But one nugget in the survey nagged at the New York billionaire.

“The only thing I did badly on was: Is he a nice person? I was last in terms of niceness,” he said…

“I think I’m the nicest of all,” he deadpanned. “I just don’t want to be taken advantage of!”…

“We’re tired of the nice,” he said. “We don’t need the nice. We need competent.”

Polling experts agree on one thing when it comes to Donald Trump’s presidential run: They’ve never seen anything like it

The shocks have come in quick succession, with Trump first rocketing to the top of national polls, and then taking double-digit leads in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In another act of political magic, Trump managed to flip his favorability rating from negative to positive in one poll during the span of a month — a feat that Monmouth University’s Patrick Murray called “astounding.”…

“Throw out the rulebook when it comes to Trump, that’s not even in the parameters of what we see as unusual,” Murray insisted.

Donald Trump leads the crowded Republican pack with 28 percent, up from 20 percent in a July 30 national survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. This is the highest tally and widest margin for any Republican so far in this election. Ben Carson has 12 percent, with 7 percent each for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. No other Republican tops 6 percent and 11 percent are undecided.

Trump also tops the “no way” list as 26 percent of Republican voters say they would definitely not support him. Bush is next with 18 percent…

“Donald Trump soars; Ben Carson rises; Jeb Bush slips and some GOP hopefuls seem to disappear. Trump proves you don’t have to be loved by everyone, just by enough Republicans to lead the GOP pack,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The rise of Donald Trump is, in part, a function of a vacuum.

He is thriving in a Republican field that is large, talented and, so far, underwhelming. There’s 17 candidates and nothing on. Except Donald Trump…

The Jorge Ramos incident was Trump in microcosm. He did what no other Republican politician could get away with (having a security guy manhandle a Latino reporter) and displayed a cavalier disregard for reality by denying he was having Ramos removed, even as he had him removed. But the episode was mesmerizing, and Trump — in his madcap way — was commanding in how he handled it…

Trump has at least half a dozen such indelible moments — his bizarre announcement, the John McCain diss, the Lindsey Graham cellphone, the Megyn Kelly fight (x2), the Mobile rally — when the rest of the field has almost none. No speech, no policy proposal, no argument, nothing from the other candidates has come close to capturing the imagination of voters, giving Trump the space to loom all the larger.

I got started in politics as an operative, and my first experience in this regard was working for a young conservative firebrand who took out an establishment Republican in the primary in the Maryland state senate. You probably wouldn’t be reading this today were it not for the fact that someone got me excited.

In hindsight, I was probably equally attracted to the superficial attributes (youth and excitement) as his philosophical stances. And my guess is that a lot of voters felt the same way. (We did, after all, oust a sixteen-year incumbent state senator.)

Predictably, the establishment did not like us for upsetting their apple cart. It felt invigorating and revolutionary to take them on — and win! Only later did I realize that this passion for the young and exciting is a fairly authoritarian impulse that is easy to exploit by those who want to manipulate (this is a commentary on my naiveté, not my erstwhile candidate’s ideology.)

That’s why I know this man is such a threat. He gets things done. I look at the rest of the candidates, and I’m pretty sure not one of them ever went on-site with a hard-hat and solved the problem of weak water pressure on the 82nd floor. If Donald Trump can built a 95-story skyscraper and have a heckler ejected in a news conference, of course he can build a wall and find every illegal and put them on a bus to wherever. He’d do it by decree, right? I am so waiting for someone to do the decree thing for stuff I secretly want.

He’ll ride a horse up Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, right? Say he’ll ride a horse and I am off Jeb’s team in a second.

Trump is doing something quite amazing. He has taken the political class equivalent of the Island of Misfit Toys and turned it into a campaign team besting the best and brightest of the Republican Party — an even more damning indictment against the GOP political consultant class than Project ORCA. He has captured the souls of almost a quarter of Republican Party voters and fashioned a coalition of people angry at Washington; people angry at Mexico and China; and people who are angry at people of any skin color other than white. Oh, and we should add in the Christians who have some idolatrous ideal of American Jesus and have decided their savior will not be Christ, but a man on his third marriage who says he cannot relate to anyone in the Bible, cannot name a favorite Bible verse, has said he never asked God for forgiveness, and has a prosperity gospel preacher as a spiritual advisor. American Jesus for the win!

