Clueless Beltway Insiders Remain Stunned at Donald Trump’s Rise

Politico assembled a bevy of D.C. political experts to help explain Donald Trump’s lead in the GOP nomination race, and the Beltway mavens blamed the political media, the polls, Twitter — but not the possibility that rational voters might like the policy plans that Trump is selling.

Republican and Democratic strategists marveled at the phenomenon of Donald Trump on Monday as they debated where to lay blame for the success of the political outsider who pundits originally wrote off as a joke.

Fortunately, according to the panel of veteran Democratic and GOP operatives, there’s enough blame to go around — from the media who’ve given the New York billionaire near nonstop coverage, to the Republican rivals who were too patient to challenge him, to polls that dictated who was and wasn’t important…

“When you just turn the cameras on and allow somebody like Donald Trump to have this roadblock coverage of every single event and every single news conference, I think it does [require] where journalists have to come in, I think, and offer that filter,” Kevin Madden, a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies and former press secretary for John Boehner…

Mike DuHaime, a partner at Mercury Public Affairs and Chris Christie campaign veteran… “I think too many people discounted him at the outset… I don’t think we ever had a reality TV star come in and run for office before, and he’s run this like a reality television show program, and with so many candidates on the Republican side, the early national polls actually had real implications, whereas in previous campaigns, it really didn’t matter”…

Perhaps the biggest blame will go to the 16 candidates who were set to challenge Trump but hardly presented much of a challenge at all. Many didn’t take Trump seriously until it was too late.

Madden said hope is what plagued many of Trump’s opponents, in the sense that they believed anyone but themselves would be responsible for stopping Trump.

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