The best politicians are able to transcend their political party and present a vision for all Americans. Only by doing so can they successfully make the transition from the primaries to the general election.
While many conservatives have expressed alarm about Donald Trump, they are only doing so because of his willingness to think independently without following conservative dogma.
Like him or hate him, you must admit Mr. Trump is his own man and reaches his own conclusions. Once you strip away all the bluster, the political opposition and the schoolyard rhetoric, you find a person who has carved out his own niche in the electorate, one many people will struggle to oppose.
That fact positions Mr. Trump for the general election with many tried and true Democratic states now in play. The Clinton campaign should be careful not to underestimate Mr. Trump’s appeal among blue collar and patriotic voters.
The conservative party has become accustomed to its candidates meeting a series of litmus tests, and non-compliance has inevitably meant a primary challenge from the right and other forms of punishment, e.g., John Boehner’s resignation as House Speaker.
Yet the political establishment lacks any leverage against Donald Trump. His self-funding campaign steers clear of commitments to typical Republican donors. Trump’s free-wheeling conversations at his rallies — they can be compared to a mix between a more formal speech and a town hall — are captivating to the audience and media alike.
Many have questioned whether Trump’s approach and policy prescriptions represent the end of the Republican Party as a bastion for conservatives. God knows, they will not go quietly. But once the nomination is wrapped up, Trump will give more voice to his non-conformist elements, and that may swing the tide in the general election.
Until Trump leaves the stage, either in a few months or in eight years, we may not know the true fate of conservatives and the Republican Party. How things will play out is very much in the air.