They no longer seem to be panicking, but they still seem perplexed.
They are so used to talking to themselves, and not challenging politicians who are practiced at providing non-answers, that they have completely lost touch with how real people think and feel.
They are used to taking something out of context for a quick sound byte, or editing the footage to make their own biased point they can repeat throughout the week.
Then they just move on, because the politician has no real platform to constantly respond to mis-quotes. Ideological politicians need to stay on message.
Donald Trump is different.
He has no real ideology, so he can attack the left and right (and the press) with equal gusto having no general platform or political record he needs to defend. And while most politicians shy away from “unfriendly” reporters, Donald Trump will agree to be interviewed by almost anyone.
The bottom line to Trump’s appeal might be alarmingly simple.
We’ve now gone through two administrations that large portions of the populations on both sides of the political aisle believe have consistently lied to the public who voted for them. And both were re-elected because the other party couldn’t come up with a reasonable alternative.
So while MSNBC tries to blame all the country’s ills on George W. Bush, and Fox News tries to blame it all on President Obama, the net result is that a lot of people start to think it’s all Bush and Obama’s fault.
They want something different.
But while the extremists make the most noise, the real silent majority is in the middle. And they are just now starting to pay attention, and probably won’t be heavily represented in the primaries.
While he likely won’t win the nomination, Donald Trump will continue to be a force. And he may actually be good for the Republican party.
Unlike in 2012, we won’t see a series of marginal (extremist) candidates one after the other take the lead for a month and drive independents away from the GOP in droves.
The more mainstream GOP candidates can distance themselves a bit from Trump, not get the negative press they otherwise would have received. They can actually seem reasonable to independents and wavering Democrats on topics like immigration.
In the CNN debate, the moderators did everything they could to try and make Donald Trump look bad and encourage the other candidates to attack him.
He didn’t come across particularly well, but didn’t make any major blunders, so if his poll numbers stay high, the rest of the candidates are in trouble.
Carly Fiorina looked very good and should grow farther in the polls.
Up until now, Donald Trump has not needed to spend much money, instead relying on the extensive free press coverage the ratings-desperate cable news networks (and broadcast news, local news, and morning shows) are more than happy to provide.
But the summer is over, and the Super PACS are revving up their countless millions to pump up other candidates and provide the first real challenge to Mr. Trump.If unsuccessful, this may be the scariest thing for other candidates – the realization that free airtime may trump paid advertising in influencing elections. In any event, it will make for a fascinating 2016.