A few months ago, I wrote that Donald Trump would win the GOP presidential nomination – but that would be the end of the line for him. I was sure that Trump just couldn't shore up enough of the already too small Republican base to win in November, thus nearly guaranteeing not only a loss but a big loss to Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Well, I was wrong.
In the 80-odd days since I wrote that piece, I've been seeing more and more evidence of why my predictions for Trump's demise were wrong — and that his chances of winning in the general election look pretty decent.
OK, I'll bite. How you figure there, champ?
Base? Trump doesn't need no stinking base.
And it hasn't ended there. Trump is still breaking conventional rules by recently insulting New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez, a GOP "golden child," because all the conventional wisdom says Republicans need more women and Latino voters to have a future. But remember, Trump is trying to make sure you don't primarily identify him as a "team player" Republican anyway. That team is a losing team and Trump wants little part of it. And he's probably also aware that it's a waste of time for any non-Democrat to run after elusive female and Latino voters anyway. It sounds crazy to slam Martinez, but as Trump is proving over and over again, Trump's campaign is crazy like a fox.
It also sounds crazy to a lot of people that Trump has been actively going after the white vote. Why does a non-Democrat ever have to do that? Because white voter turnout has been down in recent elections. Trump knows he needs to energize lots of white voters who have recently stopped voting. He did that in the primaries and it's all still working now.
This is something that's been tossed around before: that demographic changes in states have nothing to do with voting, it's not that there's now more voters of color and more women voting, it's that there's a huge pool of conservative white, male, working-class voters (probably at a Home Depot in Pennsylvania or hanging out at an American Legion baseball field in Ohio, just tens of millions of them, man) that have dropped out of the political process over the last 25 years or so, and if they just simply voted again, Trump would win easily. They're just disconnected because Republicans are loser cucks and Democrats are pussy SJWs and if they all came out to vote, and turnout nationally would be like 75%, these hero bros would crush those people for good.
It's the notion that with enough while men voting, it relegates everyone else in the country meaningless in a presidential election and in everything else. Make America Great Again, indeed.
Did I mention Jake Novak is a white guy?
Oh it gets better, kids.
The second biggest mistake I made about Trump is something else the CNBC audience should appreciate: I didn't think his incredible abilities and experience at self-promotion would translate very well from the business and entertainment media world to the political arena. But I forgot that Trump has been a master business marketer for decades and has also been working closely with some of the best writers in reality TV for more than 15 years. And probably the best talent those writers have is making events and comments sound truly off the cuff and natural even when they are really completely planned and strategically weighed.
I don't think Trump has said one thing or sent out even one tweet during this campaign that didn't sound like something he truly believed and would naturally say or write. Even if you've hated 100 percent of the things Trump has said and written, it's important to understand that Trump has won a crucial marketing and persuasive victory simply by convincing you that what he's saying and writing is his genuine voice and authentic personality. It's called building a clear and identifiable brand. Winning an election is still very much about connecting personally with key voters and you can only do that if you present a clear personality or brand to the voters in the first place. If you're the person who sees Trump's personality/brand and have decided you hate everything about it, I have news for you: You're not the target audience. But you're still proof that Trump's messaging is at least very clear and that's often more than half the battle in business and politics.
Trump am sooper smart business guy brain man! You know, because Andrew Carnegie totally would have tweeted that people were losers. It's because the orange little peckerhead can slap his name on everything, and that makes him the perfect president for 'Murica.
And that brings me to my last mistake about Trump's chances: I underestimated how bad Hillary Clinton's campaign would be. To be fair, I never thought Clinton was a particularly strong candidate. But at every essential task of marketing and messaging, the Clinton campaign has been surprisingly bad.
We all know Trump's key slogan/promise is "Make America Great Again." I'm still not sure what Hillary Clinton's key slogan/promise is and I follow her campaign very closely. Is it "I'm with Her?" If so, it's not very good in that it doesn't seem to have anything in it for the person who isn't "her."
Chicks are dumb! You don't need them to win an election, and they suck as candidates, especially when you brand yourself well!
We might as well hang it up, squad. We can't possibly beat such mastery of politics as salesmanship, and we certainly can't stop this many white guys from winning outright.