Trump Might Win, Says Washington Post

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According to a new Chris Cillizza piece in the Washington Post, historical trends indicate that Donald Trump stands an excellent chance of being the Republican presidential nominee when all the votes are in.

“When people find out I am a political reporter, they usually have only one question: ‘Donald Trump can’t really win this thing, can he?’ My answer is always the same these days: Absolutely he can,” writes Cillizza.

Cillizza calls upon the expertise of Princeton’s Sam Wang to show that nominees with Trump’s polling numbers at this point in the year have almost invariably gone on to win the nomination. It was true for Mitt Romney, John McCain, Al Gore, and George W. Bush. Barack Obama and John Kerry are the exceptions, but that’s a thin strand of hope for Trump’s Republican opponents.

“Based on polling data,” says Wang, “Donald Trump is in as strong a position to get his party’s nomination as Hillary Clinton in 2016, George W. Bush in 2000, or Al Gore in 2000. The one case in which a lead of this size was reversed was the 2008 Democratic nomination, which very was closely fought.”

You get the feeling that the Republican establishment is starting to come to terms with this. It’s getting harder to find senators and donors who loudly declare that Trump will not be the nominee. At long last, they recognize that this is a real movement that has less to do with Trump’s celebrity and more to do with their own incompetence. The bill for seven years of complacency has come due, and Mexico is not going to pay for it.

Of course, it’s not over till it’s over. Trump’s improbable dominance could come unraveled once we move from talking to voting. By the time we get to the Republican National Convention this summer, Trump’s campaign may seem like a distant, half-remembered fever dream. Maybe Jeb Bush’s cynical attempt to buy the nomination will actually work. Maybe voters will decide that Ted Cruz is a safer bet. Maybe Bernie Sanders will pull off a few upsets, thus throwing everything into disarray on both sides.

The bigger fear is that once the establishment realizes Trump is going to be the guy, they will attempt to mold him into the candidate they want him to be. The brash, no-holds-barred pugilist will be replaced by Nominee Trump, the politically-correct centrist. Hard to imagine, sure, but if we’re talking historical trends, Republican nominees scrambling back to the middle is a time honored tradition. If that happens with Trump, the next election may look a lot like the last two.