Trump Is the GOP Houseguest Who Just Won’t Leave
Policy + Politics

Trump Is the GOP Houseguest Who Just Won’t Leave

Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency will likely boil down to a few months’ worth of verbal bomb-throwing followed up by a renegotiation of his reality television contract. But according to Darrell M. West, the director of the Governance Studies program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Trump may be able to buy himself a lofty perch from which to hurl his stream-of-consciousness missiles.

And, he warns, Trump may be around a lot longer than the Republican Party likes.

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West, who it turns out has personally been called a “fool” by Trump, argues that the extremely wealthy real estate mogul’s “penchant for bluster” will be both a blessing and a curse for his campaign. His biggest challenge will be his own penchant for bluster. “Americans like hard-charging leaders, yet they also fear them for their bellicosity,” he writes.

Among Americans, West notes, Trump currently has an unfavorable rating north of 70 percent, which would convince anyone without delusional levels of self-regard to re-think running for president.

“But it doesn’t mean he can’t gain some traction within the Republican field,” writes West. “With both Fox and CNN including only the top 10 candidates in the early television debates, Trump has a good shot at making the cut and dominating the discussion. He is expert at one-liners that may outrage many, but that also give him a definite niche within the GOP field.”

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As others have pointed out, by shouldering his way onto the debate stage, Trump will likely push someone with more credibility as a candidate by lower name recognition, off the stage entirely. At the moment, for example, he is polling ahead of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is widely expected to announce his candidacy soon. That sets up the possibility that Kasich could fail to qualify for the first Republican debate, which is being held in a state that has elected him governor twice.

Whatever damage Trump does to the GOP field, West notes, his money (and colossal ego) will make it difficult to push him offstage once gets there.

“With his personal wealth, his candidacy may not be very dependent on outside contributors,” he writes. “It may take a while for people to vote him off the Republican island.”

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