How did he do it? GOP aides to every other candidate are asking that question right now. Donald Trump just came 2nd in a recent Fox news poll. In a couple of weeks he surged from around 4% to 11% which places him behind Jeb Bush at 15%. One can imagine that economics has a lot do with it. But it’s also his condition as an outsider, and a well-known one at that. Try these statements Trump made during his announcement:

  • I’ll be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created”
  • They (China) “kill us. I beat China all the time.”
  • “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists, I’m not using donors, I don’t care. I’m really rich.”

Will Trump suck in airtime and force other GOP contenders off of the Fox news Top 10 candidates debating ticket? He already is. In the same Fox news poll, disapproval of Obama’s administration on issues like IS and foreign policy were higher than on economic issues. But at the same time, in terms of specific issues that were a concern to voters, the results listed the price of health care and the nation’s economy around 5 points ahead of Iran and islamic terrorist attacks on home soil. Where foreign policy issues and where domestic economic and health care issues sit in voters’ minds seems hard to nail down. Does Trump’s tough-negotiator persona translate on some level into credibility on foreign issues in voters’ opinions? That seems a stretch, but Trump is compelling, and that means other candidates will have to devise ways to try and make him less so, or lose out on a debating spot later this summer.

Will a majority of GOP voters – never mind voters in general – ever vote for Trump as president? The polls say exactly the opposite, at least a poll back in March where almost 75% of GOP voters said they’ll never vote for Trump. Could it be that they suspect it’s all about ratings for The Apprentice? It certainly could be all about Trump’s cash flow from the series, but his senior political advisor, Corey Lewandowski – who ran voter registration at Americans for Prosperity – says voters want someone from the business world who actually knows how to create jobs. A tough-minded outsider who will deal with China and the Middle East in a no-nonsense manner. Let’s see if this latest Trump creation – Donald Trump as a presidential candidate – is a long-term plot or just a wonderfully obnoxious supporting actor in search of ratings. The rest of the GOP field will be praying for the latter.