In the six weeks since Donald Trump announced he would seek the Republican nomination for president, he has provoked a series of controversies while rising to the top in a number of polls of GOP voters.
The billionaire businessman and TV personality, who previously considered running for president and for New York governor, sparked a backlash with his announcement speech when he said of Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people. …”
More recently, he responded to criticism from Sen. John McCain by saying the 2008 GOP presidential nominee—who spent six years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam—“was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Trump’s campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again!” On economic issues, Trump has opposed stimulative policies by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, but he supported the bailout of the auto industry.
Some political observers think Trump’s chief aim in running for president is to boost his own brand, but others believe he will be a serious contender in the 2016 race.
More than 60 percent of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll have an unfavorable opinion of Trump. And more than half—54 percent—do not see Trump as a serious candidate.
He has much more support among Republicans, however. Among GOP respondents, 54 percent have a favorable view of him and 57 percent view him as a serious candidate.
In a Gallup poll conducted July 8-12, three-quarters of respondents said they do not view Trump as a serious candidate for president. Three in 10 viewed him favorably.
Nearly 1,015 readers participated in this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll, conducted July 27 and 28. Of them, 40 percent are Republican, 22 percent are Democrats and the remaining identify themselves as non-affiliated or enrolled in another party.
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump?
Whether or not you would vote for him, do you view Donald Trump as a serious candidate for president?
What is your political affiliation?
For information on how the Snap Polls are conducted, click here.
Donald Trump is living in a parallel universe, as are the people who are backing him. Serious? Really? If he gets elected, I will move to Costa Rica.
—Mary Lynn Vickers
Trump is a showman and a narcissist. He likes to hear himself talk and he thinks he is pretty clever. He is blunt and to the point. But Trump in the White House? Come on! I enjoy watching him stir the pot and irritate the other professional politicians. The Republicans need a candidate who can get people to rally around. I would have trouble having Trump representing America on international affairs. Obama is a weenie who needs to go. How about we bring back Reagan?
I like Trump because he can’t be bought by the Republicans, Democrats, liberal media or corporate America. And he’s a very successful billionaire. He knows how to get things done.
In commenting upon Mr. Trump’s candidacy, I can’t improve upon George Carlin’s observation that: “When you are born into this world you are given a ticket to the freak show, and if you are fortunate enough to be born in the United States—you get a front row seat.”
—Bill Fanning, Smart Real Estate
It is not a question of whether or not I think he is a serious candidate, Mr. Trump believes himself to be serious. As long as the media allow him to lead them around by the nose, he will continue his theatrics, which continue to benefit his “brand.”
To me, Donald trump is a fabricated character. He’s an entertainer, not a U.S. presidential candidate.
—Antonino Barbagallo, Foto-AB Inc.
He is a breath of fresh air in politics. If we can elect a know-nothing community organizer who has repeatedly lied to us and devastated our country, we can certainly elect a no-nonsense businessman who will assuredly get us back on track economically.
—Chuck Wells, Wells Insurance
Unfortunately, Trump is coming across as a serious candidate. This says a lot of disgusting and terrifying things about people who respond to Republican polls, and maybe even Republicans who vote. Racism, sexism, greed, ill manners, lack of compassion, ignorance of history, ignorance of the history of genocide against indigenous people, lack of feeling, etc.
Donald Trump is a cartoon character promoting a three-ring circus. His behavior reminds me of a troubled grade-schooler who needs attention so badly that any attention is good attention. This destructive behavior is not only tolerated by my Republican party, it is being emulated. I think we should send them all home to their parents and restart this campaign in January.
—David Henderson, New Scale Technologies
We need a president who is positive and upbeat. One who is ready to serve for the greater good and not their own ego. Negativity and hate breed the same; let’s concentrate on what’s important—which is not someone’s wallet.
A perfect example of someone with too much money, too much time on his hands and an ego to boot! It’s all about Trump! Start his own football league and it fails, no problem! Try and buy the Bills and he fails, no problem! He’s just getting his jollies!
