It is never easy to admit this but I just have to: I was wrong. I recently wrote a blog where I went to great lengths trying to not write the name Trump, as in Donald Trump.
I argued that the pundits just didn’t understand why the brash billionaire was leading in the polls.
I assumed the reason he was ahead was because of name recognition. He did have his own reality show on television. He has been in the tabloids a lot for his love life. He really likes his last name. It is written in big bold letters on every property he owns. So people know the name Trump.
I thought that once he started talking, his support would just fade away. That has not happened. He has been talking a lot and offending people with almost every utterance, but he seems to be redefining what it means to be a Teflon politician.
He is, far and away, the leading Republican candidate.
The problem is how the US finances its campaigns.
I can no longer say it is simply name recognition. There have been some Republican strategists that have taken to criticising his followers as a kind of explanation. I saw one refer to them as peasants. They are missing the point, as I did.
I think candidate Trump is tapping into a deep-seeded anger that some Americans feel right now. Polls show many Americans feel like their country is in decline and they are frustrated.
They don’t have faith in either political party to change that direction. To boil it down, they feel like their government is broken and they are looking for someone - anyone - to fix it.
Remember that US President Barack Obama won overwhelmingly because he promised to "change" Washington. He has not. But the bigger question is: can one person, even a very powerful one, possibly fix what is so clearly broken?
I think the answer is yes, one person could change it, but it is going to have to be someone from outside the government who is a billionaire as well. No, this is not an endorsement of Donald Trump.
It is simply the reality that nothing is going to change the way this government works unless a billionaire who wants to spend his money promoting democracy and not on an ego trip gets involved. Every issue in this country comes down to the problems with campaign financing.
The controversy of Donald Trump's presidential campaign
The system is broken because constituents no longer have any influence. The vast majority don’t really know anything about who the candidates are. They can be influenced by television ads. The candidates need money to produce those ads, and they get their money from lobbying groups and really rich people.
It is not altruistic. They are giving because cash equals influence and because of a Supreme Court decision, anyone can spend anything on an election.
I cannot help but wonder if the Republicans who applauded the ruling because they thought it would give them an advantage are beginning to second guess themselves.
The very case they held up is the entire reason they have this “Trump problem”. He could spend a fraction of his wealth on a third-party campaign and virtually guarantee a Democrat would win the White House and they cannot do a thing to stop him.
The problem is how the US finances its campaigns. The only way to fix that is with a constitutional amendment and that would take a lot of money and years of campaigning to get American citizens to care.
Donald Trump is the most thin-skinned politician I have ever seen. I can’t imagine handing him the nuclear codes and then hoping Russian President Vladimir Putin does not insult him.
I don’t think that Trump will remain the frontrunner. I do think the fact that he is right now is because many Americans are angry and they think a billionaire can fix what is broken.
They are right. They just have the wrong billionaire in mind.
Source: Al Jazeera