A few months ago, I wrote that Donald Trump would win the GOP presidential nomination – but that would be the end of the line for him.
I was sure that Trump just couldn’t shore up enough of the already too small Republican base to win in November, thus nearly guaranteeing not only a loss but a big loss to Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Well, I was wrong.
In the 80-odd days since I wrote that piece, I’ve been seeing more and more evidence of why my predictions for Trump’s demise were wrong — and that his chances of winning in the general election look pretty decent.
The biggest reason is something very familiar to CNBC’s audience: management. In this case, it’s the kind of disruptive management that refuses to accept all the conventional wisdom and truly disrupts the status quo.
Trump, a supposed political neophyte, seems to understand the Republican base better than party leaders. Trump may have failed to win over all the conservative elites represented by people like Bill Kristol and the National Review editorial board. But what I and others forgot was that on Election Day, there’s not enough of that conservative elite base to fill a phone booth. Securing their support is no way to win a general election.
And, as Mitt Romney found out the hard way in 2012, even being a more moderate mainstream conservative with experience winning and running a liberal state like Massachusetts isn’t good enough to win the White House anymore. And it’s also impossible to hold down the conservative support and expand the potential Republican voting base at the same time.