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Monday, August 24, 2015

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Trump Bump: Plus, How Long Will It Last?

What goes up must come down. So far for Trump it hasn't!

After insulting Sen. John McCain some pundits predicted Trump would be finished. Five weeks and he's still going strong.

The New York Times has a good story looking at the phenomenon from the perspective of those who support Trump. Clearly they are angry at the GOP establishment and do not favor candidates who would simply tinker around the margins of the status quo. They want a candidate who is not afraid to take on the establishment and isn't bound to campaign donors who tend to restrain more conservative reform minded candidates.

I sympathize with the desire of Trump supporters who want real change not just more of the same "go along to get along" type of GOP leadership that has shown to be so ineffective in countering Obama's hard left transformation.

But I have also made it clear that I believe Trump is the wrong person to lead the charge.  No matter what Trump says he's no Ronald Reagan.

How Long Will Bubble Last?

So far Trump as defied the conventional wisdom that suggests candidates go up then down while the establishment candidate slowly plods ahead. Remember all the early leads of outsider GOP candidates in 2012? Romney held an early lead only to see Texas Governor Rick Perry explode on the scene then implode. Following Perry was Herman Cain then Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. All the while establishment candidate Romney increased his support in the background.


But when it came to the general election Romney, like McCain in 2008, was supposed to be the best bet for attracting independent and moderate voters. They followed the advice of GOP establishment campaign consultants and neglected the conservative base allowing Obama, who never wavered from targeting his liberal base, to win TWICE!

Is there much doubt an establishment candidate like Jeb Bush would follow the same course?

Trump's lead continues to hold:

Bump Benefits

Trump continues to suck all the oxygen out of the room. Other candidates have a hard time getting noticed because the media is so interested in chasing after Trump. That's both good and bad. Jeb Bush, who was the frontrunner prior to the Trump bump is losing ground. So is Scott Walker. Sneaking up are smaller profile candidates like Carson and also Cruz, Rubio and Fiorina who may actually benefit because Trump is drawing fire that might otherwise be directed at them. Trump can take on hot button issues like immigration and put that at the top of the agenda where later these other candidates can pick up the torch and run. Trump may actually be providing these other non-establishment candidates with cover that shields them from the media's withering fire.


No one knows how long the Trump Bump will last. Most experts continue to believe he will follow the historic trajectory of prior insurgents and decline at some point (1,2,3). But since most of these experts thought he would be gone by now, we have to take their current analysis with a grain of salt.

No matter how long Trump lasts one thing is clear. There is a huge segment of the GOP voter base, which cuts across all ideological lines that is fed up with the way the GOP establishment has been doing business. They don't want another candidate who promises change and continues with the status quo once in office. The question for candidates is: Do you serve the voters or your donor base? It may that you can't have it both ways!

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