The inside-the beltway crowd wants Donald Trump out of the presidential race.
Establishment Republicans (and presumably the whole Washington establishment) look upon a Trump presidency as nothing less than an absolute nightmare.
Wall Street isn't happy about Trump. Washington isn't happy. The media are discombobulated in the face of his emergence. And can you even begin to imagine the sheer terror his candidacy engenders in academia?
Trump has been called everything from a male chauvinist pig to an egomaniac to a boob. He's been mocked, knocked and socked but he remains undeterred and not the least bit shocked.
And Trump's poll numbers (which seem even higher today than they've ever been) show that he appears to have a durability that would dumfound the most astute campaign strategists.
Why is this so?
How could it be?
What's it all about?
Well, Trump's got five big things going for him. Let's call them the Five B's:
1) Bucks. Obviously, Trump's got the money. He can self-fund his campaign and outspend everybody if he chooses to do so. He's got his own 757 and his own helicopter to hopscotch the country. A remarkable success-story, he lives in a fast-paced, highly-torqued environment that other politicos can only dream of. He can easily and quickly out maneuver them. Trump has what's called FU money. He doesn't have to beg for bucks and he can tell anybody to buzz off. What's more, unlike Roosevelt and Kennedy and Bush, Trump's money doesn't come from his family. Rather, if comes from him - Donald J. Trump. This is major. It lends credibility to the notion that Trump is his own man; that he will act independently; that he will owe no favors and kiss no ass. People have had it with all the campaign PACs and special interests and influence peddling. They know it stinks and they want a clean break.
2) Brand. Donald J. Trump is a brand -- a very powerful brand. It's a brand that stands for success, the American Dream, the good life. It stands for pursuing big dreams, competing hard and winning. It's not merely associated with signature properties (such as residential and office buildings) but also with travel, leisure and entertainment -- hotels, golf courses and resorts; fashionable clothing; fragrances; jewelry; home goods, eyewear, even bottled water. And let's not forget Trump's hugely successful TV program, The Apprentice. When he entered this race, Trump didn't need to make himself known. He was already known to nearly every American and countless others throughout the world. And they've already accepted all his idiosycracies and peculiarities. The hair is no longer shocking to them and neither is the brashness. It's all part of the brand. America is a culture of brands. We love powerful, proven brands. We have a level of comfort with them. They give us confidence.
3) Brains. Is Trump really the smartest man in the world? Probably not, even though he may act like he is. But he certainly seems very bright when it comes to business and money and making deals. You only have to listen to him talk for awhile to realize that his mind works very quickly. More than that, however, he obviously surrounds himself with bright people. He can buy the best and brightest people and, as far as anyone can tell, that's exactly what he does. And yes, he expects loyalty from those people and deference when it's due. Loyalty is a staple of politics. And, as FDR once said: "If you want to work for me, you have to have a passion for anonymity." That's the Trump way. And now, when many people are scratching their heads in wonderment at some of the truly dumb things that are happening in Washington and amidst the establishment, they're looking for some serious smarts to clean up the mess.
4) Bravado. Call it boastfulness. Call it braggadocio. Simply put, this man's got balls and he's not shy about letting you know it. Sure, the bravado is a psychological tactic. It's part of the set-up to get to the deal, the win, the triumph. But people understand that and they pretty much accept it. After all, how the hell did Muhammed Ali become champion of world? Didn't bravado have something to do with it? And people are even more accepting of this right now because they're afraid. They're really worried that everything that they worked so hard for and treasure is about to disappear. Americans have probably never felt so weak or so vulnerable. They're tired of a professorial presidency that lectures and hectors and belittles them and their country. They want bold, fearless leadership. And if that comes with a bit of bravado, so be it.
5) Base. If you've been reading closely you've probably begun to understand that Donald Trump is building a base. Indeed, it would seem that he already has by far the largest base of supporters of any of the candidates. Who are these people? Well, according to a new Reuters poll, 58 percent of Americans now say they “don’t identify with what America has become.” While Republicans and Independents are the most likely to agree with this statement, what's really revealing is that even 45 percent of Democrats share this feeling. Furthermore, more than half of Americans, 53 percent, say they “feel like a stranger” in their own country. Many, many of these people feel disaffected and they're relating to Trump because Trump has shrewdly tapped into this. When he says we "haven't won" and that our leaders are "stupid and incompetent" and that he "wants America to win again" and that we need to "make America great again," these people know what he's talking about. He's talking to their frustrations, their disappointment and their desire to feel good about themselves and their country again. In their eyes, he gets it.
John F. Kennedy's 1960 campaign slogan came down to four words: "A time for greatness."
Trump's is eerily similar: "Make America great again."
Do not underestimate Trump. This is no reality show.
Though this is NOT by any means an endorsement of Donald Trump, we would do well to remember that this man is serious when he says he means to have us reaching for the stars once again.
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