Why the 'Stop Trump' Campaign Has Been So ... Stoppable

USA Today Visits Northeast Pennsylvania to Deconstruct the Appeal of the 'Outsider' Candidate

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USA Today, March 29, 2016
USA Today, March 29, 2016

As Ad Age reported on Friday, TV and radio spending on anti-Trump ads has stalled, as PACs opposing Donald Trump's presidential campaign seemed to realize that attacking him was doing little or nothing to stop his momentum. But today's front page USA Today story suggests that the anti-Trump movement has had some effect: It's pissed off conservative voters who feel undermined by the establishment Republicans who hate Trump, in the process galvanizing their support for him.

The paper's Rick Hampson, who has covered eight national political conventions over his five-decade career, traveled to Republican stronghold Northeast Pennsylvania, aka NEPA, ahead of the state's primary on April 26. "Today," Hampson writes, "the establishment is something with which nobody in NEPA wants to be associated, including those who are patently part of it." Among the voters he talked to are local Republican businessmen Dan Meuser and Chris Hackett:

Meuser says the campaign to deny Trump the nomination at the national convention "just increases his support. People feel, 'You're still not taking us seriously.''' Hackett agrees: "The harder they try to stop Trump, the more likely he is to succeed.''

Hampson says that whereas the GOP party faithful would have once been hostile to an "outsider-insurgent" like Trump, "the economic forces that have buffeted NEPA" -- including the decline of its coal and natural gas industries -- have, curiously enough, set the stage for voters' embrace of a "penthouse-dweller" who has "the common touch."

"Trump has transcended class conflict," Hampson adds. "He's the billionaire who lies down with the blue collars." You can read his whole report here.

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