What has the Trump-for-President social experiment taught us?

If Donald Trump running for president was a social experiment on a national scale, what lessons or conclusions can we draw from it?

Frogs boil quickly.** In a matter of months, Trump went from national laughingstock to actually standing a legitimate chance of becoming president. A large segment of American society has accepted Trump, or tolerated Trump, remarkably quickly. The attitude towards Trump being president “normalized” into either acceptance or “it’s not that outrageous” ambivalence. America has tolerated the idea of Trump for president with eyes wide open. Sure, much of America still finds the idea of a President Trump revolting - Trump is, after all, trailing Hillary at the moment - but what was once a joke, an “Trump for President? It can’t possibly happen!” notion has suddenly become mainstream.
**The American public has become remarkably tolerant of candidate flaws. ** A mere four years ago, Mitt Romney’s 47% remark did significant damage to his campaign. Today, such a comment wouldn’t even place at No. 20 on the list of “Things done or said by Trump that ought to be politically suicidal but aren’t.” Hillary is certainly a flawed candidate, too, and yet she and Trump - two of the most disliked politicians in America - are the two remaining main contestants for the top job in the world.

Decades ago, Bush Sr. trailed Dukakis by 17% in the polls. Years later, Bush trailed Clinton by more than 20% in the polls. Years later, Gore trailed Bush Jr. by 11% in the polls. Kerry trailed Bush Jr. by 13% in one poll. And if we go back more decades, Ford and Reagan both once trailed Carter by enormous margins in the polls at one point in their respective presidential elections. All of these politicians - Bush Sr., Gore, Ford, Reagan and Kerry - were much more respectable and dignified than Trump is today - yet Trump today is trailing Hillary Clinton by *less *than those politicians trailed by at those moments. At the moment, Hillary’s lead over Trump might not even be 9%. This indicates the American public has become much more forgiving of flaws than before.
Political parties take democratic process remarkably seriously. ** Many speculated that the GOP establishment would never allow Trump to be the nominee and would devise some way to deny him nominee status, yet the GOP leadership largely acquiesced and shrugged, *“He got the most votes in the primaries, so even though he’s a buffoon and a terrible person, the process says he gets to be the nominee so we got to honor the process.” * In doing so, the GOP demonstrated that it honors the process to a remarkable extent - it’s hard to think of a more severe test of a party’s commitment to the “process” than this.
**Many people mistake arrogance for confidence. ** Confidence is a highly attractive trait. Unfortunately, many people mistake arrogance for confidence (the well-documented “Why are bad guys attractive” phenomenon) and so this is why Trump has that charisma, or at least apparently still did, to his voting base, as recently as a couple of months ago.

Human nature remains unchanged.** Many people are still drawn to demagogues and fearmongering and the nature of fascism. For all the history lessons about Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Mussolini, human nature remains unchanged; people are drawn to strongmen, those who can voice a populace’s anger and preach radical change or upheaval.
**Each political party has a “floor” of minimal voting support that it is not likely to fall below. ** In today’s political climate, the Republican Party or Democratic Party could nominate a terrible candidate and still get perhaps at least 30% of the vote at the polls on Election Day. (Donald Trump is still poised to get around 35-40% at the very minimum in November, for all of his outrageous behavior.)

…in the end, the establishment still wins. **Bernie Sanders didn’t come anywhere close to defeating Hillary, and Trump won’t either. The power of the anti-establishment movement is greatly exaggerated. The media likes to play up the popularity of the anti-establishment, anti-incumbent fervor to be more potent than it is, but it still dissipates against the immovable wall that is the establishment.

Half of the American populace is below average in intelligence?

I’m not sure that Americans are so much more tolerant of flaws today. I think what we’re actually seeing is confirmation bias in action.

It was said back in 2012 and bears repeating that the 47% comment did so much damage because it fit the existing narrative against Romney (i.e. that he was out of touch, elitist, didn’t care about everyday folks, etc.). This narrative wasn’t created by the 47% comment and would have existed either way, but that comment cemented it in the public mind.

