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Wrong about Trump

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President last summer by claiming most immigrants were drug dealers and rapists, few political experts thought he would be relevant when voting began. The New York Daily News called him a clown. Columnist Charles Krauthammer said Trump's candidacy was not serious politics. The Huffington Post announced it would relegate news about him to the entertainment section. Fellow candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio dismissed Trump's candidacy as a sideshow--and continue to insist he's not a serious candidate even as they trail him in the polls by double digits. Few political observers thought he would be among the top tier of candidates when the primaries rolled around.

I made the same mistake. Here's what I wrote about Trump back in August:

Like other amateurs before him, Trump may speak for one disgruntled segment of the population, but he hasn't demonstrated he has the temperament to lead a nation. His current 8% support is probably his high-water mark for the entire campaign. By the time the primaries roll around, his candidacy will be nothing more than a memory.

Yet here we are on the eve of the Iowa caucus, with Trump still leading most Republican polls. The conventional wisdom has gone from seeing him as an early summer distraction to speculating about what might be fueling his popularity, to wondering whether he can win the nomination or even the presidency.

There is still an open question of whether Trump has the ground game to succeed in Iowa—a question that will be answered tomorrow, one way or another. And if it turns out Trump can't get his followers to the caucuses, he may fade like Howard Dean in 2004. But with Republican challengers unwilling to go after Trump and the mainstream media refusing to challenge his "religious and racial arson", there is a decent chance he'll have a caucus victory to boast about as the candidates head to New Hampshire.

I'd like to continue to believe that whatever happens tomorrow, Trump will fade before the GOP nomination is wrapped up, but there is a real possibility that he could be the Republicans' candidate in November. So the question for now is, what will it take to stop him?

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