Politics & Policy

What’s behind the Trump Bump

(Spencer Platt/Getty)

The good news is that we have a GOP front-runner. The bad news is that his name is Donald Trump.

The latest ABC News poll shows Trump at 24 percent, eleven points ahead of number-two Walker, and twelve ahead of number-three Bush. It was taken, however, mostly before Trump’s McCain comments, which led even the normally apolitical Dr. Laura to denounce him, and to do so, pointedly, “as a vet’s mom.”

The just-released Public Policy Polling poll shows Trump hanging on to his front-running status, albeit shrunk to 19 percent, with Walker at 17 percent and Bush at 12 percent.

Together the three candidates who have never held elected office (Trump, Carson, and Fiorina) are pulling in one out of three Republican voters.

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What accounts for the Trump bump?

The Left would like to believe it’s all that racism on the right bubbling to the surface. But the truth is something stranger and less predictable: This isn’t about ideology of any kind.

People are restless and hungry for a champion able and willing to fight. As my colleague Frank Cannon points out at The Pulse 2016, Republican voters are not anti-immigrant. Harry Enten’s data at Five Thirty Eight show that Trump is drawing his GOP supporters fairly equally from all sections of the party — from the Tea Party to the moderates.

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We have no real clue what Trump would do as president, but we are sure he would do it loudly and aggressively, and in a rapidly changing world, having a big, strong alpha billionaire on your side seems to have a certain appeal.

He is our id, he doesn’t play by the rules, he gives out Lindsey Graham’s personal cell-phone number, he beats the media over the head and calls his fellow Republicans “losers.” He’s politically incorrect on steroids, and he’s not going to apologize for any of it, ever.

#related#This of course has its downsides politically as well.

In Quinnipiac’s just released Swing State poll, Trump achieved a record of sorts: “The worst favorability ratings for any Democrat or Republican in the presidential field belong to Trump: 31–58 percent in Colorado, 32–57 percent in Iowa, and 32–61 percent in Virginia.”

Rick Perry has decided that attacking Trump is his ticket to increasing his relevance in the race, but it was Carly Fiorina, as usual, who had the best comeback to the Trump bump: “It would be nice if occasionally Donald Trump would throw a punch at his good friend Hillary Clinton instead of all the other people in the Republican race.”

Yes, it would.

— Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project. She blogs at MaggieGallagher.com.


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