Trump’s mistakes do not damage him because they also fit the existing narrative, but in this case it’s a positive narrative in the eyes of his core voters. They want a tough-talking, non-politician who will make major changes. When Trump says build a wall or ban Muslims or toss out the babies, they cheer, and when he doubles down on it they cheer even more. A politician would mince words, consider all sides, employ logic and reason, and apologize to critics, but they have decided these traditional traits are to blame for what they see as current problems. So as long as Trump talks tough, isn’t a politician and promises major changes, he can say anything he likes.

White non-gay men will do anything to retain their power?

Also known as the Crazification Factor.

I do find it interesting that his 27% is so close to your 30% estimate.

Wait, where’s the not-gay thing factoring in?

I’m rethinking my long-standing opposition to voter suppression. Maybe it’s a good idea but we’ve just been directing it at the wrong race.

Some people will vote for ANYONE as long as they’re Republican, or at least not Democrat.

My impression, as a non-American who admittedly isn’t following this thing closely at all, is that you guys have split yourselves down the middle, along party lines, so comprehensively that if one party nominates Jesus, and the other a chimpanzee, the chimp still has a realistic chance of walking away with the prize on election day.

The interesting question, then, isn’t how the chimpanzee wins the election, but how it gets nominated in the first place.

It flings poo.
ETA: And Jesus gets labeled a Socialist.

This is so depressingly accurate I just don’t know anymore.

Perhaps we have learned that when we denegrate and ignore a large segment of the populace, they don’t just go away.

I suppose next you’ll be telling us that the other half is above average.

I’d like to think we’re proving the exact opposite. Sure, some Republicans are sticking with Trump. But I’m encouraged by how many Republicans are repudiating him. It shows that we can still rise above party interests.

This is the whole issue.
So the lesson we need to learn is: we must work harder to prevent the demogogues and fearmongerers from gaining power.

Every western nation has their crazies and extremists. And, so far, they have always been successful at pushing the extremists out of the way, and keeping them out of power.*
And the way they do this is that the established, mainstream parties refuse to let the extremists into their organization.

This isolates the crazies–and forces them to declare their own parties, which remain tainted from the day they are born, because everybody knows that they were created by one man, an extremist.

Trump beat the system by being allowed to run as a Republican, equal to all the othe mainstream candidates in the primaries.
If he had been prohibited from delcaring himself a mainstream-party candidate, he would have had to create his own, seperate party.

We need a requirement that a candidate for President cannot run as a member of a party, unless he has previously held an elected office as a member of that same party.
Anyone else would have to declare himself an independent, and establish his own party.

This would not diminish democracy–any citizen could still run for President. But he’d have to do it on his own. If he wanted to ride the coattails of an established party, he’d first have to pay his dues, and represent that party for a term in office, as a congressman, or even just as a local mayor.

But that would serve as a filter, and show whether the mainstream party is willing to accept him as one of their own.

(yeah, there was one minor exception…that little problem back there in 1933 in Germany; but hey, we’ve learned since then, right?)*
** …hmmmmm…Well, maybe we haven’t learned as much as we thought

Not just Trump but how well Sanders did against a stacked deck in the primaries ----------- the short lesson is that a lot of people are basically tired of both parties presenting a long series of “same old” candidates. It will never get to the point of a Third Party having any real influence but I think both sides, their party officials and professional leadership, are going to be influenced somewhat by this in the end.

It should teach us that we need to reform the political system so that top quality people can run for president and other offices. I don’t think it’s actually taught us anything though.

One lesson is that if the leftist media (the vast majority of the media, BTW) don’t like you, you don’t have a chance.
They will barrage the public with unfavourable reports on you on a daily basis. They will twist everything against you. They will quote you out of context. They will minimize reporting on your opponents failings.

And Democrats to boot.

Some people believe a woman cannot be President because the Bible says so.