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Opinion

Readers React: The Year of Trump: from reality TV distraction to frighteningly feasible

Donald Trump Campaigns In Grand Rapids

 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on Dec. 21 in Grand Rapids, Mich. 

(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

By now, Donald Trump was supposed to have been a historical footnote alongside the likes of Herman Cain and Pat Buchanan. But 2015 likely won’t be able to contain the Donald’s presidential candidacy, so before we look toward 2016 for a potential Trump endgame (if there ever is one), it’s worth looking back on the reader reaction to the unlikeliest of Republican front-runners.

When Trump announced his candidacy last June, The Times’ letter writers dismissed him as having all the staying power of a reality TV star. Since then, the reader reaction to seemingly every major news event of the year has changed and become more caustic once Trump has weighed in.

Here’s a brief recap of the Year of Trump.

On June 18, Ed Lister of Santa Barbara reacted dismissively to Trump’s formal entry into the presidential race:

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She’s black, she’s white — who cares? Move over, Rachel Dolezal: The Donald is up for his 15 minutes.

On Aug. 11, Bette Mason of Corona del Mar provided an early summary of Trump’s modus operandi:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is a loose canon. A bully. He runs off at the mouth with few if any supporting facts to make his case. He disparages women and war heroes and Mexicans, to name just a few of his favorite targets.

And yes, he also is very rich and famous. Just ask him. He’ll tell you all that, and much more.

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My question is: Who are all these conservatives who have supported him so far and made him No. 1 in the polls?

On Aug. 22, Phil Serpico of New York City explained Trump’s appeal:

You don’t need to put Americans on the couch to explain Trump’s popularity. For many, it’s a backlash to the Obama administration years. To others, he’s an Archie Bunker redux.

People feel diminished in many ways. Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is resonating because people feel we’ve lost that greatness.

Americans want straight talk, not canned soundbites. They want authenticity in their candidate, and a dash of anger when necessary. They want a Congress able to get things done. They want their voices heard. And yes, they also want a sealed border.

Thanks to Trump, Americans are getting it off their chests.

On Dec. 10, after Trump called for a halt to Muslim immigration, Republican Will Dawkins of Orlando, Fla., said he’d had enough:

I am a victim of Donald Trump. My political party has been hijacked, turning the Grand Old Party into a grand joke. I registered as a Republican because I believed in some of the core values of the party, but Trump has completely bastardized the concept of a free election determined by informed voters.

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He beats his chest to drum up votes. He completely ignores the prospect of educating the public and instead panders to the narrow-minded.

Trump claims that he will make America great again, and the only way he can do that is by dropping out of the election.

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