Why is Donald Trump doing so well in the current presidential polling? In spite of being loud-mouthed, brash and ridiculous, as of July 21, 2015 he was the leading contender among Republican voters by an average of 18% vs. 13% for the second place contender: Jeb Bush. A bit of background is in order.
The Republican Party has been running on certain dislikes, tacitly in some cases, for many years. Here are a few:
President Obama - The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president. (Mitch McConnell – October 23, 2010).
Affordable Health Care - While repeal and replace plans such as this (ACA) are our ultimate goal, it will require a Republican White House and Congress to become law. In the meantime, Republicans should continue to work to repeal parts of the health care law at every available opportunity. (Orrin Hatch – July 22, 2015).
The Poor – Evidenced by supporting Voter ID acts.
Mexicans – No road to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but no specific plans for discovering and deporting the 11M already here.
Gays - "The Supreme Court undercut the equal protection of every person who voted for their representative.... Now we have an effective oligarchy of five who decide the most fundamental issues of today." – (Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn). No mention of equal protection for gays.
Climate Change – John Boehner: “I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change.” He apparently thinks he is qualified to discuss the economy, even though he is not an economist.
There are others, of course, but these will suffice.
Although supporting these and other far right “dislikes,” the Republican hierarchy has realized that the party cannot survive on these beliefs alone. They have reacted by nominating presidential candidates aligned somewhat more toward the political center: John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012. In an attempt to mollify their staunch conservative members, they have tossed a few bones in the form of vice-presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan.
Along comes the Donald. By going up against the establishment, he is tapping in to the far right base, and so far has been successful. He has become their voice. It is not that they love him so much – he is just giving vent to their grievances against the Republican National Committee.
Although he has no chance of getting the Republican nomination for the 2016 election, if the RNC snubs him, he just might run as a third party candidate. He is ambitious enough and rich enough to make a good showing.
The Democrats would love it.