During the early days of his campaign, I– like many other Americans– thought Trump would be nothing more than a distraction in this election cycle. Not in the run for the GOP nomination, mind you, but in the run for the Oval Office. Surely, I thought, his offensive rantings had alienated almost every non-white-male-Christian group in America and deep-sixed any chance he had. That’s what I thought back then. But now I’m not so sure.
Can Trump actually win the White House? I’m still one of those who’d like to think he can’t. I think his views are divisive and ultimately destructive of the core principles of the American way of life. But, then, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and almost every other GOP candidate feel that way, too– and have publicly said so– but none seem to have benefitted much as a result.
It’s been clear for some time now that Trump has tapped into the anger, frustration and dissatisfaction felt by many in America– much of it negative; a lot rooted in bigotry and prejudice. He was the guy– the presidential candidate– who denigrated Sen. John McCain for being captured by the Vietnamese. He was the guy who personally attacked Carly Fiona’s physical appearance and then Megyn Kelly’s intelligence. It was Trump who called for the round up and deportation of all undocumented immigrants in the country, effectively calling illegal Mexican rapists and criminals. It was the Donald who said he favored banning all Muslims from entering the country– and would not permit re-entry of any Muslim-Americans who were traveling abroad.
Pundits chuckled and said his campaign would not survive the GOP convention, and that even if he were the Republican nominee, he had no hope of winning the Oval Office. A recent report by Politico, however, suggests that the Trump campaign isn’t as one-dimensional as some may have originally thought. Behind the scenes Trump is putting into place the political engine actually capable of running a successful campaign. Politico reports that the Trump campaign “several months ago assembled an experienced data team to build sophisticated models to transform fervor into votes.”
This previously undisclosed tidbit says a lot. After all, isn’t that what the President did? If Obama’s two successful campaigns taught the political community anything, it was that a serious technological infrastructure effectively used to identify voters, channel their passion, and mobilize them can be a game-changer and mean the difference between winning and losing at the polls.
The objective facts are that Trump is leading all GOP candidates in both national and state-level polls, and like it or not, he seems to have captured the sentiment of the rank-and-file Republican voter on most of the controversial issues he has raised. Add to that the fact that he’s raising and starting to spend real money on political ads, and the reality of the possibility begins to set in.
Democrats can no longer afford to pay short shrift to the Trump campaign. The Donald has come to win.