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Trump's rise in the polls has mystified veteran GOP field

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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The enigmatic presidential campaign of billionaire Donald Trump continues to confound election watchers, pundits, voters and even the other primary candidates. National Public Radio has even dubbed the phenomena of understanding how Trump remains at the top "Trumpology."

Trump remains at the top of the polls for the Republican nominee for president despite gaffes and statements that would sink other candidates, a lack of political experience and a dearth of actual policies he would enact if elected president. According to viewers, candidate Carly Fiorina trumped Trump at the second national debate last week, yet is still a distant second.

Rather than float policies or strategies to confront our nation's problems, Trump has managed to capture voter anger toward Washington and politicians in general. He voices frustration without offering any real solutions, yet voters have responded.

His off-the-cuff, unplanned and unscripted statements stand in stark contrast to the carefully constructed and vetted statements by other candidates, all of whom fear the single gaffe or misstep that could push them out of the race. For decades, candidates craft their political personas, careful to avoid statements that could offend one group or another, dodging questions with vague statements or duplicitous double talk. Trump flips that conventional wisdom on its head, making offensive statements on national television, picking fights on Twitter and insulting opponents and special interest groups alike that earn him scorn but seemingly do not affect his poll numbers.

As a billionaire, Trump does not need to kowtow to voters nor wealthy donors, and voters respect that arrogant pomposity because of its sincerity even if they recoil at the substance of his statements. Opponents who try to emulate him with provocative statements or fight back fail, sometimes humorously.

The summer of rage against Washington will likely not turn into meaningful votes come 2016. Voters are more than happy to see a predator behind the podium, but when they begin to look at candidates' plans and policies, Trump will fall short if he hasn't already left the race.

However, he has shaken up the establishment of both major parties and his strategy — or lack thereof — will reshape political campaigning long after election day 2016.

Lack of experience is Trump's biggest drawback. Only three presidents in U.S. history were elected with no previous experience in political office, yet they were all victorious generals in major American wars. Dwight D. Eisenhower had a successful administration, but Ulysses S. Grant was a noted "failed" president and Zachary Taylor died in office after only a year.

Trump's bankruptcies, business history, vague platforms and lack of political experience are major drawbacks that voters have put aside because of the angst he's channeled and the entertainment he has provided thus far.

Gaffeprone Vice President Joe Biden is floating the idea of entering the race. One can only dream of a Biden-Trump debate. Imagine the ratings.

— Christopher Fox Graham Managing Editor

Copyright 2015 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: September 23, 2015

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