Since he declared his candidacy for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, real estate magnate and reality TV star Donald Trump has been in the forefront of nearly every popular column, segment and predictions poll created by the mainstream media.
At first dismissed as nothing more than a sideshow, the Donald J. Trump Show has quickly become the main attraction of the 2016 presidential primaries. He currently leads the early GOP opinion polls in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationwide, capturing 30 percent in a recent survey.
On the surface, it would now appear that Trump does in fact have a path to the presidency, and this thought has become one that the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, many voters and especially the mainstream media have been all too happy to talk about.
It is also wrong. Let me be as clear as possible: there is no conceivable universe in which Donald J. Trump becomes the president of the United States of America. Nobody should waste their time even considering the possibility, because it will not happen.
Here are the main reasons why Trump will not win the nomination.
First, he does not have a base in the Republican Party. Unlike Ted Cruz (the Tea Party favorite), Rand Paul (darling of the Libertarian wing of the party) or even Jeb Bush (hero of establishment moderates everywhere), Trump does not have an identifiable bloc of voters within the party. Commentators have tried to make the case for him being a right wing “Tea Party” type, but the numbers do not back this up.
According to a recent article by Harry Enten, a collaborator of famed pollster Nate Silver, Trump is polling at approximately the same level among self-identified moderate, conservative and liberal Republicans. Trump would say that this means he is loved by all; in actuality, this means he is likely benefiting from nearly universal name recognition (something Enten points out as well) and does not have any true base.
Second, Trump is not a very conservative individual, and his policies are not very conservative policies overall. Yes, the man is to the right of the Know Nothing Party when it comes to immigration, and consequently this is the position most often invoked to demonstrate his conservative bonafides. However, his other positions tend to be to the left of conservative orthodoxy, especially in today’s polarized political atmosphere. Trump has praised single-payer healthcare, supported private sector unions and opposes altering the two biggest entitlement programs, Medicare and Social Security.
Finally, Trump is clearly opposed by the establishment of the Republican Party. Traditionally the party elites in both parties have had a large but somewhat behind-the-scenes influence on the candidate selected by the party to run for president. They act as the gatekeepers, and in Trump’s case they appear to be viciously opposed to him as the nominee. Not only is he a loose cannon with no discernable political values outside of whatever he believes will gain him the most notoriety, but the right-wing positions that he has endorsed are anathema to the moderate Republican establishment. Without their approval, the chances of Trump winning the nomination drop from very slim to absolutely none.
So the next time someone brings up Trump in a conversation about potential next presidents, look at them, smile politely and kindly inform them that it simply will not happen.