Donald Trump

Donald Trump Is Not the Republican Party's Future—but He Is Where It's at Right Now


Gage Skidmore/Foter

Some conservatives have grumbled recently about the amount of attention paid to Donald Trump, and attempts to extrapolate what his candidacy means for the GOP. What, after all, does his reality-TV stunt of a campaign really reveal, especially so early in the race? 

Sure, he's leading in the polls right now, but that tells us nothing about how the race will eventually turn out. As The Weekly Standard's Jay Cost recently noted on Twitter, no-hope candidates like Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich all led the GOP field for a little while in the last presidential primary race. At this point in the race in 2012 cycle, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachman was in second place. She eventually picked up less than a quarter of one percent of the total vote.

This is both true and worth remembering. Donald Trump is not going to be president of the United States of America. He is not going to be the Republican party's 2016 presidential nominee. He is unlikely to be a serious force in the GOP primary race by the time voting actually starts next year.

Donald Trump, in other words, is not the future face of the Republican party. He's not where the party is going.

But it's also true that at this moment, in July of 2015, several months before the start of the primary and more than a year before the next presidential election, Donald Trump stands at the top of three different national polls, and is running two points behind Jeb Bush in a fourth. There are signs that over the last week, his lead actually increased. Which means that a non-trivial portion of the Republican party base has watched Donald Trump's psuedo-campaign—his series of planned outrages and ugly, stupid, bilious, fact-challenged statements about immigrants and everything else—and decided that they like what they see.

This won't last, and it's not a sign of some major shift in the GOP's tone or general political outlook. But it is the latest—and perhaps most egregious—manifestation of the party's willingness to flirt with and temporarily back no-hope crank candidates whose shtick consists largely or entirely of appealing to the lowest common denominator—what my colleague Nick Gillespie has called the party's "long love affair with schmucks."

Trump's blowhard candidacy is easily the schmuckiest in recent memory, and what it proves is how strong the desire to embrace these sorts of awful candidates remains within parts of the GOP, even after seeing how poorly these sorts of candidates have ultimately fared in the past. If anything, it's even worse given that Trump's awfulness comes not from any real conservative conviction—he's a Democratic donor, and former supporter of national health care, gun restrictions, and wealth taxes who in 2004 told CNN that he "[identifies] more as a Democrat"—but from a simple and barely disguised desire for vainglorious self-promotion. Trump is essentially offering to con the GOP, and, at least for moment, a lot of Republicans seem to be responding with affirmative enthusiasm.

So no, Donald Trump is not where the Republican party's going. But he is where it's at right now. And that is notable, and damning, enough. 

NEXT: David Cameron Declares War on 'Extremist' Speech

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  1. YES! Another Trump article!

    1. I too eagerly await this afternoons P.M. Trump Links!

      1. Reason has a quota to fill, apparently.

        1. Oh, trump off, you trump. Trump?

          1. How about Trump, Trump, Trump, beans, and Trump?

            1. I DON’T LIKE TRUMP!

              1. You can’t spell Trump without rump.

              2. Rhywun,

                You, the article writer, and most commentators clearly don’t like Trump. Rubio and Walker share Trumps current position on illegal immigration. Many fewer give this to them than to Trump, because he has emphasized it as a grasp for a shot on the interview stage. Again-its as new a position for him as for Rubio and Walker. Many of the others will now push this, too, seeing Trumps great success.

                Judge those of us Repubs who don’t approve of illegal immigration harshly, if you will. Those of us who read Reason are probably sympathetic with and approving of some libertarian thought. Please consider the reasoned position that, until we cancel some of the Fed wealth transfer positions, many of us don’t want to accept a continued draw of quasi or actual refugees from both this Hemisphere and others.

                That “continued draw” is made to order for magnates who want a depressed wage, and Dems who want prospective voters and workers for campaigns. If we can control our borders, libertarians will have much more success seducing support from Repubs. Win win!

                1. yup. def a win for those millions of darkies who get thrown in a cage for months on end in facilities where rape is even more common than in prisons. Its a win for the tens of thousands of kids who get imprisoned and deported, and the tens of thousands more who are made orphans by the hard working members of ICE.

                  Speaking of ICE, its def a win for the kids in Mexico they murdered by shooting thru the border fence and claiming they were narcos later. Its a win for the judges who all seem to agree that their families cant even sue let alone press criminal charges. because their mexicans.

                  but at least your job picking sstrawberries, or mowing lawns, or doing minimum wage construction is safe now. right?

    2. At last, our long national shortage is over!

  2. Oh, Peter.

    I thought you’d be above this. First jesse…now you. Is no one above the Trump-Goldstein phenomena?



