Trump-mania may burn itself out. By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt
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1. Wearing out his welcome: While Trump has been a celebrity for decades, Americans rarely gave him a serious look through the political lens. He’s something remarkably new on the political scene -- a populist billionaire, entertainingly combative in every interview, offering stream-of-consciousness commentary in his speeches, calling in to major news programs and appearing on television all that time. He’s devouring all the media oxygen. No candidate on either side generates that “what’s he going to say next?” curiosity.
But how will people feel about his larger-than-life personality after three months, six months, a year? How will people feel about his style when it’s not new? Will Americans want this in their living rooms for four years or eight years?
2. His overall polling isn’t that great. He’s still got some fervent Republican opposition:
A Quinnipiac national poll taken before the debate, for example, found that 30 percent of Republican-primary voters would never support Trump, the highest number among all the candidates. A late-July Fox national poll similarly found that 33 percent of GOP voters would never support Trump in the primary.
He’s got a 58 percent unfavorable rating among registered voters; 58 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think the party has a better chance with someone else. Among women in the sample, it splits 34 percent to 61 percent.
(Note Jeb Bush has a 57 percent unfavorable rating; a wise voice said to me this weekend, “If Jeb Bush gets the nomination, it means everything the Tea Party stood for was for naught. It means conservative activists don’t really matter, and we really are a monarchist party with a royal family.” If the race comes down to Trump, Bush, and somebody else, there are going to be a lot of Republicans gravitating to that somebody else.)
3. The 3 a.m. phone call: Who advises Trump on military policy? Perhaps no one, really:
When Donald Trump, the reality show tycoon turned GOP front-runner, appeared on Meet the Press this past Sunday, host Chuck Todd askedhim, “Who do you talk to for military advice right now?” At first, Trump had no direct answer. He replied, “Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great—you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have the generals and you have certain people that you like.” Todd pressed him: “But is there a go-to for you?” Trump said he had two or three “go-to” advisers. He named John Bolton, one of the most hawkish neoconservatives, and retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs, who is a military analyst for MSNBC and NBC News. “Col. Jack Jacobs is a good guy,” Trump said. “And I see him on occasion.”
There’s just one problem with Trump citing Jacobs as a national security adviser: Jacobs says he has never talked to Trump about military policy.
“He may have said the first person who came to mind,” Jacobs tellsMother Jones. “I know him. But I’m not a consultant. I’m not certain if he has a national security group of people. I don’t know if he does or if he doesn’t. If he does, I’m not one of them.”
Jacobs, who received a Medal of Honor (and two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts) for his service in Vietnam, notes that he has attended numerous charity events where Trump was present. “I’ve seen him at a number of functions,” he says. But Jacobs adds that he has had no discussions with Trump about national security affairs—at those events or anywhere else.
Trump’s style is indisputably appealing to many Republican voters, but can they picture him in the White Situation Room during a crisis? Would he resolve the situation or exacerbate it?