10 Reasons Trump Will Not Be the GOP Nominee

Donald Trump
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Donald Trump continues to rule as the polling front-runner of the 2016 Republican fields several months after his quick demise was widely predicted. His unexpected longevity has mostly been aided by for-profit conservative media outlets interested in a high-profile fight, and a mainstream media equally interested in appearances by the ratings magnet. But he probably won't be the nominee, here's 10 reasons why:

 

His Vote is Frontloaded

The voters' relationship with Trump is very love/hate, and Trump's support appears to be very frontloaded. While Trump leads in the "will vote for category" he also typically leads in the 'will never vote for" one, and he is rarely the top second choice of voters. A strong bloc of enthusiastic voters is very beneficial when there are 15 candidates to choose from, but less so when the field narrows and you aren't the second or third choice.

Where's The Money?

Trump continues to, umm, "mislead" about 100% self-funding his campaign and so far over 97% of his funds have been raised from small and large donors, not his personal bank account. And while Trump hasn't needed to spend a lot of money to get where he is now, an earned media campaign and get out the vote operation is quite important. Is he willing to actually do it? So far it does not seem he is.

History

History isn't really on Trump's side.

Anti-establishment candidates do not win these races, and early poll leaders - even establishment ones - have not had great success in recent years.

He is Very Unpopular

While Trump does so-so among Republican primary voters, he has double-digit unpopularity with the general public. This should eventually catch up with him as voters typically cast their votes for the guy they see as most electable in the general election.

Can someone disliked by 6/10 voters meet that standard?

Negative Ads Work

Negative ads work, and they just haven't been unleashed yet. And with Trump, there is plenty to work with from both his personal and public life. There will be a landslide of negative ads, and they will very likely due just enough damage if he doesn't respond in kind.

Positive Ads Work

While opponents will be filling the air waves with positive ad spots (and negative ones of Trump), there has been little indication that Trump plans a large positive ad campaign of his own. So while other campaigns will be highlighting their candidacies, he so far has very little air time reserved. This is either a sign of over-confidence or a lack of seriousness.

Reliant On Unearned Media

Donald Trump is almost exclusively reliant upon "free" media. The media - and entertainment programs like Saturday Night Live - love to have him on to drive ratings. Conservative talk radio has withheld mentioning his liberal stances to keep him as a frequent guest. This high-level support could continue, but it probably will not as it gets closer to election day and he has little to fall back on.

The Polls!

Trump's poll standing (mid-20s) is not too much for other candidates to overcome, and he actually fell behind other candidates in many state polls in November.

And polls have limited useful data to start with. Primaries typically have low registered-voter turnout, and polls have a very hard time filtering out unlikely voters, if they bother to even try. (2012 polls for the GOP were woefully inaccurate in most states.) A rise in online polls that don't follow typical scientific methods have also shown Trump a much stronger candidate than the more infrequent traditional polls. How useful are the polls? That's an answer we won't know until after the elections.

Beyond The Base

Trump's strength comes from Social Media, Clickbait Conservatives, and anti-Republican talking radio types. He has been endorsed by Dennis Rodman, Jesse Ventura, and other off-beat celebrities, but he lacks credible support from popularly-elected officials. So far, he has picked up no endorsements from any sitting US Senator, Congressman, or Governor.

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul are all in the double-digits with such endorsements. While this might help his "anti-establishment" appeal, it gives him few well-known advocates in states to campaign on his behalf.

More Likely to Be: 2016's Ron Paul

Donald Trump is very likely to be 2016's Ron Paul: the kind of crazy uncle of the Republican Party who says wacky things and people just shrug and go, "that's Trump!" And Paul was no weakling in 2012. With 21% he very nearly won Iowa, and he scored a second-place 23% in New Hampshire. With Rand Paul being too mainstream to absorb his father's base, they seem to have gravitated to Trump this go around. (Paul is polling at 2% nationwide). But here's the thing: those numbers could actually be good enough for Trump to win those states with the number of candidates out there fighting for the non-Trump vote. And if enough opponents stick it out, Trump could win many more. Does he win once the race gets narrowed to just two people? That's the part that gets a bit trickier.