Furthermore, having Trump in the race, eventual nomination winner or not, is attracting attention to the race. That's free marketing, people. If Trump truly has ended up on the side of the GOP, he's offering everyone a golden opportunity to get attention with very little spending required. He's offering the media a whipping boy so that other candidates can get a few extra months under the radar. If that's what they really want. They shouldn't though.
Thee's a reason Trump is up in the polls - he's fighting, not kowtowing to the liberal media. He's brash. That's good.
And while other candidates can tout their executive experience (certainly better than a president's wife or a senator's experience in actually running something), Trump has real-world business experience. He's not going to run an administration as if it were a charity. He'll look at the bottom line.
Here comes the BUT
Now, with all that said, I don't think I'd be happy with Trump as the standard bearer. Here's my problem with Trump as the GOP nominee in three words: A Trump Presidency.
I can break that down into two specific issues - getting there, and being there.
In terms of getting there, I'm sure Trump could argue Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton under the table in terms of sound bites. But winning the presidency against either Democratic nominee is an uphill proposition. While Clinton could probably cause Trump to stumble because she'll be prepared to go at him with legislative specifics that answering with common sense may be sensible, it won't be enough. She'll ask him what his position is on a specific item, and after his answer come back with the exact same argument she used on Obama in 2008 - he's not ready for the role because he doesn't haveenough government experience. That will sway some moderates with concerns about that, and surely help fire up the Bernie Sanders leftist base - weneed someone with actual government experience.
But the real problem with Trump tripping up during the presidential race is Trump. He's a loose cannon. While taking pot shots at McCain and Graham plays well now, once he gets into the issues he's just as likely to say something that the media will tear to shreds. something along the lines of "We're going to take China to the WTO and make China pay our legal bills", but worse.
That sort of wild card, loose cannon candidate is a real gamble. You take that shot if you really don't see any other way of winning, and then you hope for the best. That's not a strategy to win, it's a last minute gamble type of play. If any other candidate can beat Hillary, there's a lot of reasons to select not-Trump.
One last thought on the getting there part of a Trump nomination: How much down-ticket lift would Trump provide to GOP congressional and senate candidates? My gut says very little, if not less than zero.
Continued in Part 2 - What if he wins?