The current news/polling bubble for businessman Donald
Trump is just that, a bubble that will burst.
On the other hand, some of what he is saying is serious,
notwithstanding the liberal media allegations that he is
Mr. Trump is a smart man, and a successful figure in
business. He also, as is plain to see, a man of unquenchable
ego with a desire for capacious media attention.
Until the Republican presidential debates begin, his bubble
will continue to float in the hot summer air. No GOP rival,
except for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, can match
Mr. Trump for media-grabbing skills.
Mr. Trump is likely to make the cut-off for the first GOP
debate in Cleveland. With fifteen announced or imminently
to announce competitors, the conservative field is overlarge
and currently confusing to most grass roots voters. Some
more serious candidates, such as Governor John Kasich of
Ohio, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, or Governor Christie
might not make the cut-off (although they will be invited to
a “second tier” debate in Cleveland that will precede the main
Being a very rich man, Donald Trump can self-fund his
campaign, and is evidently doing so. Most of his rivals are
currently spending a great deal of their time fundraising.
Like his left wing Democratic equivalent, Senator Bernie
Sanders of Vermont, Mr. Trump has the temporary
advantage of being much more interesting to the media
than his opponents. Lacking truly serious rivals in the
Democratic contest, Hillary Clinton continues to maintain a
substantial, albeit shrinking, lead for her party’s nomination.
Senator Sanders also is enjoying a bubble, but he will not be
the Democratic nominee. It would take the entry of Vice
President Joe Biden, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar,
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo or Massachusetts Senator
Elizabeth Warren to actually change the chemistry of the
Democratic contest, and so far, only Mr. Biden seems a likely
But Senator Sanders’ current success is a genuine signal to
Democratic strategists about how liberal grass roots voters feel,
and so is the current bubble of Donald Trump a useful signal
about how conservative grass roots voters feel.
In Mr. Trump’s case, I think the energy he provokes comes
less from his conservatism (he does not fit a conservative mold
and has often supported Democratic candidates with cash),
and more from his outspokenness. Some GOP party officials
apparently think he is upsetting the proverbial apple cart, and
want him to tone down his public comments. He has no intention
of doing so.
Through his name I.D. and self-spending, Mr. Trump might even
have some early successes when the voting begins and polling
actually means something, but he is not going to be president,
much less his party’s nominee.
As Governor Christie, now down in the polls but likely to rise
dramatically when the campaign begins in earnest, knows,
the voters in 2016 , be they left, right or center, thirst for
a presidential candidate who speaks out honestly, plainly and
lucidly about the vital and troubling issues facing the nation.
The man or woman who can do that, and also persuade voters
they can perform well as president, will be the one who will
succeed next November. No bubble will be enough.
Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.