipline. Though he exudes a certain confidence that people expect from their leaders (borderlining arrogance), he has rough edges to account for. He strongly lacks optimism, which is a near necessity for American voters. We like to “feel good” when we cast our votes; to be inspired and motivated (which is why people like Jimmy Carter tend to have very short political careers). But he is a far cry from that. Dude has never been one to hold his tongue. For example, he recently pointed out his relationship with “the blacks”, a statement that has been met with chagrin by many African-Americas. He has also gone on the record as calling America a “laughing stock” around the world. Even if his comments were made in a certain context, statements like these make some campaign managers cringe and others salivate.
In truth, Trump’s status as the GOP frontrunner means nothing at this point. Just ask would-be Presidents Hillary Clinton and Rudolph Guiliani. If electoral politics in the past thirty years or so have proven one thing, it’s that voters have a tendency to think along numerous slanted lines. People once considered “frontrunners” can quickly turn into candidates soundly rejected by voters, in favor of candidates more aligned with the people.
What are you thoughts? Do you think “The Donald” has a chance of turning the White House into the White Hotel?