The real surprise would be if Trump hadn’t surged in the polls. Americans of all parties, but especially conservatives and populists of what is sometimes called the “angry middle,” almost invariably take for the outspoken outsider—not just a governor or some non-Washington person running as an “outsider,” which almost all successful presidential candidates have done now for nearly 50 years. (Which is another reason why Hillary can’t win—she’s too much of a Washington/Establishment insider.) We like their candor, flamboyance, and the novelty of a non-politician running for office. It’s one of the time-honored tropes of modern American politics.
But notice something: a genuine, non-politician outsider has never won the presidency. Never happens. The closest you can come is Herbert Hoover, but he’d been secretary of commerce for eight years. It’s not going to happen this time either, though I think Fiorina as a running mate is a real possibility. We like these flamboyant, novelty candidates for the respite they provide from the dreary regularity of the known field, but they never stick.