How Does Trump End?

Here is a portion of an article by Jon Ralston for Politico Magazine in which 16 experts from across the political spectrum share their predictions. To read the complete article and check out others, please click here.

Photo Credit: AP

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Donald Trump’s rapid ascendency to the top of the Republican polls—and the blinding media spotlight surrounding him that has rendered all other 2016 contenders seemingly mute—has baffled nearly every observer. Even his longtime friends (and enemies) are fascinated. When I reached him this week on vacation, Las Vegas developer mogul Steve Wynn, who has been on both the enemies and the friends side of that equation with Trump, said simply, “I am as mystified about it as you are.” As he continued, “It certainly is a spectacular and perverse moment in political history. There’s no precedent for this.”

“What I am certain of,” the gaming mogul averred, “is that when you and I have this conversation next year, we will both agree unequivocally how convoluted and how mercurial the events of the world are. Neither one of us will have ever predicted the political environment of America [a year from now] as surely as I know my own name.”

Added Wynn, “Intervening events will be dramatic and unpredictable. That’s the kind of world we’re living in.” The Trump boomlet, too, Wynn insisted, shall pass.

But how it shall pass is a serious point of debate among campaign observers. With some help from Politico Magazine, Wynn’s challenge was put to top political thinkers: how does Trump’s unprecedented campaign end? Will Trump fizzle out soon, or endure for months? Will he succumb to pressure from the RNC, the GOP establishment and other candidates? Or only earn more attention as the race drags on? And is Trump ever truly “done”—or would he jump back into the race as a third party candidate?

“Maybe people will get tired of me,” Trump mused Friday in an interview with Morning Joe. Or perhaps they won’t. Below appear the best predictions collected from the respondents who dared speculate about how The Donald’s spectacular rise ends – Jon Ralston, Politico Magazine contributing editor.

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[Here are three of 16 perspectives on Trump.]

“There’s a more-than-reasonable chance that he pulls a Perot and runs as an independent.”
Bob Shrum, Democratic presidential strategist.

Trump is ripe for a Bentsen-Quayle moment in the first debate. Bush, Rubio, et al—no longer reticent in the face of Trump’s pandering to the basest elements of the base, the “crazies”—are preparing the putdown right now. The question is who gets the right opening first. But one candidate who won’t be looking for the opportunity is Cruz; he’s angling to take the reins of Trump’s buckboard of bigotry when Trump falls off and then ride it to the nomination.

He may have to wait. Trump can be scorched in the debate; but he won’t flame out because he won’t run out of money, even if he is a few billion shy of ten. He can hold on indefinitely, and he’s not the type to recognize reality and retreat from the race. In the end, denied a nomination he can’t win, there’s a more-than-reasonable chance that he pulls a Perot and runs as an independent. That’s what I’m rooting for and would advise the Great Bloviator to do. The “crazies” deserve a voice, and he’s it. And the GOP deserves to pay a price—the presidency—for appeasing and exploiting the politics of nativism and resentment that has spawned and nourished the low, mean Know-Nothingism of Donald Trump.

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“If the GOP keeps pounding Trump instead of ignoring him, they buy him time.”
Erick Erikson, frequent commentator, radio host and founder of the blog RedState.

Congress goes on recess in August, you have the GOP debate and people will start to take a look at all the other candidates in relation to Trump. I think he begins a decline toward Iowa. If you delve into the polling, a lot of people who are right now saying they intend to vote for Trump are really saying they just like what he is saying. As others begin to get attention, he fades. One caveat though: if the GOP keeps pounding Trump instead of ignoring him, they buy him time. The longer the party elite bash Trump, the more the base loves him.

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“Donald Trump is not only not hurting the GOP, he is a boon to it.”
Mary Matalin, Republican political strategist.

With apologies to, and respect for, my conservative friends and colleagues, Donald Trump is not only not hurting the GOP, he is a boon to it. Candidates would be well advised to pay close attention to the forensics of his approach, and apply their own unique personalities and policies to their campaign efforts. And the GOP leadership should quit insulting him, giving him an excuse to mount a third party candidacy.

Among other strategic and tactical triumphs, Trump is exhibiting in pulsing neon colors the contemporary political parallel universes of Common Sense America and Conventional Wisdom Establishment. CS America is, and has been for some time been, so over the incompetent, posturing national politicians as well as their irrelevant agenda issues and their counterproductive policies. They are aching for candidates with authenticity who will address their everyday concerns. AND do not presume a preference for their common sense world makes them redneck philistines.

Further he is exposing the multiple fallacies of CW Establishment politics, to wit: appealing to nontraditional GOP voters requires narrow and corrupt Identity Politics tactics; message resonance demands mandatory acceptance of any and all CW Politically Correct premises, including gratuitous, phony, solicitous kowtowing to the media; that strict avoidance of establishmentarian “third rail” issues is political kamikaze.

Once he gets to the debates, he will have to connect his bombastic iconoclastic antics to authentic policy prescriptions, as well as demonstrate his potential effectiveness by past performance metrics

Bottom line: he will not blow up, but could pump up overly-reserved candidacies.

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My own take (as of July 26, 2015) is that Trump is for many people a welcome, refreshing alternative to the other candidates for their party’s nomination for president. The more attention he attracts, to his personality as well as to his “platform,” the less appeal he will have. The curiosity factor will disappear. Meanwhile, he continues to be — with obvious pleasure — a rampaging bull in a shop filled with drab or already broken china.

Here is a direct link to the complete article.

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