- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 24, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Donald Trump has been the Teflon man this election cycle.

No matter what anti-Trump political organizations or his Republican rivals have used against him, nothing has stuck, baffling the elite political class.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz unleashed a series of new advertisements Thursday, criticizing the businessman for his political contributions to Democrats. They too are doomed to fail. You see, Trump supporters understand the game, are aware Trump has played it, and view him as the only candidate who can burn the establishment down.

“I honestly believe Trump is the only one who can save this country,” said Kevin Rebal, 46, a Trump supporter who attended one of his rallies in Boca Raton, Florida. “Our government has been in the hands of insiders for so long — those who are just there to enrich themselves.

“We love Trump’s straight-up approach,” Mr. Rebal said. “Only Trump tells us how it is. We know his history, we know what he’s done, and that’s fine.”

Brian Murphy, 52, who voted for Mr. Trump in Florida, agrees.

“We’re just tired of politicians, I don’t believe in anything that they say,” he said. “It’s time to get someone new, to do something different.”

Mr. Murphy, a native New Yorker, said he understood Mr. Trump’s past — and political giving to Democrats — yet wasn’t deterred by it. The fact Trump knows the game is all the better reason for him to get in and destroy it, Mr. Murphy reasoned.

Mr. Trump has been attacked for his failed business dealings in water, steaks and vodka, for Trump University — which critics claim was a scam — and for outsourcing the manufacturing of his products to third-world countries. Yet, he’s won 21 of the last 34 contests, and swept Arizona by double-digits Tuesday.

Many Trump supporters are small-business owners who understand the value of risk in business and that not every effort will be successful. If you’re batting .500, they reason, you’re doing well.

They also understand the value of having local political allies — when it comes to zoning issues, dealing with OSHA, and other federal regulations and don’t blame Mr. Trump for giving to New York politicians — on both sides of the aisle.

A recent study by the Center for Public Integrity, found that, aside from retirees, the majority of Trump donors are people who have owned or operated businesses. To them, Mr. Trump represents the ultimate Horatio Alger story and they view his business successes as inspirational.

The study identified about 500 business owners and/or operators who gave an average of about $660 apiece to Trump. The businesses ranged from heating and air-conditioning contracting companies to exterminators to restaurants. There were auto dealerships, real estate offices, retail outlets and small manufacturers.

“The message was clear. They are ready for an alternative to any establishment conservative, regardless of how bombastic he is,” authors John Dunbar and Cady Zuvich wrote. “And many of the candidate’s talking points on immigration, taxes, jobs, education and the economy seem to resonate — even if the backers aren’t clear on the details.”

That’s right in line with what I’ve been hearing on the campaign trail — and why all opposition research dug up by Trump’s competitors and the political class doesn’t seem to be working.

“He’s not a politician, he is a businessman. I understand the importance of negotiating, and of getting people to come together to a meeting of the minds,” said Jo-Ann Chase, Trump supporter and owner of Exclusive Reality in Ashburn, Virginia.

“He also has the most to lose in this election. He’s already reached the pinnacle, and is as wealthy as he needs to be, as famous as he needs to be, as self-fulfilled on a personal and family basis as he needs to be,” she said. “Now, at this time in his life, he’s decided he’s going to take all of those resources and all of those wonderful gains, and do something for his country. He’s going to make America great again.”

And so folks, there you have it.

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