Real estate mogul Donald Trump is currently the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination for president. He has defied all predictions that his campaign for the nomination would collapse not long after he announced his candidacy.
Political pundits failed in their predictions because they did not recognize the pent-up frustrations Americans have with the seeming inability of Congress and the president to solve major problems such as illegal immigration. Candidate Trump has been successful in connecting politically with many Americans who are frustrated with the performance of government. Commentators are now reluctant to say that he will fail in his bid to be the Republican nominee.
What makes him so popular? Like Ronald Reagan, Trump is a kind of Teflon candidate who has not been damaged politically by singling out some top officeholders and saying that they are stupid and incompetent. He is popular because his message is connecting with the anger felt, especially by Republicans, toward Congress, President Obama and the federal government. The latest Washington Post-ABC poll found that for Republicans, and perhaps for most Americans, the number one quality they seek in a candidate is that of being a strong leader. Trump is seen as an “outsider” and a strong leader who is trusted because he appears as one not beholden to anyone politically, including campaign contributors, and he says what is on his mind even if it offends those of the so-called political establishment.
There are predictions that Trump’s campaign will still implode. If so, who will take his place as the leading Republican candidate? Trump’s dominance in the campaign has made it difficult for other Republican candidates to have their messages heard.