—Steve Neelin, CEO, Quality Recruiting
Trump has stirred controversy and gotten people talking. Whether he means everything he says or just speaks before thinking is irrelevant. You know where he stands (right or wrong) and can decide for yourself. That alone is refreshing. We are all tired of politicians who say one thing to get elected and never follow through. Or worse, go whichever way the wind is blowing. Like him or not, he has an impressive resume and is certainly not in it for the money!
—George Thomas, Ogden
I’m sick and tired of the same old same old, whether Democrat or Republican. They all have one thing in common—what’s in it for me? Trump is a self-made billionaire who can’t be bought. I believe he will restore respect from other countries that we have lost over the years.
How embarrassing for our country!
—Rick Corey, Penfield
The Office of the President requires a certain cache, personality and emotional intelligence to generate the image that exudes the role and persona of a wise leader. The job demands someone who is objective and reflects the mature responsibility of being the leader of the most influential country in the world. Donald Trump doesn’t come close to meeting these qualifications and can’t learn them.
—Bob Volpe, Highland Development Services
Trump is sucking all the oxygen out of the room. If the media would pay attention to more important matters, we wouldn’t be answering this question. Trump’s candidacy will someday be in the Jerry Springer Hall of Fame. For the rest of us, I hope it will be a fading memory (and soon).
—John Calia, Fairport
If the Democrats have their way, Trump will be the 2016 GOP candidate for president.
What we’ve needed in the past is someone who is business-minded and fiscally responsible to run the country. Like him or not, Trump knows how to make money and manage his assets. Is he presidential material, who knows? But an extraordinary success? Yes, he is. We’ll see how the political wars play out.
—Rich Calabrese, Rochester
What could possibly go wrong with Trump for president?
—Ed Rosen, Fairport
He is the right person for the job! Make America great again! It will take a lot of work, but “the Donald” will stay awake when others will be sleeping. We need a change. Bush or Clinton? Are you kidding me? This is old news; we need a change. Not the same crap.
Trump is saying things that no politician is willing to voice. He isn’t driven by a desire to retain his office and power. Would he be effective as president? We’ll probably never know as the “Republican In Name Only” will never allow his candidacy. My fear is that he will run as a third-party (candidate) and hand the election over to Hillary. My belief is that we could do a lot worse.
—A. Elting, Palmyra
The U.S. economy is in the doldrums, we have abandoned our allies and emboldened our adversaries, and none of the “establishment” candidates of either party has solutions other than more of what got us here to begin with. Trump is a showman, he’s inconsistent, he’s even cartoon-like, but he gets things done and he sees an America that is Reaganesque in scope, optimism and vision. Trump vs. Hillary? Trump. Trump vs. Jeb? Trump. I don’t see Rubio or Walker as presidential timber. I like Rick Perry, but he’s just not getting the poll numbers. So, Trump is not only serious, he’s likely the only viable solution to move us forward.
This guy is not only scary, but is a joke! His supporters are primarily individuals who are fed up with Washington. Got to give him credit for saying what he thinks. Some of the other candidates should follow his lead and say what they think.
—Walter J. Windus, retired
Trump is about as serious as all those other little clowns who jumped on the Republican circus train. He just happens to have the money and mouth to say anything outrageous, offensive, crass and disgusting to get media coverage for himself and his empire. It will come down to one—Jeb Bush—who looks absolutely stellar compared to the rest of egomaniacal crowd. In the end it will be a race between the two dynasty families. Enough already.
—Eve Elzenga, Eve Elzenga Design
I don’t think that Donald Trump should be viewed as a serious candidate for two reasons. First, he carries too much baggage, four business bankruptcies and failed marriages don’t show either competency or character. Secondly, I don’t see him distancing himself from his own businesses. Even the Tea Party has not cozied up to his rhetoric. The Republican Party has to be concerned about a third-party run so they may give him a say in their platform.
