(Mis)Understanding Trump

FoxNews.com quoted me this week on the question of Trump’s strategy in an article called Trump draws Clinton into fray, as he seeks GOP ‘standard-bearer’ mantle.

The key part:

While the Trump-Clinton clash could point to an effort by Trump to shed his GOP competition, Christopher C. Hull, president of D.C.-based public affairs firm Issue Management, Inc., downplayed any long-term strategy. He said the fight probably stems more from Clinton making the questionable claim in the last debate that ISIS was using videos of Trump statements to recruit.

“That was the opening Trump needed,” Hull said. “He understands leverage and he understands opportunities.”

Hull, author of “Grassroots Rules,” a book on presidential primary politics, called Trump an “equal opportunity critic” and suggested he’ll continue to take on both Clinton and his GOP rivals ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

The feud comes as polls show Trump running competitively with Clinton in head-to-head match-ups.

My own sense is that Mr. Trump – and other counter-Establishment candidates like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Dr. Ben Carson – represent an important departure from GOP politics as usual that goes deeper than the candidates themselves. Since 1964 the frontrunner has always won the Republican nomination, and that frontrunner was virtually always the candidate who raised the most money, led in the polls in the preelection year, and received the most elite endorsements.

That historical pattern appears about to change – though one should never count out the GOP Establishment.