What does Trump mean?

imageEveryone is abuzz this morning over Donald Trump’s showing in a new Fox News national poll,which has him in second place behind Jeb Bush for the GOP presidential nomination.

Bush tops the list of GOP contenders with 15 percent support among Republican primary voters. That’s up from 12 percent last month and his best showing yet. Support for Trump more than doubled since his announcement and that catapults him into the top tier at 11 percent. He’s followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10 percent. No one else receives double-digit backing.

It should be said that it is common for a candidate to get a polling bump after their announcement, so there’s that. Let’s say the obvious too, Trump doesn’t lack name recognition.

And then there’s this:

The bad news for Trump is that only 29 percent of GOP primary voters consider him a serious candidate. More than twice that many — 64 percent — think he’s a side show. Among all registered voters, nearly 8 in 10 say Trump is a side show (77 percent).

The bad news for the GOP is that at this rate Trump will certainly be in the first debate in August, which means the other candidates will spend far too much time addressing the outlandish comments the Donald is certain to make.

Though seeing a clown like Trump win the nomination is surely outside the realm of possibility, it does signal a certain merging of the worlds of politics and entertainment. People like what entertains them, and for many people Trump is entertaining.

Within that frame of reference saying “I like candidate Trump” means “I like the show he is putting on and I am going to keep watching.”

Politics ain’t what it used to be.

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