BY LUKE WATHEN
The competition for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination has hardly been an ordinary one.
With candidates ranging from senators to retired surgeons and media moguls, this race is sure to go down in history as one of the most unique.
Among the GOP hopefuls is someone who few expected to reach the level of popularity that he currently enjoys.
Donald Trump, a household name long before the presidential race, announced his candidacy last June to a shocked nation. Many did not take his bid seriously and expected his popularity to fizzle out like a common fad.
After announcing his candidacy, Trump quickly made a name for himself with his no-holds-barred style of speaking. Between his bold plan for a wall on the Mexican border, his insults towards fellow republicans such as Jeb Bush and Megyn Kelly and insistence that the United States ban the travel of Muslims into the country, Trump seemed to gather a huge following of friends and foes alike.
Eight months later, Trump is still the national frontrunner for the Republican nomination and does not appear to have plans of leaving the race any time soon, much to the aggravation of his fellow GOP hopefuls.
Despite the eight month lead that Trump has enjoyed, certain signs hint that his popularity is waning.
First, there is the matter of the Iowa caucus. Trump lost the state to Ted Cruz, his fiercest competitor for the White House, but that is not what is most important to take away from Iowa.
While he did end up taking second place, he barely managed to do so from Marco Rubio, a candidate whose popularity has paled in comparison to Trump’s nationally.
Second is the narrowing of the Republican pool of candidates. The once crowded pool of 17 presidential hopefuls has been reduced to six.
The supporters of the candidates that dropped out do not drop out as well, they flock to other candidates still in the race. With Trump making more enemies than friends among the Republican Party, it seems natural that he is losing out amongst this important demographic.
Third, and most importantly, the most recent GOP debate showed that Trump’s usual stage antics may not be as welcome as they once were. Like his other debate appearances, Trump was quick to use his opponent Jeb Bush as a verbal punching bag, attacking his brother George Bush over the Iraq War.
What was most interesting about this exchange was the audience’s reaction. Despite being the national frontrunner for the Republican Party, Trump was audibly “booed” and the audience was quick to take Bush’s side in the ordeal.
Despite enjoying a rich period of popularity, it seems that Donald Trump’s support may be faltering and his popularity waning. Time will tell if he will be able to keep his reputation and status in check long enough to secure the Republican nomination and, potentially the presidency, but for now, it looks like the Trump may be stumped.