No, Donald Trump Won’t WinBut as we learn from a new poll -- and this is not the first time we've heard this -- voters think Donald Trump is precisely the person they want with his "finger on the nuclear trigger" and tackling most other critical issues:
... When campaigns enter that final month, voters tend to gravitate toward the person who seems most orderly. As the primary season advances, voters’ tolerance for risk declines. They focus on the potential downsides of each contender and wonder, Could this person make things even worse?
When this mental shift happens, I suspect Trump will slide....
The voting booth focuses the mind. The experience is no longer about self-expression and feeling good in the moment. It’s about the finger on the nuclear trigger for the next four years.
Donald Trump is the top choice of more than one out of every three Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, according to the results of a new CNN/ORC poll released Friday. And it's not even close -- at 36 percent, Trump's closest competitor for the GOP presidential nomination is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, at 16 percent.(Emphasis added.)
Ben Carson, who finished second in the October CNN/ORC poll, fell to third this time with 14 percent....
Regardless of whom they plan to vote for, majorities or pluralities said Trump is best qualified to tackle issues related to the economy (55 percent, with Cruz next closest at 9 percent), illegal immigration (48 percent to Rubio's 14 percent), foreign policy (30 percent to Cruz's 17 percent), the Islamic State (46 percent to Cruz's 15 percent) and the federal budget (51 percent to Cruz's 10 percent).
Brooks begins his column with an absurd interior-decorating metaphor:
A little while ago I went rug shopping. Four rugs were laid out on the floor and among them was one with a pink motif that was dazzlingly beautiful. It was complex and sophisticated. If you had asked me at that moment which rug I wanted, I would have said the pink one.Beyond the fact that the typical Republican voter doesn't share Brooks's preference for the tasteful and understated, there's the fact that Republican voters worship a man who called for a party with "no pale pastels." Here's what Ronald Reagan said in his speech to CPAC in 1975:
This conviction lasted about five minutes. But then my mentality flipped and I started asking some questions. Would the furniture go with this rug? Would this rug clash with the wall hangings? Would I get tired of its electric vibrancy?
Suddenly a subtler and more prosaic blue rug grabbed center stage. The rugs had not changed, but suddenly I wanted the blue rug. The pink rug had done an excellent job of being eye-popping on its own. The blue rug was doing an excellent job of being a rug I could enjoy living with.
For many Republicans, Donald Trump is their pink rug. He does the job that they want done at this moment. He reflects their disgust with the political establishment. He gives them the pleasurable sensation that somebody can come to Washington, kick some tail and shake things up.
Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?Republican voters love that "no pale pastels" quote. They post it on Pinterest boards. They name themselves after it on Twitter.
Ted Cruz has tried to hijack the quote. You can buy A T-shirt that reads, "Ted Cruz: Bold Colors, No Pale Pastels." And Cruz is in second place.
But Trump is perceived by the base as both the "no pale pastels" guy and (to use the word Brooks uses) as "orderly." He's succeeded in business. How could he do that if he's not "orderly"? That's what the base is thinking.
I don't see Trump fading. Brooks, following Nate Silver, argues that the race is still volatile, and will be until February, when the voting starts. But wht's happening is that the expected volatility has been limited to the competition for second place. It was going to be Carson, now it seems as if it's going to be Cruz, and maybe it'll ultimately be Rubio.
But there's no volatility at the top. Trump is the voters' favorite rug.