Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably noticed that Donald Trump is running for president as a Republican on an aggressive platform against illegal immigration.
Just a month later, Trump has rocketed to a lead in national GOP polls. The most recent USA Today, Fox News, Washington Post/ABC, and PPP polls all have him garnering about one-fifth of Republican voters, more than any other candidate.
Guess it wasn’t so disastrous after all.
So how has Trump done it?
Besides already having built-in name recognition, Trump has tapped into a growing frustration of the Republican Party base with leadership in Washington, D.C., which is perceived to be acquiescent to President Barack Obama’s agenda and against their economic interests.
Unbridled illegal immigration and trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership — which Trump has come out squarely against — are seen as a threat to Americans still struggling to find work after the Great Recession.
It’s not hard to understand. It’s about the economy. And it’s about jobs.
Consider Trump’s appeal in his announcement to disaffected voters and general lashing out at politicians in Washington, D.C.: “How stupid are our leaders? How stupid are these politicians to allow this to happen? How stupid are they?”
It is this frankness and toughness that has captured voters’ attention. The message is simple.
Trump is running as an outsider, and his stance against illegal immigration and against the trade deal — and the lack of action by the federal government to do anything to create jobs for Americans — provides a ready-made outlet for Republican voters who feel underrepresented.
In an interview with Breitbart News’ Robert Wilde, pollster Pat Caddell reported that “the alienation among Republican voters is so high” and that conservatively “a quarter to one-third of the Republican party are hanging by a thread from bolting.”
In a recent poll Caddell conducted, 84 percent of GOP voters and leaners said they were less likely to support a member of Congress who voted to use taxpayer money to implement Obama’s amnesty.
Meaning, the disaffection is real. And Trump has tapped into exactly the right issue to distinguish himself from the rest of the Republican field.
And now, with Trump leading the GOP field, and with frustration over the illegal immigration issue reaching a boil, he must be contended with.
Trump has tapped into something real. Something visceral. Which to an entrenched GOP establishment that cannot control him, poses a very real danger to their power.
Initially, the response to Trump was to dismiss, mock, and ignore his populist message on trade and immigration. But that won’t work anymore. It even seemed to help him. Love him or hate him, Trump means business.
This guest post is by Robert Romano senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.