Yes, Trump can win and I would make him the odds on favorite. In the past 90 days he has supplanted Barack Obama as a national leader and while he has no formal power his influence is overwhelming. He drives the political debate in this country. Admittedly the correlation between popularity and votes is nebulous but when the crowd looks toward a candidate for leadership as it eschews the incumbent's leadership from behind something is afoot.
I have been watching Trump's popularity on Google Trends for about a month and there is little doubt that he has generated an interest well beyond the Republican base. Again I concede that does not readily convert to votes but it certainly conveys voter interest. Just for laughs see which countries find Obama interesting.
Is Trump a conservative? I would venture the opinion that he is a political agnostic who espouses some common sense principles that happen to be conservative. On a political continuum I would place him next to Chris Christie or West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. As for religion I would guess him to be a theological agnostic masquerading as a Presbyterian. This puts me in mind of a true story about a crotchety bishop who set out to attend his class reunion in Innsbruck, Austria. While on his connecting flight to New York His Excellency's plane developed engine trouble and this was in an age when planes frequently crashed. The cabin attendant tried to soothe the passengers' nerves, explaining that engine failures were not all that uncommon and if it was any consolation there was a Catholic bishop onboard. The bishop replied that he would rather have 4 good engines than the entire College of Cardinals. Believe it or not this man's critics called him humorless! Trump looks like 4 good engines to me.
Trump is political history in the making. Should he win the presidency historians will still br marveling at his campaign a century from now as the successful iteration of a William Jennings Bryan or Eugene Debs. He is the most persuasive politician in anyone's memory. He attracts followers by his unique honesty not in what he says- God knows he exaggerates incessantly- but rather by what he does. He does not show up for a campaign rally in Carhartts or a sweater. He does not dress down to his audience. He does not invoke the memory of Ronald Reagan. I'm not one of those "we have to move beyond Reagan" cranks but every politician knows channeling Reagan is a cheap applause line. He does not have a pat stump speech replete with poll tested talking points but speaks without notes. He does not speak of lofty principles but rather practical and unpopular solutions to the very real problems that worry the voters. His followers trust him. They trust him not to loot the White House furniture or sell political influence to a foreign power as Hillary has done but they would also trust him to baby sit their grand kids. Why not? Whatever his critics may say his 3 grown children are a testimonial to his skills as a parent. All three are extremely bright, loyal, respectful and sometimes witty.
Can Trump win? There are no sure wins in presidential politics but who thinks he would fight with one hand behind his back? He would not let Hillary's campaign run ads suggesting he caused the death of some mope's wife or Harry Reid suggest he paid no taxes in years. There would be hell to pay for that. The public would know, for starters, that Hillary had flunked the DC bar exam and that Bill had been disbarred by the Supreme Court and all about Troopergate, Travelgate, Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Vince Foster, Webster Hubbell, Monica Lewinsky's blue dress, Benghazi and the private email server.
I like his chances.