Update, March 18, 2016: It looks like he might win the nomination, after all.
Eliana Johnson is a fine political reporter over at National Review Online.
She writes that the GOP establishment are whispering that Trump has a shot. This paragraph summarizes her piece:
But for Trump, a dip in the polls after the second debate that many predicted was the beginning of the end has arrested; and for nearly four months, he has remained at the top of the polls. Now, long-time GOP strategists who were expecting Trump’s act to wear thin a couple of months ago worry that he can’t be stopped, or at least that he has a significant chance of winning the nomination.
She quotes one “establishment” figure after the other, saying he could pull it out, against all odds.
However, here are some of the reasons he won’t win the nomination.
First, he is a shallow media creation, and his time will run out. Pop stars always fade. His latest quagmire about who’s to blame for 9/11 is one example of why voters will turn against him next year, as he echoes the Dems’ talking points. You can criticize Jeb for lots of reasons, but one way not to do that is to dredge up the past and 9/11. (Hint as to the proximate cause / blame: nineteen terrorists).
Another reason why he won’t win is that right now the polls are junk. Just think back to the 2014 elections. Remember how Mitch McConnell was going down in defeat? Eventually pollsters will have to come up with better methods.
However, even if the poll numbers reflect something of a (temporary) political truth, his numbers are higher than everyone else’s simply because the news media pay the most attention to him. Why is that? He makes good copy, but also because they know he is their best shot for Dem victory in November 2016. They believe he won’t win (and he won’t, either).
Still another reason: people aren’t paying attention right now, despite the high ratings in the first two GOP debates. Were there 23-25 million viewers? Great. How many people voted in 2012? Around 125 million.
The most important point in Johnson’s piece is that Trump has no ground game:
And while Trump is beginning to make traditional campaign expenditures and build a ground game in the early-voting states, he is spending less on these measures and undertaking them later than other campaigns, which have been putting the gears in motion for the past year or longer. Typically, in caucus states such as Iowa and Nevada, these sorts of political fundamentals matter. But Trump has already defied supposedly immutable laws of politics.
The last line is key. “Immutable laws of politics.” Trump won’t defy them. From this over-the-top media coverage, he really believes he’s so awesome that he doesn’t need a ground game.
The final reason that I believe Trump won’t win the nomination is my own deeply held conviction. He is not destined to win the White House, for it’s too historic and sacred for a unsubstantive TV star with a huge ego. Rather, his destiny is to cause confusion and chaos in the elections. His billion dollars will keep him in the race to the bitter end. When (not if) he doesn’t win it, watch out.
The sad truth is, if hypothetically and only in a pretend world Trump were to win the nomination, he would easily be defeated by a weakened Hillary (or another Dem nominee if she’s indicted) because he scares away voters – e.g., the Hispanic vote, all my college students, and people like me. And you can’t win without those pesky voters.
America, we can do better than Trump and any Dem nominee, especially Hillary. At least I hope we can do better. If not, then we’ve lost the country morally and culturally.
But I believe both dishonest Hillary and tacky Trump will fade. Certainly Trump will.
And I believe the GOP nominee will win, but only after election chaos, directly or indirectly attributable to Trump.
Trump among the Quakers (satire);
Trump bullies Francis Scott Key (satire).
This article appeared at American Thinker on Oct. 20, 2015 and has been revised here.
Updated: Nov. 5, 2015