Donald Trump isn't going to drop out or suddenly leave the race. And he might just win it.
Trump has firmly planted his feet on the no man's land between the reality all Americans see around them and the fiction the conventional wisdom and politically correct speech define. In the process, he has increased his vote share to a lead in the Republican primary and improved his favorability rating by 17 points.
In the July 30 Quinnipiac Poll, he registered a 50-33 favorable rating among Republicans and a 27-59 among all voters. This rating was a big improvement over the 20-69 rating he had with all voters in their previous poll.
The establishment is waiting for Trump to make a mistake. But even as he tip-toes over the line of political correctness, his detractors need to understand that he — unlike they — is a media pro. Where they may occasionally appear on camera, Trump does it every week. He constantly threads his way between critics and says what he thinks. Doing so in a political context is no big deal for him.
Trump has taken the care — whether by learning or intuition — to align his own attitudes with what the people are thinking. He reacts to events with the same visceral understanding of what is going on as does the man in the street. In this, he is a throwback to Harry Truman.
He says what we think and what the other politicians do not dare to say.
He speaks openly and plainly about the link between illegal immigration and crime. The fact is that 800,000 people who are illegally in the United States have been convicted of a felony or a serious misdemeanor. Why are they still here? We had them in our custody — why did we let them go? How many times must we throw them out before we devise a system that blocks their re-entry?
These are the questions Americans are asking. But the political establishment goes into a panic when crime and immigration are mentioned in the same sentence, lest they appear racist. But facts are facts. We would likely have one-third less crime in the United States if we had no illegal immigrants within our borders.
While politicians fret about income inequality and the left speaks of raising taxes on wealthy people in order to give more to the rest of us, Trump boldly faces the question of how China is decimating the manufacturing industries of America. Why won't the others discuss this fact? Because they are allied with corporate management that makes money from importing its products rather than producing them in the United States at a decent wage.
Trump correctly states that the major factors in depressing the wages of our American workers are imports on the one hand and illegal immigration on the other. How can Americans expect to get a decent wage when there are people willing to work dirt cheap as long as they can get a job?
This is the age-old question Republicans like Abraham Lincoln have been asking since slavery. You cannot permit so large an influx at the bottom of the pay scale and expect the rest of us to earn a decent living.
There are other areas Trump needs to explore.
Disability: While there are many truly disabled people getting needed benefits, a great many of those who have recently joined the rolls are not truly needy. To some extent or another, they are faking their way to benefits.
There has been virtually no increase in the number of people with real diseases like cancer, heart disease, or strokes that are claiming disabilities. All the increase has been in hard-to-measure problems like back pain and psychological trauma. President Jimmy Carter stopped requiring a medical exam or even a note from a doctor to apply for disability. Since then, the way has been open for a massive influx onto the rolls. There are very, very few who ever get off disability and go back to work.
Obama wants to encourage the maximum use of disability and other programs to increase the number of people who depend on the government and will, likely, vote as they are told.
Welfare Benefits: Entitlements of all sorts used to comprise one-third of the federal budget 20 years ago. Now they make up two-thirds.
About one-third of our entire population is receiving welfare benefits – payments tied to need. This does not include those on Social Security or Medicare or veterans benefits – benefits we have paid into during our working years or have earned by our service in the military. The stat includes over 50 different welfare programs, many of which are beset with massive fraud. Particularly, the Earned Income Tax Credit program has been found, in government audits, to be paying out almost a third of its money to people who are no eligible.
In the past, when America began to recover from recessions and unemployment dropped, the number of people on food stamps has decreased as well. But that hasn't happened now. Obama is signing up people for food stamps and encouraging them to stay there regardless of their need.
Obamacare: Polling shows that the American people value certain aspects of the program: the guarantee that coverage will be possible regardless of pre-existing conditions, the prohibition against raising rates or dropping coverage when you get sick, the coverage of kids up to 26. The polling also shows that Americans are very unhappy with the requirement that everybody buy insurance and that businesses have to provide insurance for all full-time workers. If the GOP concentrated on repealing these dual mandates, they could probably get 60 votes in the Senate to pass it and, very possibly, get enough to override Obama's veto.
Trump goes where the others fear to tread. It is their timidity that makes Donald's courage obvious. He's not getting out of the race. Indeed, he could win.
© Dick Morris & Eileen McGann