All signs point to “The Donald” making a run for the White House in 2016 and in a nutshell this is his message, “Republicans need to pick the right person for the next cycle.”
So expect his bumper sticker to read something like, “Trump is right,” and let’s examine some recent media reports leading one to conclude that Trump is “right now” laying the groundwork for a serious presidential campaign.
On May 27, 2013 the New York Post’s gossipy Page Six ran the following headline: Trump Researching 2016 Run. The report began with, “Donald Trump has spent more than $1 million on electoral research for a potential presidential run in 2016.”
The take-away quotes are from Michael Cohen, Trump’s executive vice president and special counsel:
“The electoral research was commissioned. We did not spend $1 million on this research for it just to sit on my bookshelf,” Cohen said. “At this point Mr. Trump has not made any decision on a political run, but what I would say is that he is exactly what this country needs. The turnout at these political speeches indicates his following remains very strong and is growing.“
Then on the same day, May 27th , Politico picked up the New York Post story and posted it on their CLICK blog with the headline: Report: Trump Spends $1M on 2016 Research.
After reading Politico’s piece, I assumed Trump’s research revealed that voters thought he was a narcissistic egomaniac, only running for president as a stunt to keep his name/brand in the press only long enough to further enhance the value of his national/ global real estate and business/media ventures.
Perhaps the research did in fact show some of that sentiment, but maybe there were some positive signs too, propelling him to attend Christian activist Ralph Reed’s, Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference last weekend in Washington D.C.
There, mega-mogul Donald Trump was seen walking the same halls as all the other mere mortal, non-mogul Republican 2016 hopefuls – however, Trump not only attended, but had a coveted slot, as Friday night’s keynote dinner speaker. And to emphasize how seriously Trump took this speaking engagement, that day Friday, June 14th was The Donald’s 67th birthday.
(PJM’s video coverage of Trump’s speech with his comments on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs is here.)
“The Road to Majority” conference attracted everyone who is anyone among the GOP’s current crop of office holding conservatives and former elected officials all jockeying for a 2016 position in the wide-open horse race.
Here was the Washington Times piece and their headline about the conference that was attended by what was considered a small number of only 400 faithful: Republican political stars woo waning Christian conservatives; preach message of inclusiveness.
Why then would a busy man like Trump waste his time with this relatively small, but very influential slice of the primary voting GOP base if he was not actively auditioning for the 2016 nomination? Was he there testing his “positioning” campaign message on the Christian conservatives?
As Politico reported in their coverage of Trump’s June 14th speech:
Trump, who flirted with running for president in 2012 and has spent $1 million on state-by-state research on his 2016 prospects, said Republicans need to pick “the right person” for the next cycle.
“You can’t get it wrong again,” Trump said. “You got it wrong. And you can’t get it wrong again.”
Then Politico ends the piece recounting Trump’s speech in May when he spoke to a crowd of 2,300 at the Oakland County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner in Novi, Michigan:
In his Michigan speech Trump predicted Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic front-runner and that if Republicans “don’t pick the right person, it will be a landslide.”
It is no coincidence that Trump continues to emphasize the word “right” and cynics like me can “rightfully” assume it has a double meaning.
So does Donald Trump have any chance of winning the 2016 GOP presidential nomination?
There is no doubt that he is very wealthy, has near 95% name recognition, and is both a cultural rock star and an American icon known around the world. But can he parlay those advantages into winning primaries against presumed opponents like Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, and Governor Chris Christie?
Curious, I posed this question to Mark McKinnon, the chief media strategist from the last winning Republican presidential campaign in 2004.
Here was his reply: “Trump is not credible, is not compelling, is not gifted and has no experience. He has nothing except money and a big mouth.”
My response back to McKinnon was, “These days you never know how far money and a big mouth can take you.”
That means watch this space folks — for if Trump is serious about running for president he could be a veddy interesting 2016 wildcard. And along side my on-going Hillary Watch 2016 series, this post might even turn out to be the first Trump Watch 2016!
Can one even fathom all the blood and guts that would spill from a Clinton vs. Trump 2016 match-up?
There is no doubt it would be the political equivalent of a pay-per-view Ultimate Fighting Championship.