—Wayne Donner, Rush
"The Donald" may be a serious candidate in his mind, but really? I am appalled that his poll numbers have gone UP since he slandered war vets in general, McCain in particular. With a mouth like that, if he actually got to be elected POTUS, other countries would be lining up to put us out of our misery, and themselves out of harm’s way. They could not believe, back in 2004, that Bush got "re-elected." We’d be seen as a rogue state. Eisenhower was the last decent GOP president.
—Margie Campaigne, Green Home Consulting
Unfortunately, the hypocrites in this country will not consider a serious attempt by Trump! Once again, the phonies will "gang up" on him and force him out! The Republican Party is as corrupt as the entire Obama administration, and that does not bode well for the great U.S.A.!
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield
Donald Trump is telling it like it is! He is asking the questions the main stream media is not! Brash, maybe; tell-it-like-it-is, yes, sometimes politically incorrect is needed to have intelligent real debate; lover of our country and a real businessman, yes. Has created more private-sector jobs than any of our governments have, etc. He is what is needed to stop the direction we are going. We are an exceptional country, in spite of what our politicians say. We need to stand up, like Trump, to reverse this dismantling and government corporatism.
Trump is nothing more than a political "reality" show (I use "reality" loosely.) Trump has 24 percent of Republicans behind him. Anyone can get 24 percent of either party behind them. When the remaining 76 percent of thinking Republicans coalesce around two serious contenders, the sideshow will hold a lot less political interest. Most Americans will probably not vote but remain riveted to his antics.
—J.P. Gleason, Gleason Fundraising Consultants
I haven’t taken Donald Trump seriously until recently. His position on illegal immigration is right. Every illegal alien is a criminal. They have violated United States federal law. That makes them criminals. Some of these criminals are also guilty of vicious crimes such as rape, murder, robbery, kidnapping, etc. There were two murders in Orleans County by two illegal aliens in the last few years. One of the victims was also raped. Trump’s solution is to build a secure wall with technological support; charge the Mexican government $100,000 for every illegal alien that comes from Mexico, stop federal funding of sanctuary cities, etc. On the economic front, he will also use some Reagan’s policies, which were wildly successful. As president, he will also pursue criminal action against the criminal corruption perpetrated by the present Obama administration and their surrogates such as the upper echelon of the IRS and the Justice Department. Candidates such as Jeb Bush and especially Hillary Clinton would only maintain the status quo and the country will continue a downward slide.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy and Associates Inc.
I think Donald is in cahoots with Hillary; boy, does he have the Republic party in a frenzy.
Donald Trump is good for the primary election and he should be good for the election, as well. My biggest fear is that he will form a third party and steal the election from the Republicans, the way that Ross Perot stole the election from George Bush the first. Donald Trump has made too many contradictory statements and takes too many liberal positions to stand up to close scrutiny. It will be fun for a while, though.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D.
Donald Trump speaks the truth unfiltered by political correctness and in no uncertain terms. He is not afraid critics nor the liberal bias of the press. We have a president who hates America and what it stands for and who wants us to become a socialist nation. The "loyal opposition" Republicans are thwarted by a milk toast leadership that hasn’t done anything to stop this leftist movement and seems perfectly content to go along. Both the leaders (Boehner and McConnell) need to removed. Hopefully Trump’s candidacy will send some inspiration to other candidates and the silent conservative majority to get up and put America back on the path of freedom with responsibility.
—Jim Weisbeck, Bloomfield
Trump’s candidacy will inevitably flop, just as the campaigns of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich imploded in the last election cycle despite their momentary popularity. Trump well represents the belligerent ignorance prevailing in the Republican Party, but such extreme know-nothingism doesn’t succeed by capturing the party’s presidential nomination; instead it functions as a laughably nutty outside limit, prompting Republicans to nominate a less obvious fruitcake who nevertheless stands for destructive public policies.
I have no problem with the harm Trump is causing the Republican brand, but I completely agree with all the editorial comments of the Des Moines Register.
—Michael L. Harf
Trump is the only candidate that has a pair of balls.
7/31/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.