by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
For years, the conventional lament was that the “wrong” Bush had run for president in 2000. George W. Bush was supposedly tongue-tied. He was said to be polarizing. He was derided as too much the twangy, conservative Texas Christian.
If only his younger, softer-spoken brother, then–Florida governor Jeb Bush, had run instead!
So the myth went. …
… The 2015 debates now remind us how false that comparison was. W. may have been more controversial, but he was decisive, unshakeable, charismatic, and connected with crowds in a way the bookish, distracted, and “low-energy” Jeb has not been so far.
For four months, pundits wrote off the flamboyant Donald Trump for his brash name-calling, political inexperience, bombast, over-the-top narcissism — and even his wild, dyed, combed-over hair. But the wheeler-dealer Trump only rose in the polls each time pundits wrote his epitaph.
Why? Trump’s candidacy was largely created by underestimated popular outrage over the federal government’s politically motivated refusal to enforce immigration law. That issue divides elites, who are not so much affected by their own open-borders advocacy, from the middle classes, who certainly are.
Trump saw that angry divide and so far has brilliantly capitalized on it.