Experts debate the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s campaign, but few give credit where credit is due. Trump has been atop of the polls now for several months. As we move closer to Iowa, Trump’s numbers continue to climb.
The Trump campaign may indeed be fighting against both parties on way to a potential nomination.
This weekend was an inflection point in the Republican presidential race — a moment in which some significant part of the GOP establishment came out of denial and realized Donald Trump might well become their party’s nominee.
“The Republican establishment, for the first time, is saying, off the record, this guy can win,” noted Joe Scarborough on MSNBC Monday morning. “I’ve heard that from everybody. I don’t hear anybody saying he can’t win the nomination anymore.”
That doesn’t mean Republicans have made their peace with a Trump victory. On the contrary — some are preparing to do whatever it takes to bring him down. Which could lead to an extraordinary scenario in which GOP stalwarts go to war to destroy their own party’s likely nominee.
“Massive resistance,” was the answer. “He’s not a conservative.”
Insiders have watched as Trump defied what many believed were immutable laws of the political universe. First they thought Trump wouldn’t run. Then they thought voters wouldn’t take a reality-TV star seriously. Then they thought gaffes would kill Trump as they had other candidates. None of that turned out as expected.
But there is one belief Trump has not yet tested, and that is the political insiders’ unshakeable faith that negative ads work.
“I don’t think Trump can withstand 10,000 points of smart negative in Iowa and New Hampshire,” says one veteran Republican strategist who is not affiliated with any campaign. “It would force him to spend money. That’s when this starts to get real for him.” (“Points” refers to gross ratings points, a way of measuring TV ad buys; 10,000 points would be a really big buy, meaning the average viewer would see an anti-Trump ad many, many times.)
Doubters of Trump’s candidacy may lose consciousness holding their collective breathes for him to falter.
What do you think Trump’s chances are? Do you support him or another candidate?