Could a smarter and more savvy Trump succeed as much as the real thing?

After seeing the umpteenth post on this board musing that a politician who was a carbon copy of Trump except for being politically smarter could gain power in the same way the current President did, and be more effective at getting things done (and therefore, in some eyes, more destructive), I thought I’d examine that assumption.

I always thought that a big part of the reason for Trump’s success was that he “told it like it is” - i.e. he defied political conventions. Wouldn’t following those same conventions, even if the hypothetical politico actually had the same beliefs and goals as Trump (whatever the hell they are), be “missing the point” to a lot of current Trump supporters. In other words, would the gain in “fooled” moderates outweigh the loss of Trump die hards who love him BECAUSE of his “outrageous” behavior and rhetoric? My instincts say no.

What do yours say?

I suspect you’re right. A lot of good investigative journalism and academic research has shown that Trump won those those 200,000 voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin because these voters basically said “I want a president who’s as dumb as I am.” Not in those exact words, of course, but that really was the upshot.

A big part of his early success was his free wall-to-wall coverage, which he only got because there was always a good chance that he’d “tell it like it is,” i.e. say something moronic.

I don’t think so. I think that without his celebrity, he’d be just another moron among morons. Carbon copy of Trump would have to include his celebrity. Without that, he’s a very, very VERY long shot.

OP, are you referring to the first bit of my post?

My “competent Trump” wouldn’t be a boring Republican hack like Jeb or Rubio. He would still be boisterous, anti-PC, and revel in taking a torch to the establishment, but he would avoid landmines that hurt and embarrass him. Or he could just be a better person not plagued by stories of sex scandals, cheating on his wife, or stiffing workers. One could argue some landmines actually helped him. Maybe saying McCain isn’t a hero just because he got captured signals that he won’t bow and scrape to RINOs. Or you could say there were so many dumb statements they inoculated him, e.g. “Hey man, that’s just Trump being Trump!”

It might also depend on which narrative you favor: Trump won because America is so racist and misogynist versus Trump won because of economic populism. He savaged Democrats for supporting NAFTA and TPP, being Wall St. toadies, and importing immigrants for cheap labor and votes. That’s the sort of nationalist rhetoric Democrats need an answer for, because they didn’t have any good ones last time. Go ahead and defend NAFTA and say how great it is and cite all the academic sources you like, just don’t expect to win the places it affected.

Said gold star familiy was brown with a funny name and a funnier accent. And Muslim.
Women were uppity liberals. Probably frigid, feminist, islamofacist, lesbian, sluts.
Insulted Minorities, you mean Mexicans, Muslims, Arabs etc?

The man knew his audience and picked his targets according to that.