Indeed, the knowing skepticism about Trump’s chances that Remnick expressed last summer was quite common throughout the journalism industry, from the most serious magazine journalists, writing with the voice of history, to most street-savvy, ear-to-the-ground bloggers: Trump had a polling ceiling; the Republican establishment would coalesce to bring him down; he didn’t have a sufficient ground game; one giant gaffe would inevitably bring him down; and on and on.Share
But barring an unprecedented convention floor fight, all signs point to the unimaginable. Trump most likely will be the Republican nominee for president. Some columnists are still holding out the belief that Trump won’t actually win the nomination — while acknowledging that their sweeping dismissals of the possibility were off the mark. And yet, others say we’re witnessing a sea change moment in this nation’s politics.
Months later, Fallows acknowledges he shouldn’t have been so categorical — as he told Newsweek in December — but warned in an email this week that Trump is an idiosyncratic phenomenon. “Everyone (including me) has had to learn that one or another line-crossings and rule-breakings that would have stopped any previous candidates allow Trump to keep rolling on through,” he wrote. “I think an underappreciated factor here is the combination of Trump’s distinctive skill, and a changed nature of this cycle’s primary. Trump’s distinctive skill is not so much as a business executive, where his record is mixed, but as a TV performer. There’s a particular set of skills that go with reality-TV competitions, and Trump is great at them!” (Read more.)