Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to Donald Trump

Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27
Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27 (Gage Skidmore)

Remember when Michele Bachmann was almost president of the United States?

It was July 2011, half a year before Iowa and New Hampshire would vote in the Republican Party’s presidential primaries. Two surveys, one by Public Policy Polling, another by Zogby, put the hard-right congresswoman from Minnesota ahead of the presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney.

As the early voting contests got closers, the polls became more volatile. At some point, Rick Perry, the Texas governor, was beating Romney 30 to 8 percent. In October, businessman Herman Cain had jumped ahead with 45 percent support in one poll. The next two months, it was Newt Gingrich’s turn. The former House speaker got as high as 40 percent.

Even when the primaries got underway, Republican voters weren’t ready to settle. Rick Santorum, a staunch social conservative from Pennsylvania, had a moment in the sun in February, rivaling Romney with the support of around a third of primary voters.

By March, it was over. Not a single poll didn’t give Romney a plurality. Most candidates withdrew the following month and Romney crossed the nominating threshold virtually unopposed in May. Read more “Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to Donald Trump”