If your guess in the “How long will Donald Trump last?” betting pool was “a year,” you win.
Not only do you win, but you also become the top candidate for stock picks, Super Bowl predictions and writing horoscopes.
Few pundits thought Trump would last longer than his four-month campaign in 2000, when he was at 3 percent in the polls against George W. Bush and Al Gore before quitting as a Reform Party candidate.
Back then, he said on NBC’s Today, “I don’t want to get 20 percent of the vote.”
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A year into a 2016 campaign that only fervent followers thought would include a Republican nomination, Trump has dropped into the 20s in one major poll and often seems to be a third-party candidate running under the Republican brand.
Speaking Thursday at a Dallas country-western dance hall known mainly for a mechanical bull that Trump called “that horse,” the New York Republican told his faithful that it was the anniversary, “and hopefully we’re gonna make it a worthwhile year.”
That looked possible last September, when Trump drew about 15,000 supporters and tire-kickers to a rally at the American Airlines Center. By February, he was still drawing about 6,000 to a Fort Worth Convention Center ballroom rally on a workday morning.
But for his third go-round in North Texas, Trump downsized to a 3,600-seat events hall, then claimed that the hundreds of protesters outside “aren’t protesters, they’re our people — they can’t get in.”
We’ll say ‘Make America Great Again’ on a cowboy hat.
This is a campaign that is not headed the right direction, and Republicans have only a month to change it or just go ahead and save the money for 2020.
After 12 months, the biggest disappointment about Trump is that he does not seem a year more mature.
His rambling Dallas speech careened haphazardly between topics like a Gilley’s patron leaving a Willie Nelson concert.
One minute, Trump said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won’t “save your Second Amendment” and is “gonna raise your taxes … the biggest tax increase in the history of this country.”
The next minute, he was back in a long anecdote about former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, only to be distracted: “That protester just gave me an idea. We’ll say ‘Make America Great Again’ on a cowboy hat. Where are my people?”
When protesters didn’t interrupt him, he gleefully interrupted himself.
Trump will take his Texan talk to Houston on Friday.
In a faux pas comparable to rival Ted Cruz calling a basketball goal “the ring,” he called Gilley’s mechanical bull of Urban Cowboy fame “that horse.”
“You want to hit the papers tomorrow?” he asked. “Let’s get that horse. I’ll ride that horse. The problem is, even if I make it, they’ll say I fell off the horse and it was terrible.”
Trump thus showed he knows less about Texas than TV celebrity RuPaul, who put contestants on a mechanical bull for an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
By the way, RuPaul’s Drag Race follows Trump to Gilley’s on Wednesday night.
Even he can recognize bull.