The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll is reputedly one of the most respected ones and is referred to as the gold standard for that state and its latest one is a nightmare for Republicans and encouraging for Bernie Sanders, with Sanders closing the gap with Hillary Clinton 37%-30%.
What must frighten Republicans is that it shows Donald trump leading with 23%, Ben Carson with 18%, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker at 8%, and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio at 6%. In other words, the three people that the party establishment might prefer (Bush, Walker, and Rubio) could muster only 20% between them while the people the party fears will take them into a major defeat (Trump, Carson, and Cruz) garner 49%.
What is even more shocking is that Trump’s favorability/unfavorability numbers have improved dramatically in ways never seen before, from 27/63 in May to 61/35 now.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that Trump will never get the nomination and the general sentiment seems to be similar to that of people like Kevin Drum.
Roughly speaking, I think the reason Donald Trump will eventually flame out is because people will get tired of his act. This is the downside of getting lots of media attention: when you recycle the same sentence fragments over and over, people eventually figure out that you have nothing more to say. His supporters get bored. The press gets bored. The whole country gets bored. And while the endless insults might be amusing for a while, eventually even his fans will conclude that he sounds an awful lot like a fourth grader, not a president. In the end, Trump will end not with a bang, but a whimper.
The idea that people will ‘come to their senses’ and will get tired of Trump’s shtick and abandon him seems like wishful thinking to me. That is the kind of thinking of people in the pundit class who find politics entertaining. For other people, once they give their allegiance to a candidate, they do not get ‘bored’ with them, they root for them to win. While it is tempting to think that because the man is so outrageous people will fall away, there is no evidence that this will happen.
What I have a hard time with is the actual mechanics by which he is defeated. It seems like he is managing to do well without raising a ton of money or having the support of the party. Even his occasional falling out with Fox News, which would be the kiss of death for other Republican candidates, has not hurt him. So other than him choosing to drop out (which seems unlikely), how exactly is he going to be defeated? No one provides any realistic scenario.
One possibility is that he goes to the Republican convention with less than the number of delegates he needs to win and all the other delegates gang up against him and deny him the nomination. This seems far-fetched too. And if he should happen to have the plurality of delegates and is denied the nomination, you can be sure that this would create a major party fight.