Shockingly, Donald Trump continues to surge in polls despite multiple attempts at political suicide. And while other candidates refuse to take his candidacy seriously, they'd be wise to consider the context of his appeal and adjust accordingly.
No, I'm not suggesting other candidates superglue corn silk to one side of their head and comb it over to the other. But Americans are tired of politicians telling them what politicians think they want to hear. Trump is a political gunslinger, speaking first and thinking later. Put a microphone in his face and you immediately improve Comedy Central's ratings.
And therein lies Trump’s appeal. In a world supersaturated with political correctness, Trump resonates with the electorate because they believe they hear HIS truth — regardless of whether such statements could one day successfully be used to establish an insanity defense in a court of law.
Americans crave candor from their politicians, and that may be the one thing Trump has more of than money. But too much straight talk will eventually prove the undoing of any candidacy. Just ask Donald Trump in six months.
If the unfiltered bravado of Trump is a good starting point for candidates with aspirations for the GOP nomination, recent history can provide Republican hopefuls a template for how to press forward even after The Donald implodes.
Willard Mitt Romney was probably the most scripted candidate in recent history. Political consultants, whose fingers never left the pulse of public opinion, carefully crafted every position. Each speech was tested against focus groups and adjusted accordingly (except the infamous 47%). What Romney lacked in personal appeal, he made up in discipline (well, except for that one time he didn’t).
Trump is to Romney what sour is to sweet. No candidate could ever fully hybridize the pathos of Donald with the ethos of Mitt. The former Massachusetts Governor was the political equivalent of a perfectly groomed golden retriever with champion bloodlines that just graduated from a rigorous obedience school.
Trump, on the other hand, is like that mutt that never stops barking or pooping on your lawn—and who would probably blame the latter on the Mexicans. You’d think his groomer had Tourette's or lost his vision in 'Nam, not that that makes him any sort of war hero.
But make no mistake, the candidate who eventually secures the GOP nomination will be the one who can sprinkle the right amount of Trump-ian platitudes on a campaign capable of emulating Team Romney’s metronomic indefatigability.