Surprised by Trump
Donald Trump has surprised me more often than any other politician.
When he declared his candidacy, I thought it was just a publicity stunt, maybe to sell more books. Larry Willmore (on the Nightly Show) did a bit where a box dropped on his desk. He asked: "What's this? A gift from the comedy gods?" He opened it. It showed Trump announcing he was running for President. Willmore said: "This is good news for me, bad news for my writers. Now the jokes write themselves."
When his poll numbers rose to number 1, I thought it was flavor of the month time, like at the start of the 2012 political season, where Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum successively each held the number 1 spot for about a month each.
When he held the number 1 position, I thought that was just because he was a celebrity and his opposition was divided among several other candidates. As they dropped out, the opposition would consolidate and Trump would drop out of first place.
When he held on to the top spot even when he only had a couple of opponents left (Cruz and Kasich), I thought that his poor polling numbers would persuade primary voters to switch to another candidate.
When he still held the top spot even then, I thought that the Republican party leaders would come together to stop him.
Finally, when he got the nomination, I thought the polls showed he couldn't win the general election.
I'm not the only one who was surprised. Even Nate Silver got it wrong.