It doesn’t matter if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Republican or the most liberal Democrat. It doesn’t even matter whether you love him or hate him. There’s no denying that Donald Trump has shaken up the presidential race, attracting crowds to his events while record viewers tune into the GOP debates -- once considered television to sleep by.
Donald Trump lights up our brains. No really – we’re serious. In a recent study, focus group volunteers were fitted with electrode caps and shown portions of GOP presidential debates. Guess what? Trump generated more interest than any other candidate.
According to Sam Barnett, CEO of SBB Research Group, which conducted the study, “Trump generated more brain engagement than his rivals in almost every demographic category, even among Democrats and Independents."
Now, that doesn’t mean he “won” the debate. It doesn’t even mean that the viewers liked Trump. It just means that among the 12 study participants, he sparked the most interest.
The reason? Well, that’s open to speculation, but it could be that he bills himself as the anti-politician. A Republican primarily in name, he represents a new regime -- a break from the old political establishment led by politicians like the Clintons and Bushes.
So is Donald Trump the candidate we need to combat voter apathy? Maybe. But is he the candidate we want to lead the nation?
Donald Trump tells it like it is (or like he thinks it is). And from the minute he tossed his hat into the ring, he’s taken the voting nation by storm. A successful businessman, billionaire, and host of the popular reality TV show, The Apprentice, he had the name recognition. And Donald Trump certainly knows a thing or two about showmanship. He’s spent his adult life creating an image, building a brand. And that’s carried over to his newest endeavor -- politics.
Maybe the most intriguing part is that no matter what he said – or tweeted -- Trump never backed down. And amazingly, it never hurt him. Unlike politicos of old whose campaigns could fall apart with just one false step, Trump not only survived his faux pas, but thrived on them.
Like watching a train wreck, the nation waited to see what would happen next. But Trump’s train never derailed – instead it gained both speed and momentum.
So is Trump the cure for campaign-trail apathy? Absolutely. Presidential campaigns are a long (and often boring) road. But thanks to Trump, more people are watching the debates than ever before. And as he likes to mention, his events are drawing massive crowds. But will those crowds translate to votes? Not necessarily. And certainly not if GOP leaders have anything to say about it.
But is it too late to stop him? For months, Donald Trump was the one to watch – for the entertainment. But now he’s the one to watch because he’s the GOP frontrunner. His supporters love everything about him. He’s charismatic. He represents a fresh face among old-school politicians. He may not always be right, but he says what a lot of people want to hear from a candidate.
So yes, Donald Trump has shaken up the presidential campaign. No doubt about it. People are watching with interest. They’re getting involved. But hopefully they’re asking good hard questions of all the candidates and comparing those answers. Because the real question is this: will all those things that make Donald Trump so popular as a candidate make him a good president?
The Democrats certainly don’t think so. Many of the GOP elite such as Mitt Romney (who called a press conference imploring voters to “Bring down Trump”) don’t think so. And now even his (former) campaign strategist doesn’t think so. In fact, Stephanie Cegielski justresigned, stating in an open letter to the public, “I can no longer support the man. No matter how many times he repeats it, Trump would not be the ‘best’ at being a president.”
So enjoy the show. And vote responsibly.