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ROBB AUSTIN'S TURN

Trump: the Billionaire, the Mogul, the Candidate, the President

June 18, 2015 

Four years ago I wrote about real estate developer Donald Trump and his possible candidacy for President.

Then, it was not clear whether he would run. Now he is and he is anything but a traditional candidate, and that’s exactly what I felt the Republicans needed, back then.

I still believe that.

His candidacy is getting mixed reviews from network pundits and political consultants but that may be because these individuals always look at the next race through the prism of the last one. They didn’t see Barrack Obama defeating Hillary Clinton in 2008, either.

History tells us that voters often take risks and make bold choices when electing a President.

The 1960s brought us the first Catholic President, something many people at the time thought would never happen. During the 70s, a little known Governor from Georgia became the first southerner elected President since Reconstruction.

In 1980, voters elected the first actor, and of course, in 2008, the country elected Barrack Obama, the first African-American President.

The ascent of Donald Trump is largely based on the phenomenon that voters are looking for someone different.

While many journalists dismiss Trump, that could be a mistake. Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer has referred to him as a “clown”; the Al Sharpton of the Republican Party.”

Voters however see something different. They do not see the real estate mogul as a politician, instead they see him as a no nonsense businessman who has “street smarts” and that’s a plus in their mind. They see a man who is confident, full of bravado, and up to speed on the issues.

Yet the question Republicans are asking is: can he win; can he go the distance and defeat Hillary Clinton without embarrassing himself and the Republican Party in the process. It's the last “unknown” that keeps Trump at arm’s-length with establishment Republicans and traditional television pundits.

Winning the Republican nomination might be the real estate tycoon’s biggest hurdle as the primary process is full of election law details and various state rules that must be followed in order to win the nomination. Celebrity only goes so far in a presidential nominating process.

This is not to say that he is incapable of waging such a campaign, quite the contrary. He is the kind of guy who can be quite determined once he makes up his mind on a course of action.

Money won’t be a problem but not necessarily for the reasons many may think. While he can afford to wage a first-rate campaign with his own funds, there are tens of thousands of middle-class voters who identify with Trump, and they will be great prospects for him to raise millions in small donations.

The billionaire may also fare well in a run-off against the Democrat nominee. He has the ability to tap into a unique coalition of support in a general election scenario, appealing to Republicans, Reagan Democrats, and African-American voters.

Support from this latter group will surprise many. For a variety of reasons, Reagan Democrats and black voters are not alienated by the billionaire, and could be key voting blocs in a Trump campaign.

African Americans admire his can-do spirit, and do not see him as a person who would favor the rich, despite the fact he is one of the richest individuals in the world. These qualities may also attract Reagan Democrats who are looking for someone to get the country growing economically.

Many of these voters also like the way he talks tough on foreign policy and immigration issues.

The country has a history of making bold decisions when it comes to electing a President, and should things fall his way, the election of Donald Trump would be the boldest ever.