Just how did Donald Trump manage to get so far? Think about it. He’s a businessman and reality TV star with no political experience whatsoever and yet he managed to beat what is arguably the strongest GOP primary field in history and is now, at worst, tied in the polls with Hillary with less than eight weeks to go. That is an astonishing achievement, no matter how you look at it. And, fortunately for us, someone with a great deal of insight did look at it.
Don Surber has written Trump the Press: Don Surber’s Take on How the Pundits Blew the 2016 Republican Race. What I found interesting is that Surber started out the 2016 so conventionally – and, honestly, exactly where I was:
I began 2015 by accepting the conventional wisdom about the deep bench of Republican governors in the race. But I liked Trump’s message. No one else was willing to say what he said: Build the wall. Challenge political correctness. Make America great again. My first choice, Scott Walker, faded, while Donald Trump blossomed. The napalm-vitriol used on Trump by conservative commentators intrigued me. The hotter their hate, the more I realized his prospects were rising.
I, too, got a bit of a boost at (some) of Trump’s rhetoric. Keeping in mind that I was and remain an amnesty shill (we really can’t deport 11 million – or whatever number it really is – people), I still saw the logic behind Build the Wall. After all, the fact that we don’t control our border doesn’t mean it is uncontrolled – it just means we’ve turned it over to criminal elements who ruthlessly exploit the people who illegally cross it. Mercy, if nothing else, requires us to build the wall – and, yes, if that means a twenty foot high, concrete wall from one end of the nation to the other, then that is what we’ll have to do. Build the wall – whatever sort of wall proves necessary to ensure that 99.9% of the time, no one crosses into the United States without our knowledge. But, still, as expressed here, I retained my doubts and shifted from Jindal to Walker to Rubio to Cruz. Anyone other than Trump. But while I – and so many others – were casting desperately about for any expedient to stop Trump, Trump was winning – and Surber has found out why.
One other assumption that drove the doomsayers to their demise was that this was an unusual election year full or surprises.
Well, Trump was unusual, but the path to his victory was pretty routine. Like Reagan, he won the debates and pilled up primary wins early and often. Trump succeeded because, like Reagan, he could speak through the media filters to get his message across. In Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, his critics, too, call Reagan racist and stupid and dismissed him as a celebrity and a joke…
…Those who wrote off Trump when he entered the race will write tomes to explain what happened. It boiled down to four words: Make America Great Again.
Ignore the press, find a way to get your message out, root for a strong America. Pretty simple, huh? But no Republican since Reagan has figured it out as well as Trump has. So far, of course! Surber is pretty convinced that Trump will win – I’m still not so sure. But if he loses it won’t be because of the reasons given by the MSM and the cohort of disappointed (and increasingly irritating) Never Trumpers. If he loses, it will because of the sheer political muscle that Team Clinton can bring to bear. Remember, almost all power centers in the United States are now pulling for Hillary – they are scared to death that someone they don’t own will get in. But once you’ve read Surber’s book, you’ll start to understand how much of a disadvantage they have against Trump; and like they had against Reagan, it is because they still refuse to take him seriously. I still don’t know how I’ll vote in November – but one thing that I have learned is that Trump is a formidable candidate. I’ve been saying for a long time that I suspect Trump is working from a strategic plan. I even suspect that at least some of his verbal gaffes were tactical. Don Surber’s book lays out just how wrong the experts have been so far in 2016 and are likely to remain wrong right up until, say, Colorado is called for Trump on election night.