  4. Some conservatives have grumbled recently about the amount of attention paid to Donald Trump…

    So here’s some more. Take that, conservatives!

    1. You don’t like your double-serving of TRUMP? Too bad! Here’s another!

      1. “Thank you, Sir, may I have another?!”


    3. I’m no effing conservative, and I think this is ridiculous. If the Donald has legs and is still in the race in any serious way in a month or two, okay. But this much coverage now? Leave this nonsense to the general media, which lives at this level.

      1. Yeah! Let’s talk about the Scott Walker and Martin O’Malley campaigns and the possible implicazzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZ huh what?

        1. I think you’re ready for Hillary.


          2. Fist does seem like somebody roofied his drink in that last post.

            I’m thinking we need to make “Ready for Hillary” a pop-cult meme for “on the verge of passing out”, as in “Damn, after we finished off that bottle of Everclear, I was Ready for Hillary.”

        2. I want more posts of hot female athletes.

  5. This is getting absurd, guys. I really hate politics-as-sport.

    Polls are worse than meaningless right now. So what if a showman is getting attention? That’s what he does for a living. If he’s still standing in a month, fine, but because he’s polling well there’s some deep statement to be made? I don’t think so.

    1. But if you get tired of Trump news, there’s always plenty of good Hillary puff pieces over at NYT and New Republic.

      1. She should be getting publicly pilloried, but let’s pretend she’s not a felon.

  6. “Trump is not where the Republican party’s going. But he is where it’s at

    1. Where its at!
      I got two turntables and microphone!

    2. He does have The Devil’s Haircut!

  7. Trump’s blowhard candidacy is easily the schmuckiest in recent memory

    I know what’s going on. It’s an adjective contest, amirite?

    1. easily the schmuckiest in recent memory

      I seriously doubt that.

      Which is schmuckier: saying stupid shit, or literally corralling reporters to prevent them from approaching the candidate?

      1. Neither – allowing foreign governments to set US State Dept policy in exchange for “donations” to your charity is schmuckier.

      2. Since Shrillary does both I would assume that makes her the schmuckiest.

      3. With a name like schmuckier, it has to be Hillary.

    2. “Schmuck” is Jiddish for penis, right?

      So yes, it’s the most dickish candidacy since Obama II.

      1. I think you mean ‘putz.’ But I follow your intent.

        1. schmuck also means penis. you know how eskimos have 1000 words for snow? yiddish is like that too. with dicks.

  8. REALLY?! More? Fuck off.

  9. Has the main said a single fucking thing that makes sense as policy? If not, leave this clown on the back page.

    1. It is news that the guy is making a splash. What it isn’t is the biggest news in the entire world for a week now. He’s not even the most shocking candidate in this election. I place him fourth, after unindicted felon, socialist, and guy who wants to use the army on Congress. Maybe even fifth after Biden, which, all humor aside, would lower the average IQ of presidents to sub-100.

      1. Seriously, Biden is a bigger concern for me than Trump. Once the media give up on Hillary they are going to turn to a “serious” candidate with experience but less baggage.

        1. You have to admit, though, a Biden presidency would be HILARIOUS.

          1. Joey Plugs as Preezy? Definitely need to prepare a ratline to someplace smarter- like Guatemala.

        2. Yeah but those dreamy Ray-Bans… know, the ones that scream Presidential Authority.

    2. Well, everyone wanted to dump the Iowa straw poll – now they have to live with the consequences…

  10. Donald Trump is not going to be president of the United States of America.

    GASP! But he speaks to me at the core of my very being.

    This smacks of KMW stating last time that, AND I QUOTE, “Ron Paul will be president over my dead body.”

  11. Somebody puts a gun to your head and tells you you have to vote for Trump, McCain or Romney. As you think about it, think about the fact that you’re trying to figure out “would it really make a rat’s ass bit of difference which of the three I picked”? And then think about the fact that the GOP actually picked two of those ass-clowns to run the circus. “What difference, at this point, does it make?” really is an all-purpose campaign slogan, isn’t it?

    1. Trump, McCain or Romney


        1. Winner

      1. McRumpney

  12. “Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich all led the GOP field for a little while in the last presidential primary race”………and then fizzled out as expected.



    The fuck is wrong with everyone at Reason these days? Yes Matt and Pete, Trump will fizzle out like the others did. No, he isn’t the “face of the GOP” just like the others weren’t last time, despite the fact that he is bringing up stuff the center facing pols don’t want to talk about.



    1. I read your comment but like Malkovich going through the portal in Being John Malkovich all I could see was TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP.

