Thursday, May 26, 2016

Donald Trump officially reaches the 1237 threshold. Here's what he has accomplished to get there.

Donald Trump speaks at an event in Arizona. Gage Skidmore.

Donald Trump has finally crossed over the 1237 threshold needed to be the Republican nominee. He picked up a few formally uncommitted delegates who now support him. The current number of delegates he holds, 1238, is just enough to secure the nomination. There are still a few more elections, including delegate rich New Jersey and California, up for grabs next week which will extend his lead even further. 

We have all been expecting this since the Indiana Primary so it isn't surprising that it has happened. But put into context, the rise of Donald Trump seems almost unprecedented. Indeed, few people expected much out of Trump's campaign when he announced that he was running for president back in June of 2015. In the past year Trump has accomplished quite a bit to make it this far. He was the longshot candidate of longshot candidates in a crowded field. And now he has a decent chance of winning the presidency.

So what has he accomplished? Well I am going to go through it point by point. Even if you disagree with Trump and don't want him to be president you have to admit that his rise has been amazing. Here's the list of all unexpected things he has done to reach this point.

1. He managed to defeat a very strong field of GOP candidates. 18 other candidates vied with him for the presidency, and many of them were golden boys beloved by the party. Dynasty member, Jeb Bush, who spent $100 million only to drop out when it was clear he had no chance, was destroyed by Trump. Fresh faced and young, Marco Rubio was an establishment favorite but he too fell before Trump. Powerful governors, like Chris Christie and John Kasich failed as well. And even the outsiders, like Rand Paul, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, fell to Trump in the end. The GOP field was strong and yet a total outsider managed to win. 

2. He has survived "gaffes" and "scandals" that would have utterly destroyed lesser candidates. His campaign was considered over before it began when he made comments against Mexico and illegal immigrants yet he survived. He had a highly public feud with Megyn Kelly where he had been denounced for being "sexist". And his plan on Muslims was denounced by almost everyone. And yet, he still stands. 

3. He exposed quite a bit of hypocrisy and out and out lying by the media. Time and time again, the traditional media has lied about Donald Trump. When he denounced David Duke, the KKK leader that endorsed him, he stumbled on an interview. The media made it seem like he didn't want to denounce him even though he did days before the interview and did so immediately after. The media also lied about violence at his rallies. Though a few of his supporters did act violently it was drowned out by leftist protesters attacking them. Someone even tried to tackle Trump himself, but still the media tried to blame him. Because apparently the media thinks that expressing right wing opinions makes it ok to respond with violence. 

The attack on Trump.

4. He has majorly shifted the Overton Window. Before it was all but impossible to discuss illegal immigration in public. Same with criticizing Islam. If you did either you would be denounced as a racist. Trump has made it so that both can be discussed. You will still get called a racist, but now people are less concerned with the accusation. 

5. Trump has changed the Republican party as well. Before, the party relied on the votes of lower class white people but rarely did more then pay lip service to them. The real power was with the neo-cons and the economic elite. Even if Trump fails, that is no longer the case and the Republican party will have to pay better attention to the wants and needs of lower class whites. 

6. Finally, Trump has created real fear in the Democratic Party. They can feel their control slipping. They no longer control the narrative and Trump has exposed some real weakness in the party. After all, all it takes is writing his name in chalk on a sidewalk at a college to send young liberals into a fit. 

Trump reaching the 1237 threshold is a major accomplishment. I don't know if he is going to be the next president or not. I am leaning towards yes, but even if he doesn't win, it's impossible to argue that he hasn't changed things. 

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