Opinion Columns & Blogs

ERICKSON: Because it is still August

I have not here locally dealt with the phenomenon that is Donald Trump. While I continue to admire his ability to command attention at long, rambling, unscripted press conferences, I still am not convinced he will be the next president of the United States.

Regardless, he is doing something quite amazing. He has taken the political class equivalent of the Island of Misfit Toys and turned it into a campaign team besting the best and brightest of the Republican Party. He has captured the souls of almost a quarter of Republican Party voters and fashioned a coalition of people angry at Washington; people angry at Mexico and China; and people who are angry at people of any skin color other than white. Oh, and we should add in the Christians who have some idolatrous ideal of American Jesus and have decided their savior will not be Christ, but a man on his third marriage who says he cannot relate to anyone in the Bible, cannot name a favorite Bible verse, has said he never asked God for forgiveness and has a prosperity gospel preacher as a spiritual adviser. American Jesus for the win!

I have never seen a single campaign composed of more angry souls — people who believe America is no longer great, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, Jew haters and more. If you believe the president is a foreign born Kenyan Muslim sleeper cell of one, you are probably voting for Donald Trump. In the same way, if you believe Washington has destroyed the country and there is no one on the national stage who can make America great again, you are probably also voting for the one candidate who has been in bankruptcy court more than all the other candidates combined. This is a coalition of anger, but angry people who are mutually incompatible. The Christians and those who want to make America great again are not racists and the racists are not Christian, but they all are on Team Trump.

Trump is a non-traditional candidate running a non-traditional campaign at a time when non-traditional politics works. It is called August. August is the season of Monica Lewinsky, Chandra Levy, Cindy Sheehan, Swiftboat Veterans of Truth, Obamacare town hall protests, etc. The kids are at the beach, the president is at Martha’s Vineyard, congressmen are in hiding from their constituents and the press has nothing better to do than focus on the side show as if it is the main event. August stories run like wildfires through the front pages of America’s newspapers and the lead stories of the nightly news.

Polling suggests Trump’s run is coming to a slow, but eventual end. The same polling that shows Trump in the lead also shows his lead has stopped growing. The numbers growing are of Republicans who are opposed to Trump. Political polling firms, who do a far better job than media pollsters, are all seeing the same thing. Trump’s trajectory has plateaued as undecided voters begin to settle in for the campaign season.

Much of Trump’s support comes from people telling media pollsters they are Republican, though they do not actually vote in Republican presidential primaries. Seventy percent of Republicans say they would never support him and more than half of the voters are not even paying attention yet. Trump is leading at a time when both Rudy Guiliani and Rick Perry led in 2008 and 2012. The candidate who loves the Bible, but knows nothing about it, might want to Google “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.”

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.