They treated his campaign announcement as a joke. They tried to destroy his business. They called him every foul name they could come up with. But at the end of 2015, the biased journalists, political consultants, leftist activists, snarky comedians and embittered critics of every stripe had to concede one man had beaten them all.
Donald J. Trump is the Republican favorite for president of the United States. There’s no indication he’ll fall from the top spot any time soon. And he’s the WND 2015 Man of the Year.
“It is my great honor to be named Man of the Year by your publication,” Trump said in a statement to WND. “I very much appreciate your informative polls and coverage. Together, we will Make America Great Again.”
It’s been an incredible journey for Trump. Many supposed political experts and commentators laughed at him when, after years of hints, he finally announced he was running for president. The Democratic National Committee snarked about Trump’s “seriousness,” treating him as a phony candidate. Leftist comedian Jon Stewart called Trump “a gift from heaven.” Politico called him “God’s gift to the Internet” and contrasted him with the “more serious candidates.”
Yet it’s Donald Trump who’s had the last laugh. And Trump has not only proven he is in the race to win, he’s shown himself to be a skilled tactician and expert communicator, outwitting hostile reporters and political opponents at every turn and surviving media firestorms that would have destroyed any other candidate.
At the start, Trump was savagely attacked by leftist activist groups and journalists after referring to some illegal immigrants as “rapists” during his presidential announcement speech.
A couple of Trump’s business partners, notably NBC and Macy’s, cut ties with the candidate. It appeared Trump’s campaign was over before it even began.
But while most other politicians would have apologized, Trump responded with what has become his characteristic tactic – doubling down. Trump reframed the debate on immigration to focus on crimes committed by illegals. The arrest of a previously deported illegal immigrant for the murder of Kate Steinle in the sanctuary city of San Francisco gave Trump’s charges new weight.
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Even Macy’s appeared on the defensive, as Trump’s supporters began shredding their credit cards. And suddenly, to the shock of the political class, Trump was riding high in the polls and addressing mass rallies alongside GOP heavyweights like Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Commentators acknowledged the “Summer of Trump,” but that was not yet enough. Experts continued to predict his collapse in the fall. And Trump began feuding with a host of figures, including Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Yet Trump showed an unmatched ability to cut down his opponents with a single remark, famously dismantling Jeb as “low energy” in a GOP debate and triggering the onetime GOP favorite’s collapse.
The angrier Trump’s opponents became, the higher Trump soared in the polls. Even as Trump savaged most reporters as “scum,” they couldn’t turn away. Throughout the campaign, Trump’s speeches and massive rallies have been often covered live on the cable news networks. And while other candidates struggle for airtime, Trump is driving the debate on both the left and right.
“Has any personality ever dominated the news more than Donald Trump did in 2015?” asked WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah. “I don’t think I’ve seen it in my lifetime. That’s why there can be no question about who 2015’s Man of the Year is – at least not if we’re being honest. He didn’t just change the debate, he became the debate. And there doesn’t seem to be any let-up in sight as we move into the presidential election year of 2016.”
As Farah observed, Trump has done what almost no other conservative has ever been able to accomplish by repeatedly forcing the mainstream media to back down. As he repeatedly brags, Trump turned immigration into a central issue in the Republican primary. Trump shifted the national conversation on terrorism by calling for a ban on Muslim immigration. He even changed the accepted history of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by forcing the media to report Muslim celebrations in the United States that day.
But Trump has been regarded as a mortal threat by many Republican donors, some of whom have reportedly stated they would rather back Hillary Clinton. Even some conservatives have questioned Trump’s commitment to limited government principles.
Glenn Beck called him a “progressive” and said Trump’s supporters were “racists.” Columnist George Will argued a Trump nomination would destroy the Republicans as a conservative party. And Trump is a frequent target on Fox News by commentators like Charles Krauthammer, who has called him a “rodeo clown.”
But as Trump maintains his lead in the polls, he’s also starting to draw more conservative support. Diana West, a WND columnist, forcefully argued, “It’s time to rally around Donald Trump.” Former Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., has endorsed Trump. And legendary conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly even called Donald Trump the “last hope for America” and the only one “eager to fight.”
While most elected Republican officials and even most figures in the established conservative movement are shying away from Trump, Trump’s populist approach is still keeping him at the top of the polls. And the media’s scorn for Trump’s supporters may be leading some of his backers to keep their decision to vote for him a secret, meaning the polls may actually be understating his backing.
WND Senior Staff Writer and longtime political observer Jerome Corsi says Trump is the “real deal.”
He told WND: “Despite how much the Obama/Clinton leftists in the Democratic Party and the D.C. establishment leadership of the GOP hate Trump, he is not going away, he is not going to drop out, and he is positioned to win the GOP nomination and the White House despite all odds.”
Corsi believes Donald Trump is “one of those rare people who appear in U.S. history as the right guy for the times.”
“If these were the days of the American Revolution,” Corsi said, “Trump would be leading the Boston Tea Party and joining Sam Adams and Thomas Paine in carving the political room for a rebirth of the type of constitutional freedom our Founding Fathers had envisioned for the American Republic.”
Today’s challenge, Corsi stated, is political correctness. And Donald Trump is just the man to destroy it.
“Trump will succeed precisely because he is politically incorrect, because he dares to say what most Americans are thinking,” Corsi argued. “Calling Trump sexist, racist, and every phobe the leftist intolerant political ideologies can generate only boosts his popularity, as the mainstream media lose their power to control the news by calling their enemies a nasty name. He’s rising in the polls because he defies the politically correct rules ordained by pundits and exposes leftists – including those at Fox News – for what they are.”
Corsi, author of “What Went Wrong: Inside the GOP Debacle of 2012 and How It Can Be Avoided Next Time,” also says pundits are underestimating Trump’s chances to win both the primary and the general election.
“Trump will attract votes from women, Hispanics, and African-Americans,” Corsi predicted. “He has done more to improve the economic status of minorities in America than all the other candidates combined – in both the GOP and among the Democrats.”
Indeed, a new poll shows a significant number of minorities are lining up behind Trump, including 40 percent of blacks and 45 percent of Hispanics. And once again, Trump is dominating the media coverage, turning the Democratic Party’s “war on women” talking point on its head by starting a national debate about former President Bill Clinton’s treatment of women.
Yet Trump’s biggest challenges lie ahead. Though candidates such as Jeb Bush and Ben Carson have faded for now, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is consolidating the support of evangelical organizations and is in second place in many national polls. According to some reports, Trump is actually trailing Cruz in the critical state of Iowa, though Trump is promising to unleash an ad blitz. Ironically, it’s because Trump has so dramatically shifted the Overton Window of what is considered politically acceptable that Cruz has moved from being a pariah in the Republican Party to what some people are calling the GOP establishment’s last, best hope to keep a complete outsider from seizing the nomination.
Still, Trump remains the undisputed frontrunner and is arguably stronger than ever. He’s defied predictions of doom so many times even the doubters have learned to be cautious.
However the primaries shake out, Trump has already won in many ways. He’s refocused the election on issues like immigration, which GOP donors and insiders would rather ignore. He’s challenged the Republican consensus on questions from trade policy to relations with Russia. He’s provided a template for the GOP to win over the working-class voters unenthused by the usual Republican appeals for tax cuts for the wealthy or slashing Medicare. And he’s struck a powerful chord with Americans who are tired of being pushed around by what they see as a hostile media and taken for granted by what they regard as do-nothing Republican leaders.
Donald Trump is the Man of the Year because he’s already changed the primaries, the Republican Party and the country itself. And no matter what happens now, there’s no going back.