Why Donald Trump Is Popular

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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I’ve already written too much about Donald Trump, but the situation on the ground continues to demand more! In this case, it’s a new USA Today national poll showing Trump in first place that merits additional comment.

What explains this? The way I see it, a lot of Trump supporters believe Republicans lose elections because they keep apologizing for their views. So (the argument goes) what we need is a fearless candidate. The public will then be so enamored by the authenticity of this “anti-politician” that they will vote for him in a general election…

The trouble is that there is no empirical evidence for this. In fact, the same USA Today poll that shows Trump surging in the GOP primary also suggests he is “the weakest competitor among the top seven GOP candidates against Democrat Hillary Clinton.”

It requires a real leap of faith to believe that all our problems related to demographics and public opinion would magically evaporate if Republicans just run someone who tells it like it is.

Maybe it came from talk radio? — I don’t know — but that’s the narrative that a lot of people who support Trump believe.

It must be comforting to believe the GOP’s problems can be resolved so simply — that the only reason conservatives lose elections is because their leaders lack guts. In truth, I suspect some Republican leaders lack guts precisely because they’ve lost so many elections. (A lot of Republican politicians probably are too tentative — but this is likely due to the fact that the political environment has turned against them.)

Some serious questions to contemplate: Can you overcome a hostile political environment by boldly acting as if it doesn’t exist? — in other words, fake it till you make it … Or is it wiser to try to thread the needle and win in a hostile environment (the way Bill Clinton was able to win in the 1990s)?

These are a few of the questions Republicans will have to answer during this nomination battle.

Matt K. Lewis