Gets My Vote for Best Polit-Junkie Think-Piece of 2015
Ironically enough, this “awesome” post by Dan McLaughlin/@baseballcrank – under the clickbaity title “Military Strategist Explains Why Trump Leads — And Will Fail” – ventures far, “long-read” far, into theory and speculation only to return to where the intuitions of many political observers begin – i.e., Trump’s doomed, Rubio may have the best chance to go up against Hillary, who has known weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but shouldn’t be underestimated – in other words, something close to Conventional Wisdom, and the main betting scenario, for months now.
Still, even if McLaughlin’s final message is close to “nothing to see here, move along,” I don’t think any self-respecting blog-reading political junkie will want to have missed his deft, frequently humorous, well-researched, intellectually adventurous analysis of the main candidates’ strategies and tactics as revealed in relationship to Trump’s unexpected centrality to the process so far.
Here’s a “money quote” focused on the Trumpster’s longer term prospects:
While Trump’s hold on that 25 to 30 percent of the vote has been surprisingly consistent, national and early-state primary polls since Labor Day have shown no growth in his support. Meanwhile, an increasing number of potential GOP primary voters view Trump unfavorably. That suggests potential limits on his ability to scale his current voter base upwards as past frontrunners-turned-nominee have done—unless he can adjust his message to the needs of a changed battlefield dominated by voters not already on the Trump Train.
Instead, he seems determined to bask in the glow of the people already backing him, feeding them increasing quantities of what has already bound them to his candidacy. This is where the risk of a closed loop comes in, if Trump disdains polls and research of his own. If Trump keeps being gratified by crowd sizes, poll standing, and tweets showing him with a solid quarter of the public on his side, he will simply keep building a bigger wall between the voters he has and the voters he needs.