Every week we see new polls showing Trump as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination and a serious contender for the presidency. Many of the polls have even gone so far as to say that if the election were held today, Trump would be moving from his New York high-rise to the White House.
Now as a New Yorker, I have always had a special affinity for Donald Trump. Say what you want, but Trump is successful, says and does whatever he wants, has more confidence than, well, Donald Trump, and at the end of the day is pretty darn entertaining. But if you had told me a year ago that Trump -- owner of the Miss USA Pageant, reality show star and frequent Howard Stern guest -- could actually have a real shot at the presidency, I would have thought you'd watched one too many episodes of "The Apprentice."
Yet here we are. Or are we?
Despite what the polls tell us, I don't think people truly like Donald Trump as a candidate for president. I think people like THE IDEA of Donald Trump as president. We have no problem telling CNN or USA Today pollsters that sure, we're voting for Trump. But that is very different from casting an actual vote to put the almighty real estate mogul in office.
Let's take a step back for a moment. During the past 20 years, the American people have grown disenchanted with government and a political system ruled by special interest groups, egos, campaign donations, partisan agendas and a bureaucracy filled with inefficiency and fiscal waste.
We are frustrated, angry and tired of politicians who are all talk and no action and feel completely powerless and beaten down by flawed system. We are starting to ask ourselves why government can't seem to solve what seems to be the simplest of problems. Take illegal immigration, for instance. How is it that with all the billions of dollars we spend on national security, a group of Mexican immigrants with little or no education can simply jump over a fence and enter the U.S.? Our health care system has been falling apart for years. The Social Security system is on the brink of collapse. The quality of education a child receives from the public school system is increasingly inadequate and college has become cost-prohibitive. The national debt is more than $18 trillion and rising. At times our future seems hopeless.
Enter Donald Trump.
Trump is the antithesis of a politician. He says and does whatever he wants without any apparent concern for what others think. He tells us the problems our country is experiencing are due to the stupidity and ineptness of our elected officials. He tells us we are being taken advantage of, be it by illegal immigrants sucking our system dry or corporate America outsourcing manufacturing to other countries. He agrees with us that solving these problems is not rocket science; if Mexicans are coming into this country illegally, let's build a wall they can't climb. If we spend billions of dollars defending another country, let's send them a bill. Seems pretty simple to me. Trump says what he thinks, and whether we care to admit it or not, he says what a lot of us think but don't say. Donald Trump doesn't stand for Republicans; he stands for fed up Americans who are tired of government's inability to fix problems and effectively run this country.
But as happens with all good dreams, we eventually wake up and have to face reality. When it comes time for Americans to actually cast their votes -- and not just take a CNN poll -- will they realize it might be the idea of Donald Trump they want more so than Donald Trump the person? Or perhaps it is time to roll the dice and see if we can beat the house.