Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Yes folks, Donald Trump can win the nomination

Like many armchair quarterbacks, I have been completely dismissive of Trump and his chances to get nominated.  Almost every time I would look at a poll I would just gloss over his and Ben Carson's numbers to look at who was leading the candidates who I thought had a real chance at the nomination.  I'm starting to change my mind on that.  First, he really gave a good interview to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

I felt most of his answers were reasonable and had a common sense quality.  When asked about eminent domain he gave a great answer that will almost immediately shut up his critics on the right who are yelling "Kelo!" at him.  He said the Keystone Pipeline, which has become such a conservative cause, couldn't be built without eminent domain.  That answer is simply a great way to get someone on the right stammering and shows that maybe he does hire smart people (I doubt he came up with that himself).  He also talked about all of our lost jobs and the fact that we are defending other countries while they are raping us blind.  I can't really argue with that one and as poll after poll has indicated, people care most about economic issues and jobs.  Trump is clearly learning and is improving himself before our eyes and I think if he continues as common sense Trump instead of bombastic insulting Trump, he will get some of those who said they would never vote for him (myself included) to vote for him.

And although we have more than 3 months to go, I think his poll numbers do mean something.  I know that many Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina voters have yet to make up their mind and the thinking is that Trump can lose support quickly, a Monmouth poll of New Hampshire primary voters shows that he has some of the most solid support of any candidate (the establishment candidates actually have the most squishy support).

Only Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have numbers that are higher but the fact that Trump is able to have such a firm commitment from his supporters while also being the leader (unlike Cruz and Paul who are far from leading and are essentially niche candidates as of today) bodes well for his chances.  As does the fact that he leads in Iowa as well. 

Now imagine what happens if he wins Iowa AND New Hampshire?  Success in the nomination process is very path dependent and just one result in an early state can significantly shift momentum.  Take a look at the national polling chart from 2012:

Santorum was just a blip on the screen and Newt was in a dead heat with Romney until Iowa, and then boom!  Santorum  gained massive momentum and Newt crashed.  Then with the South Carolina primary you saw Newt once again climb in the polls until his loss in Florida.  If Trump is able to win the first two, I think it will be hard to reverse his momentum and keep him from winning it all unless he completely screws up the ground game in the March 1 primary states (but then again he would have the wind at his back from previous victories and has a fanatical following so that might not matter as much).

And if you don't believe me, believe Pat Buchanan.  You don't have to agree with him to respect him as an astute political observer.  And he thinks Trump has a very solid chance of taking it. 

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