So Donald Trump is attracting big crowds and is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination, polling 20 percent of the GOP electorate with a rude, uncivil, insulting demeanor and anti-immigrant message. Is this more than name recognition and an attraction to spectacle?
Trump, if he proves to have real support beyond show business spectacle and appealing to gut-level reactionaries — enough to win some primaries — may become like George Wallace or Ross Perot in terms of impulsive emotional appeal. But Wallace peaked at 12% of the vote, and Perot peaked at 20% of the vote. Neither represented a majority, or one of the two major political parties in the great American tradition.
I can’t imagine Trump winning the Republican nomination without causing a split in the Republican Party.
Trump Loyalty Oath Means Nothing
Trump has pledged loyalty to the Republican Party for now. But if he wins primaries and other Republican candidates say they won’t support him in a general election, he will declare the pledge null and void, and claim the nomination was stolen or snatched from him by powerful interests.
A friend writes that emotional impulse alone, not reason, is already determining the 2016 election, and explains the rise of Donald Trump. Voters are rarely thoughtful, he says. I prefer to believe that reason will prevail.