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Four Incidents That Should Have Stopped Donald Trump in 2015, but Didn’t

Money Morning Contributor

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump‘s campaign released its first television ad Monday, Jan. 4. The video – entitled “Great Again” – repeats a line from one of Trump’s previously released radio ads, promising that, as president, he will “cut the head off ISIS and take their oil.”

Take a look:

The ad prompted Quartz‘s Tim Fernholz to wonder if Trump’s switch to a more traditional political move – actually paying for air time, as opposed to enjoying free nonstop media coverage – might indicate the mogul’s fear that he’ll lose his presidential bid.

But we all know that Trump is anything but a traditional politician. And just by looking at how he’s fared after political blunders, it’s obvious that “The Donald” is simply anteing up on his ever-surging popularity with this television ad.

Here’s a look at four incidents that should have stopped Trump in 2015, but didn’t.

In fact, they made him stronger…

Four Incidents That Should Have Stopped Trump in 2015, but Didn’t

Trump’s Comments on Sen. John McCain: Early in Donald Trump’s campaign, the outspoken billionaire appeared at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on July 18 and announced that former presidential hopeful and Arizona Sen. John McCain was “not a war hero” because he was captured.

“I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said.

The remarks were immediately met with angry shouts and boos from the crowd.

That same day, William A. Jacobson, a blogger for Legal Insurrection, wondered if perhaps Trump’s bombastic commentary might have “strangled his campaign” before it even started.

However, a little over a week after his remarks, on July 26, Trump was backed by 18% of Republicans in a national CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, edging out ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was at 15% at the time, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who had 10%.

Trump’s Reaction to the Oregon Massacre: Three days after a student killed nine people inside a classroom at Umpqua Community College in southwestern Oregon, Donald Trump said he believed the answer to mass shootings like these was as simple as arming teachers. “This is in light of what’s gone on in Oregon,” Trump said to a crowd in Franklin, Tenn., on Oct. 4. “I’ll tell you, if you had a couple of the teachers or someone with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off,” he proclaimed.

Trump received a lot of media criticism for his remarks, most notably from The Washington Post‘s Chris Cilizza, who compiled a video response entitled “Running for President? Here’s What NOT to Say After a Mass Shooting.”

Pundits and critics called the billionaire businessman’s reaction “heartless” and “jaw-dropping.” On Oct. 5, notable left-wing media site Salon even said that the real estate mogul seemed dismissive when it came to the need for any further regulations on gun ownership.

This is when Trump’s campaign experienced a slight decline in polls. According to Real Clear Policy‘s polling average on Oct. 4, Trump lead nationally with 22.8% – down from 30.5% in mid-September – over fellow GOP presidential rival and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. Carson was in second at the time with 17.3%.

Trump in 2015

But The Donald’s “slump” didn’t last long – even though another incident was just days away…

Trump Insults Iowa Voters en Masse: On Oct. 22, Donald Trump retweeted an insult to Iowa voters, just hours after a Quinnipiac University poll of the state’s Republicans revealed that Carson had knocked him from his perch in the state. Carson had 28% of registered Iowa Republicans’ votes at the time; Trump had 20%.

Trump later apologized (sort of) for his offensive retweet, which was removed from his feed hours after it was initially posted. He did so by issuing another tweet, stating, “the young intern who accidentally did a retweet apologizes.”

Jennifer Rubin, who writes for the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post and offers her self-ascribed reported opinion from a conservative perspective, responded to Trump’s insults by saying, “Trump supporters and even some in the mainstream media have begun asserting that it is possible to see Trump as the nominee. Now, we would argue, it is easier to see him getting out.”

Unfortunately (for Rubin, that is), The Donald quickly regained his popularity in Iowa with 25% of the likely Iowa Republican caucus supporting him a month later. Another Quinnipiac poll released on Nov. 24 showed the billionaire in first place, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 23% and Dr. Carson with 18%.

Trump’s Proposal to Ban All Muslims: On Dec. 7, Trump made what was arguably his most controversial statement yet. The Republican presidential front-runner announced in a press release that he would like a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” This included tourists planning to visit the United States as well as Muslim-American citizens now abroad.

It prompted very strong criticism. The Philadelphia Daily News cover the next morning labeled Trump “The New Furor.” And the mogul’s GOP rivals also had some harsh words for him.

Trump on OregonTrump ban all Muslims

Regardless of this swift and fiery backlash, Trump continued to surge in the polls – in fact, he reached his highest point of the year. Trump’s support was nearly triple that of his nearest rival, Sen. Cruz, who scored 14% in a Monmouth University poll released on Dec. 14. Trump had an astounding 41% support.

What do you think of these incidents that should have stopped Donald Trump in 2015? Let us know on Twitter @moneymorning or by liking us on Facebook.

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