Wednesday, July 8, 2015

If you're not taking Donald Trump...

...seriously (at least as a candidate for the Republican nomination), watch a little of this Q&A session from Iowa a few weeks ago. Doesn't Trump remind you -- just a little -- of a certain B movie actor who made it all the way to the White House?*

Now, don't get me wrong: I don't think the Donald will ever be elected president of the United States. And I don't think he'll get the GOP nomination either. (I still think Hillary beats Jeb in 2016.)

But anyone who underestimates this guy does so at his own peril. Last I checked, Donald Trump was leading the Republican field, according to the Huffington Post. Trump will be in the first debate next month (and could steal the show) and could very easily finish second or third in Iowa or New Hampshire. (Why not? Pat Robertson and Steve Forbes placed second in Iowa in 1988 and 2000, respectively, and Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary in 1996.) At the very least, the New York real estate tycoon is going to cause major headaches for the other GOP candidates and the leaders of the party.

Watch that video above. Trump speaks very clearly and in a voice people can understand. He connects with his audience and -- just like St. Reagan -- tickles every one of their basic emotions. Oh, and let's be clear about one thing: Trump doesn't say anything that the average Republican voter isn't already thinking. Just like the Gipper, Trump is the Republican id personified.

To repeat: the Republican Party is not going to nominate Donald Trump for president in 2016. (My guess is that he'll drop out before the Iowa caucuses -- running for president is just too much trouble.) And if Trump should truly "catch fire" the party bigwigs would do everything in their power to stop him (and succeed). But if you think I'm overstating Trump's appeal and potential for trouble-making, just harken back to that other billionaire who ran for president back in 1992 and received nearly one in every five votes cast in the general election.

The pundits in Washington would have you believe that Donald Trump is nothing more than this year's Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann -- a flash in the pan who will quickly fizzle out. (Or at least they hope so.) But I think they're wrong. The more attention (and respect from voters) Trump gets, the more his ego will demand. Like Ross Perot in 1992, Trump has a ton of dough and could have a major impact on the 2016 election.

* And do you remember how positively giddy the Democrats were when it looked like Ronald Reagan would be the Republican nominee in 1980?

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