Donald Trump managed to capture one-third of the Republican votes cast in New Hampshire and that, by virtue of the still crowded field of candidates, guaranteed him a yugge(sic)victory. My post of yesterday, here projecting that Trump could not meet expectations in New Hampshire did not materialize. So as a prognosticator, I came up short on this one. But as a political analyst I am as confident today as I was yesterday that as the election cycle grinds on the Trump allure will wear off.
Elections are basically tests of trust. Ideally that trust in a candidate is based upon many variables with the most critically important variable being an ability to persuade that he or she is best qualified to protect the interests of the voters. In Trump's case that trust is premised upon his personal assurance that whatever he does will be "great." No policy prescriptions, no game plan, no specifics, just a pledge that he will do huge things and do them well.
Now beside my surprise that the Republican voters of New Hampshire split their votes in such a way as to give this charlatan a 20-point victory I still take solace in the fact that the process helps to further define the field by sending a clear message to certain candidates that it is time to pack it in. As the race comes into focus it remains to be seen whether the phantom candidacy of Donald Trump can sustain a lead. This will be contingent upon him building support that would have gone to other candidates who have since dropped out. In time the one-third threshold will not be sufficient to declare victory, although it could lead to a brokered convention.
I completely understand the feelings of anger and frustration among the populace with establishmentarian dysfunction. These feelings are legitimate and the pseudo-populist backlash that has inured to Trump is both curious and confounding. I was more hopeful than confident that voters would make their decisions on a serious evaluation of proposed solutions to acknowledged problems. To quote a verse from The Eagles song In a New York minute, "what the head makes cloudy, the heart makes very clear," I am still convinced that voters will reject the Trump campaign mantra which is essentially trust me because I am me.
If Trump has in fact reached his nadir at 35 percent, then New Hampshire could indeed have started the inexorable slide into political oblivion that I believe is warranted. But for the moment, he is a player and as much as my head tells me this is disastrous for the country my heart hopes that collectively Republican voters come to their senses and not risk betting the farm on a billionaire turned hillbilly huckster whose only claim to fame is his ability to turn a buck.
So as for eating crow, that is the best I will offer. Given the number of comments generated by the previous article, I have little doubt that passionate rebuttal will also follow this one and that is the essence of healthy democratic debate and discourse. So provocation can serve as an important motivator, especially in a political environment as polarized as the one in which we currently exist. So let the bickering commence, but be respectful as we are all in this together.