After predicting the demise of Donald Trump multiple times, the political pundits have begun to cautiously regard him as an inevitability — at least for now. They still see the likely end of the phenomenon of “The Donald” just around the corner. Just give the low information voter enough time, they calculate, and they will eventually see through the thin veneer of Mr. Trump.
But the media are now prepared, largely out of fear of getting it wrong again, to recognize the Republican Party crasher into serious political discourse. No longer is Trump relegated to the entertainment section of the Huffington Post or described as a bloviating ignoramus as found at your local bar.
The willingness on the part of Washington and media to help bring a hasty end to Trump’s campaign is equally matched by the conservative media willingness to articulate the hypocrisy of political correctness in the vilification of Trump.
They see in Trump the warranted and long overdue jab in the political eye of a complicit establishment Republican cabal that mounted an ineffective presidential campaign in 2008 and 2012. Trump is the inevitable result of the Republican majority Congress unwilling to act to defund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, and to block illegal immigration, raising of spending limits and the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump is a manifestation of a Washington that no longer bothers to even pay lip service to the desires of the conservative base that brought them to power. In short, the entrenched establishment is the sickness and the campaign of Donald Trump is the cure.
Once you understand this simple premise, you can understand what the mainstream media seemingly cannot — the American people no longer trust Washington and care little about political correctness, and media demands for apologies from Trump about immigration only result in an increase in his popularity. And the conservative base cares little about Trump’s lack of a track record of conservatism. Mr. Trump represents the ignored electorate, is self-funded and holds irreverence for political correctness standing out with the autonomy to reinvigorate the economy, shrink government and fix punitive tax policy. Trump’s celebrity and dominance of the media has helped him maintain his lead, effectively squeezing out a large field of candidates defying “political gravity.”
But as the field narrows, attention to detail becomes critical and Trump has seen no need to research the issues. While spontaneity has worked in his favor, as with the second debate, a command of details and articulate policy positions increased Fiorina’s support at Trump’s expense. And other candidates are waiting on the sidelines with articulate, well-developed positions that will more than likely receive attention such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
This all leads to putting Mr. Trump in an uncomfortable position that could finally prove the political establishment correct. His bold, brash, impromptu style requires seemingly ever-increasing excitement and audacity. With fewer candidates, he must develop clearly defined positions and have a good command of domestic and foreign affairs. It’s not enough to say that he will simply surround himself with knowledgeable people. He must demonstrate his intellectual superiority of the issues while standing next to effective, articulate debaters in the primaries and the general election in order to win. While Mr. Trump’s candidacy is as excited, energetic and unstable as radioactive uranium, if he remains on the same course he is today, it’s with almost certainty that his popularity will decay at a steady predictable rate after each successive debate leading to the inevitable question — what is the political half-life of Donald Trump.
Kelly Wallace, of Boise, is a native Idaho resident and local CPA and insurance professional.