No Filter and No Chance

Donald Trump will only become a factor in 2016 if he self-funds a crazy independent campaign.

Editorial Cartoon on Donald Trump


Now, seriously, does anyone other than “The Donald” truly believe his fame and fortune are going to get him anywhere in a Republican presidential primary, let alone a general election?

His candidacy has been a joke from the start. He makes for great copy, but so did Jack the Ripper.

He has no filter. His ego couldn’t begin to fit inside the Empire State Building. He has no knowledge of the issues confronting the country. He has no experience that would propel him to be taken seriously as president. He is all hat and no cattle, as they say in Texas. He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple. The lines on Trump could go on and on.

Now, I have to confess that his extremism and issue positions – on immigration, on same-sex marriage, on climate change, on Muslim-Obama-born-in-Kenya – do define a certain segment of the Republican Party. And a certain segment probably does spend too much time watching, and being enamored with, “The Apprentice.”

[SEE: Editorial Cartoons on Donald Trump]

But, really, does anyone in his or her right mind believe that Trump is a serious candidate for president of the United States? Of course not. Just as Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann never stood a chance yet, at one point, led in the polls.

So, Democrats who are rejoicing due to this Trump foot-in-mouth disease should step back and realize that it is July, 15 months out from the election, and there is little likelihood that he will be a factor in November 2016 or that most Americans will even recall the bizarre back and forth on John McCain’s war record. My Democratic friends can enjoy it while it lasts, but my guess is that it will be fleeting.

Now, of course, there are a couple of scenarios where I may be terribly wrong. Number one: Trump goes all in by self-funding his campaign, participates in debates and remains a candidate well into next spring. Not impossible, but a clear embarrassment to the Republican Party and the field of candidates.

[READ: Trumping His Negatives (for Now)]

Number two is even more serious for the Republicans: the independent candidacy of Donald Trump. The worry is that he gets so mad and frustrated with his Republican cohorts that he jumps ship, starts writing checks a la Ross Perot, and runs as an independent candidate in the general election.

He does not even need to garner the 19 percent of the vote that independent Perot got in 1992, but could get closer to the nearly 3 percent Ralph Nader received in 2000 and still drain votes from the Republican nominee. And if he puts serious millions into the race (Perot spent $60 million in 1992) and plays on the frustrations of the American people, he could be a real factor.

Will he do that? I doubt it, but with Trump you never know.

The conclusion: Trump could be a has-been or he could be a true albatross around the neck of the Republicans. My guess is the former, but what a wild year it would be if it turned out to be the latter.