April 14, 2011

Could I be 180 degrees wrong on the Trump candidacy?

A few times in recent days I have argued the point that Donald Trump is a potential Manchurian Candidate of sorts - sent by the Democrats to steal votes away from the Republicans in the middle and to push low turnout among conservatives in the 2012 general election. That would ensure an Obama second term, or as I like to think of it, Jaws 2 (not as popular despite a bigger budget). But I could be 180 degrees wrong about the Trump candidacy and there's two different ways that's possible. Both are interesting scenarios, the second one especially so.

Firstly, I had considered this possibility previously but dismissed it out of the inability to do a deeper dive into the state by state voter demographics. No excuse. I don't have anything to back me up on this but it does make a certain sense. It is possible that since the Republicans have both momentum and voter identification in their favor, if Trump were to steal votes in the middle, it is distinctly possible that he steals as much support from Obama as he does from Republicans and his candidacy is an expensive wash or just self-defeating from a Democrat perspective.

The second possibility is that in fact what Trump is doing is the complete reverse of what I previously thought. After reading some of the comments on Hot Air I began to think about this scenario. If Trump is angling to steal away centrist conservative voters from other candidates, the one most likely to be hurt is Mitt Romney. As a conservative, Romney is pretty soft and most conservative Republican supports would support one of the other candidates. As new polling comes out with Trump surging it is clearly Romney who is taking the biggest hit (although a lot of polls have Palin down too, I don't think that's Trump-driven). If there's a crowded, competitive field it really becomes anyone's nomination to win. Nobody is a lock (not that Romney ever really was a lock). If conservatives coalesce around a single candidate it could very well be that a Trump candidacy helps that candidate more than anyone else. It may indeed turn out Trump makes the eventual nominee a more conservative choice if he doesn't win himself.

I don't think at this point Trump can win - Romney will have a lot of money and will be able to fight back hard in that same demographic space. It will be a brawl and grab headlines but it won't be the biggest voting block they are fighting for in a lot of states. [UPDATE: Looks like it's started already.]

If all that is the case then you could see a real conservative, Tea Party friendly candidate emerge as the GOP nominee. That's  good news for conservatives who don't want another McCain/Dole/Ford candidate.  But perhaps that still plays into Obama's hand. Liberals in the echo chamber like to argue that Republicans are far too the right of the electorate. By ending up with a conservative candidate they probably feel their chances of winning in the center are far better. They could be correct, but there is an even greater possibility it will backfire. Look at the list of soft candidates I mentioned above - they all lost. Contrast that with Reagan and Bush 41 and Bush 43, the ones who won. Reagan was clearly conservative and absolutely crushed his opponents. Bush 41 won off the Reagan reputation and lost when he softened on taxes. Bush 43 who was not a solid conservative, did at least campaign like one.

So a Trump candidacy while possibly created by a Democrat strategic operation is possible it isn't likely. And it certainly isn't as likely as before considering the alternative outcomes. That doesn't explain some of the odd moves by Trump but perhaps his ability to generate publicity does. If it's a lead in for him to be able to talk about more serious issues then he has everyone's attention. Maybe Trump is a plant by a conservative candidate like Palin to take the heat off her. Or maybe, just maybe, he's in it to win and to fix the country. I'm still not sold on Trump but now at least I will give him a chance to air his agenda and judge him based on that. As a conservative, it's the ideas that matter to me, not the hair style and not the conspiracy theories.   I don't believe Trump is a Democrat plant. I never did, but his past behavior certainly fit that idea. In retrospect they could indicate a number of other things as well. We'll see.


  1. Trump kinda scares me at this point, but the rhetorical bombs he's hurling around are entertaining. I like the idea of "I don't give a crap what people think" candidates.

  2. Trump is a showman. This is but a redux of Ross Perot albeit with much, much less gravitas.

    If anything in government Trump would be a possible candidate for Secretary of Commerce but beyond that I wish he would just drop the 'running for POTUS' idea.

    I don't mind his money being invested in the "birther" issue after all it his money but other than that I wish he stick to the private sector.

    This election (2012) is far to important to be side-lined with a side-show.

  3. I agree that he's covering some good ground with some of his comments but I think his candidacy risks doing more harm than good.

    Essentially he boils down to being a wild card that could really help someone like Palin or Bachmann (if she's serious) or even a Gingrich by taking Romney out of the running. But he could also run right and help Romney with the GOP nod. That seems more likely because he of his silly birther comments and some of his recent comments that play to conservatives. He also could run as an independent and hurt whomever ends up on the GOP ticket.

    I took some heat on Twitter for my thoughts because I was supposedly enabling RINOs by talking about the perils of a third party candidacy. I'm not a RINO, I don't support RINOs but losing to Obama again I regard as even worse.

    Christopher - One final thought. Perot didn't have much gravitas either. He was most interesting when he was Dana Carvey...

  4. RE: Dean_L,,,

    In the business world "The Donald" would not make a pimple on Perot's azz.

    In loyalty and military decisiveness Carter did not even come close to making a pimple on Perot's azz.

    In debate style neither Bush 41 nor Clinton even came close to making aforementioned pimple on Perot.

    That is gravitas!

    Actually the only reason I did not vote for him was his pick as V.P, Admiral Stockdale. Stockdale had an Honorable career and am sure a very good man, but he was too old and it showed.

  5. Trump is no Perot, agreed, but Perot, while able to make good points, wasn't debating rhetorical giants. Bush 41 and Clinton were not all that special.

    By comparison Perot looked good, but he did do and say some oddball stuff. I think with real gravitas, he should have carried a few states. I've said that Jesse Jackson was a better orator than Obama, but by comparison he got nowhere. Even if I grant your point that Perot had gravitas, clearly it wasn't enough.


Disagreement is always welcome. Please remain civil. Vulgar or disrespectful comments towards anyone will be removed.

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