We’ve put it off for long enough. We’ve made fun, and we’ve enjoyed it. Because, well frankly… it’s been enjoyable.
But at the same time, perhaps it’s now arrived, the moment where we need to start reflecting on what the billionaire hotel magnate’s campaign for the Presidency means for the race.
With some polls placing support for Trump as high as 41% among self identified Republicans, he dwarfs his nearest rival by almost a factor of three (at least since the brief wave of support that Ben Carson enjoyed subsided).
So then why is it that senior strategists and campaigners such as Karl Rove are speaking out against the would be candidate, claiming that his candidature would cause him to “get creamed” by Clinton?
Well – for one thing, it would.
Polling aggregators Huffpost Pollster recently collated a series of different national and subnational polls, which together projected that not only would Trump lose on current polling to Clinton, he would also lose to her more radical rival, Bernie Sanders.
This alone should give Trump pause for thought. But that isn’t all that’s keeping Trump up at night.
With the recent polls in Iowa indicating that Trump would lose to rival Ted Cruz in the first of the primaries by 10 points, the candidate has now broken his previously held silence against the man, coming out instead to call Cruz a “maniac” and threatening to run as an independent.
Yesterday he committed to NOT running for president as an independent, during the CNN hosted Republican debate.
Trump said he is “totally committed to the Republican Party” and said he feels “very honored to be the front-runner”. Will he keep this promise at the very end?
He now wants to became the Republican candidate, maybe with a more moderate running mate as Vice Presidential candidate, like Ted Cruz.
But with polls turning against Trump in key states, and with support for him waning within the party, it seems that he’s starting to get a little bit concerned. That’s why he’s attacking friend and fellow candidate, Cruz, and it’s why he’s resorting to new and even Trumpier tactics – like producing a doctor’s note to verify his health.
So if a Trump victory still doesn’t seem to be the likely outcome, (and it certainly doesn’t), why then are people preparing themselves for something of that order?
Well, as former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said “a week is a long time in politics”. And in American politics, where things move at a pace quite unlike anywhere else, no one ever wants to rule anything in or out.
But while Democratic strategists around the country are not doubt war gaming a range of scenarios to prepare an eventual Democratic candidate for any potential outcome, pollsters on the progressive side of the aisle continue to keep Trump in these planning sessions.
Well as Democratic pollsters Fernand Amandi and Stan Greenberg have warned, a Trump victory is unlikely, but not impossible. Democrats need to prepare themselves for a Trump nomination, because with his latest comments about Muslims, he seems to be almost bracing himself for a major terror attack.
While such an event would be awful and hopefully highly unlikely event, it would also be incredibly likely to cause many Americans to lurch towards a radical figure like Trump.
As we’ve seen in recent events, people respond to acts of terror, they seek security in their land and they often do so in far right, or radical places.
It’s hard to consider such a possibility because ultimately, we don’t plan our lives, and much less our politics on the basis of one-off, extreme and improbable events. But a terror attack isn’t the only outcome that could see America lurch Trump-wards.
A financial crisis, natural disasters or any other significant change in domestic settings is likely to create an even greater shake-up in American politics than already exists. And who knows what could happen if such a thing were to take place.
The smart money still isn’t on Trump. He’s got enough money anyway. And with candidates a dime a dozen within the Republican race, no one is willing to predict the eventual nominee with any degree of confidence, this early in the game.
But at the same time, we’ve all been quick to write off Trump. We still have no reason to believe that he’ll actually go the distance, in the primaries or in the General Election.
All we have is reason to stop and think. We should stop, think, and like many across America have already started to do, try and contemplate just what a Trump Presidency would look like for the world.