    2. Well, if it came out Paul’s name was on some racist newsletters that were published 30 years ago Reason would be talking a lot about Paul. there is that.

      What do you want TMAN?

  13. Reason doesn’t like Republicans and whoops up Trump as the embodiment of the party.

    Well, hey, any stick will do to best a dog, but Jaysus, that dog is pretty much a mass of blood-clotted hair and dog meat hamburger by now.

    1. well “beat” a dog.

      1. It still made perfect sense in Hayseed-english

        1. Authentic Western gibberish

          1. Indeed…..

            I wash born here, an I wash raished here, and dad gum it, I am gonna die here, an no sidewindin’ bushwackin’, hornswagglin’ cracker croaker is gonna rouin me bishen cutter!

        2. Which is my Muttersprache as all will have noticed by now.

  14. Trump plays Reason. Reason plays the commentariat. The commentariat dances and dances. Me, I like to dance, so it’s cool.

    1. Plus I’m sitting in a villa on the side of Mauna Kea with a view of the Pacific and a fridge full of cold beer (and some Wi-fi finally).So it’s ALL cool. I’ve missed you dopes, but not that much.

      1. Oh, and there’s a tree full of limes just a few steps off the lanai, so I may be forced to shlep off to Hilo later for some gin and some tonic. How I suffer.

        1. You put the lime in the coconut

        2. *shakes fist, demands Kona coffee*

          1. Blue Mountain or Kona = discuss.

            I prefer the former, although I’ve never had the latter in situ quite the same way

            99% of the stuff labeled as such in the US isn’t even remotely the real deal.

            1. I’ll pick… Whiskey.

    2. Pretty much. But is it too much to expect Reason to be something besides a trolling operation? Is it really just Gawker without the dick picks and the gay extortion plots?

  15. So a guy who is only getting 24% support and has the highest negatives of any candidate is “where the party is now”? Really?

    And if Trump is where the Republicans are, why isn’t Bernie Sanders where the Democrats are? Yeah, I am sure Sudernman will be writing an article associating the entire Democratic Party with Bernie Sanders real soon.

    This is ridiculous.

    1. Must be a big cocktail party comin’ up, amirite?!!!

      1. Actually, if any of you are in Hilo at the moment and want to bring up some gin and some ice…

      2. The funny thing is I go to such things. And the Reason people are not at the good ones. They try so hard and they still are not one of the cool people.

        1. well keep commenting on their blog. that will show ’em.

    2. No John this is very concerning. Aren’t you concerned?

      1. I don’t know why it is concerning. It is however kind of sad and in its own way funny.

        My mistake is I am not like citizen nothing and am dumb enough to take these people seriously and expect something better.

  16. Go! Trump Go! For the sake of Christ Don, keep going.

    1. If I thought he could win, I would agree with you. He couldn’t be any worse than Obama and the Butt hurt over it would be fabulous.

      1. I am in just the for lulz. Seriously, I want to see Biden v. Trump. Imagine the shit that would come out of their mouths during the debates. It wouldn’t exactly be fiddling while Rome burned. It would be more like Rome burning during a stand up comedy routine.

      2. Are you kidding, the butthurt would be so dense, you could probably get a DUI from all that schadenfruede.

  17. Dear Lord, even Trump doesn’t talk about Trump so much.

    1. Donald Trump is America. Don’t you know that? He is not where it is going because of the milenials. But he is America today.

      1. Will he at least hire that nice guy who did “Walk on the Wild Side” to play at his campaign events?

  18. C’mon, Trump would be an awesome president… or even Biden.

    If the ship is going down, we might as well have a floor show too.

    1. This is in line with my thinking as well.

  19. Reason won’t cover the last trump as much as it covers *this* Trump.

  20. Maybe Reince Priebus should give him another scolding.

    Anybody watch FOX News regularly? They usually do what they think is in the best interest of the party. Are they ignoring Trump or giving him the same attention everyone else is?

    1. Anybody watch FOX News regularly?

      Well it would seem that you do. Please tell us more about this Trump fellow.

      1. I watch MSNBC so I know his every move.

  21. Donald Trump is not going to be president of the United States of America.

    File this one under “Famous Last Words”.

  22. A Hispanic political confrere of mine at a meeting tonight said he was very enthusiastic about Trump for prez.

  23. I think Trump is fun and probably good for the GOP. The debate will get ratings.

    Someone will come up with some jiujitsu move on Trump or maybe not.

    (I’m wondering if he insults Perry and Perry dukes it out with him….)

    In fact, I have a feeling that in the future, we will have more entertainment candidates.

    Maybe even just throw on a guest celebrity onto debates for fun.

    The Dems should have Jon Stewart in the debates just to mix it up.

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