Kristen Soltis Anderson knows Donald Trump’s deadliest secret:
In order to understand why Trump remains atop the national polls, it is first important to bear in mind: Trump’s rise is not necessarily about “the base” in an ideological sense. In poll after poll, Trump finds himself in first place among self-identified “moderates” and actually faces his toughest challenge among “very conservative” voters who gravitate toward Ben Carson.
Furthermore, the main—and thus far, failed—line of attack that Trump’s opponents have used against him is that he isn’t a True Conservative. However, half of Republican voters say they support positions held by Democrats when those positions are ascribed to Trump. So it’s safe to say voters who put a high price on ideological purity are not Trump’s main demographic.
While Trump’s statements on issues like immigration have certainly endeared him to a slice of the GOP, it is far from the only or even primary factor behind his success. Instead, we also see his outsider status, willingness to be a “fighter”, and brand as a “winner” win him high marks.
The fighter, the winner, the outsider? It’s an act of course. But an act put on by a talented entertainer who gets to play by an entirely different set of rules, and who clearly understands that the greatest threat to his candidacy is not that people will be outraged by him, but rather that they will be bored, and no longer see him as a winner.
The reality-show host and promoter may be the perfect celebrity candidate for our age, no matter what his policies might actually be.