By now, I'm sure that everybody knows that Donald Trump has been leading many polls for who people would vote for if the election for the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee were held today. This upsets many people, causes our understanding and appreciation of Democracy to be brought into question, and has made Americans the butt of many a joke.
So could ‘The Donald' actually be President? Let's take a look at some of the reasons for yes and reasons for no and come back to answer at the end (or you could just skip ahead).
Reasons President Trump Could Happen
I'm 40 years old and I have memories of Donald Trump in some form or another for at least 20-30 years. I religiously watched early seasons of ‘The Apprentice' until the repetition made me (and tens of millions of other fans) drift away. Before that, he had his name all over buildings in cities around the world, and was not afraid of the camera. Compared to just about any other candidate out there, Donald Trump by and far is the most well known name.
He's Getting Face Time
I seem to remember reading somewhere that this is the largest pool of candidates in the Republican party in decades, or maybe ever. So with that said, you'd expect that media coverage would be fractured, but that's not the case at all. Any mention of the Presidential race these days inevitably includes Donald Trump. He's everywhere!
People Listen To Him
Let's face it, when Donald Trump speaks, people listen. There are many out there who can't stand him and only listen to see who he'll insult next, but the fact is they're still listening! And if people are listening, it means people are talking.
He Speaks What He Believes
You may not believe in what Donald Trump says or what he believes in, but one thing that he demonstrates is that when he does open his mouth and talk about something, he does so because he believes it. Many other Republicans seem to believe what their party says is the right thing to believe, or they're against something simply because Obama and other Democrats like it. Donald Trump isn't going to check with the party leadership before issuing a statement, you can be sure of that.
He Entertains People
Quick, name three contestents on the non-Celebrity version of The Apprentice. Across any seasons. Most people probably can't. The Apprentice was one of the most popular TV shows out there for a while, and it was all because of Trump. He has entertainment value and while the President isn't meant to entertain, the election talk at this point in the game holds little more than entertainment value.
Could an entertainer ever hold office? A reality TV show host? Or maybe….an actor? Yes, we've already had a former entertainer hold office, and history largely thinks that he did a pretty good job.
Reasons Trump Won't Get Elected
He's Alienated Too Many
I'm pretty sure that most Mexican Americans won't be voting for Trump. He's also made disparaging remarks about quite a few other classes of people that would likely vote against him or stay home.
His Numbers May Have Peaked
Other candidates will have the opportunity to grow their numbers as they try to introduce themselves, whereas I see Trump already has anybody he will likely have even down the road, and in the end, that might not be enough to get him to where he needs to be when it really counts.
The Field Will Shrink
Remember how I said that the current crop of Republicans is really big? Before long that will start to consolidate. Today, five of the candidates might be splitting the vote that will eventually go toward the last candidate remaining of the five. Once actual primaries and such start taking place, the field will consolidate.
Today Means Nothing
I'll be honest, I'm not following the 2016 election at all. Not a single bit. When I see Trump or anyone else talking, I tune out. Why? Because not a single thing of what's being said today will matter when votes start being cast. Issues, even the big ones, rise and fall in importance within a few months. Even if there are people agreeing with everything that Trump is saying today, that could change by voting day.
The Election Is Too Far Out
The Presidential election is fifteen months out. That's a crazy amount of time away. In 2012, Michelle Bachman was a leading candidate with over a year to go. In 2008, Hilary Clinton was practically handed the nomination when things first got started. Remember in 1991 when George Bush had something like an 80% approval rating after Iraq was annihilated by the US-led forces in the Gulf War, and he was a shoo-in for re-election? The bottom line is that the election is too far out to matter. The election cycle starts earlier and earlier, but the fact remains that it just adds a bunch of meaningless time to the front of the whole thing.
So Can Trump Be President?
My opinion, in a word, is no. I think that Trump is someone that the networks can throw on TV and get people to watch. I don't believe that will last. The novelty value of Trump will fade around the time that people start paying attention to issues that matter to them. Trump will slowly get left out of those conversations.
My early predictions: I will only narrow down to four candidates, two on each side. On the Democratic side, I think it will be between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, I think it will be between Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.
Of course, as we all know, it's way too early to tell!
Readers, what do you think of Donald Trump and his chances to be President next year?