The GOP Nightmare: Trump Makes Sense to Their Voters

Jonathan Chait: “When Donald Trump initially rocketed to the top of national Republican polls, it was fashionable to compare him to Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Newt Gingrich — a flamboyant media personality, briefly capturing the spotlight, but doomed to immolate. But Trump is not running a race like those other candidates, nor is he mimicking their results. Instead, he is following the pattern more like a candidate from an earlier cycle: Pat Buchanan.”

“Buchanan was anti-immigration, anti-free trade, isolationist on foreign policy, and a defender of cultural traditionalism. He deemphasized the anti-tax — and, especially, anti-social spending — themes preferred by his party’s elite … Trump appeals to a similar, though not identical, constituency … But Trump does have the same mix of cultural and economic nationalism.”

“Trump, like Buchanan, stands little chance of capturing his party’s nomination. But he is not going to go away, either. He appeals to an identifiable constituency that will stick with him even in the face of defeat or embarrassment. Trump has already endured numerous mortifying gaffes, by ordinary standards, and an apparently unsuccessful effort by Fox News to destroy his standing within the party during a highly visible televised debate. He will not run out of money. He can, and probably will, take his candidacy all the way to the end.”

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