The Donald trumps the opposition in the polls

Washington wags may “mock his blond bouffant” and refer to his private jet as “Hair Force One”, but the anger of voters and his celebrity status have sent billionaire Donald Trump “surging in the polls”, says Rhys Blakely in The Times.

He also appears to be taking his presidential campaign seriously: a network of staff and volunteers is already laying the groundwork in Iowa, the first state to hold a primary next February. Roger Stone, Trump’s former political adviser, puts his popularity down to voters despising politicians, “big media” and the “special interests who run Washington”, and viewing Trump as “someone who cannot be bought or bullied”.

He is certainly popular, says Martin Pengelly in The Guardian. Despite “near-universal condemnation of his behaviour, and consternation within the Republican Party over the damage he may be doing to its chances of taking back the White House”, he remains the frontrunner in the 17-strong Republican field. This is worrying, given his stream of bizarre and “wrong-headed” ideas, says Steven Rattner in The New York Times.

Trump’s economic views may not have received as much coverage as his “misogynistic statements”, but they are “equally unpalatable, evincing a lack of understanding of basic economics that is startling for a billionaire businessman”.

He plans to boost trade and bring jobs, stolen by the Chinese and others, home, by imposing “huge” import tariffs and weakening the dollar. He believes we shouldn’t increase the minimum wage, should eliminate corporate taxes, and thinks that global warming is “a fantasy”. His proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border would cost billions and his plan to deport 11.5 million illegal immigrants could cost $400bn over 20 years, while damaging the economy.

When challenged, he retreats “into chest thumping”, with comments such as, “You have to let me handle that, OK?” For all of this, Trump currently looks set “to secure the Republican nomination”, says Selina Scott (the subject of a long-running feud with Trump) in The Sunday Times. “It has long been his ambition to get to the White House. If he succeeds, God help America and the world.”

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