I have never seen a single campaign composed of more angry souls — people who believe America is no longer great and are pissed off about it, people who think Washington is actively opposed to making the United States great; white supremacists; conspiracy theorists; Jew haters; and more. If you believe the President is a foreign born Kenyan muslim sleeper cell of one, you are probably voting for Donald Trump. In the same way, if you believe Washington has destroyed the country and there is no one on the national stage who can make America great again, you are probably also voting for the one candidate who has been in bankruptcy court more than all the other candidates combined. This is a coalition of anger, but angry people who are mutually incompatible. The Christians and those who want to make America great again are not racists and the racists are not Christian, but they all are on Team Trump.

A lot of conservatism is based on an inchoate sense that something important about the America of old is being lost. Maybe it’s because the government is getting too big, or social values are changing, or the demographics are different, or even a feeling that the country’s foreign enemies are ascendant. But conservatives haven’t always thought it was morning in America…

But in terms of policy, it isn’t just that some conservatives haven’t read Hayek. They fundamentally disagree with him. At the grassroots level, the American right has always had strong strains of nationalism and moralism. That’s not an inherently bad thing, but the modern conservative movement has generally tried to wed these tendencies to a more limited or even libertarian view of government…

Nationalism and moralism can easily be expressed through strong, activist government as well. The platforms of right-wing parties in Europe and the rest of the world are frequently anything but libertarian, even in the loose sense that Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan were.

Trump also understands that many voters across the ideological spectrum aren’t looking for a detailed political platform or five-point policy plan as much they want leadership. They want their government, and the people who lead it, to fix things and get things done. They want someone who will fight for them.

I wrote a few weeks ago that Trump represents the Jump the Shark moment of the party. The GOP has been a rickety, unsustainable contraption of policy prescriptions that don’t add up, don’t really represent the coalition’s actual members, and is based on a backward-looking set of views appealing to an ever-shrinking demographic. It has been held together this long with an ever-more-obfuscatory confabulation of misdirection, packaged in buzzwords and amped with anger. It was overdue to come unglued.

Trump is a disruptor of the most lethal sort. His blunt language is shattering the brittle framework of GOP nostrums that forever promise things they don’t deliver. He is revealing the basic discordance between party leaders and rank and file. He is like the rogue catalyst that breaks one bond, then moves on to break the next and the next. There’s no easy way to stop this, though the party establishment is frantically trying to think of one.

I would like to say that this implosion will be good for the party, and good for real conservatives and good for the nation. And it might. Or it may be a lurch into the rank nativism that is gaining strength in Europe.

Some supporters simply find Trump entertainingly naughty. Others, however, have remarkable cognitive dissonance. They properly execrate Obama’s executive highhandedness that expresses progressivism’s traditional disdain for the separation of powers that often makes government action difficult. But these same Trumpkins simultaneously despise GOP congressional leaders because they do not somehow jettison the separation of powers and work conservatism’s unimpeded will from Capitol Hill.

For conservatives, this is the dispiriting irony: The administrative state’s intrusiveness (e.g., its regulatory burdens), irrationalities (e.g., the tax code’s toll on economic growth), incompetence (Amtrak, ethanol, etc.) and illegality (we see you, IRS) may benefit the principal architect of this state, the Democratic party. This is because the other party’s talented critics of the administrative state are being drowned out by Trump’s recent discovery that Americans understandably disgusted by government can be beguiled by a summons to Caesarism.

Trump, who uses the first-person singular pronoun even more than the previous world-record holder (Obama), promises that constitutional arrangements need be no impediment to the leader’s savvy, “management” brilliance, and iron will. Trump supporters consider the presidency today an entry-level job because he is available to turn government into a triumph of the leader’s will.

And yet this plainly unsuitable jerk appears to be intensifying his support with every obnoxious and imbecilic thing he says. So, let me address the real authors of this depressing turn of events — his supporters.

What the hell is wrong with you?

Politicians and pundits are making excuses for you. They say you’re so sick of bad government and polarized politics that you’re willing to take a chance on making Donald Trump the most powerful man on Earth.  I say you’ve taken leave of your senses. I say you’re delusional. I say you’ve confused reality with reality TV. I say you’d rather sulk and bitch about America’s problems than help fix them.

Do you really think the dislocations caused by the transition from an industrial society to an information economy can be reversed with threats and tariffs? Do you really think rising urban crime rates, structural unemployment, failing schools, the proliferation of single-parent households, and the growing heroin epidemic can all be fixed by sealing our borders?  Do you really think it’s even possible to round up 11 million people, the vast majority of whom are hard-working, decent folks, and force them out of the country? Do you really think that would make America better?

If you do, I say you’re looking for scapegoats, not solutions. I say you’re not patriots trying to make America great again. You’re fools prepared to hurt the country and the world far more than any political “establishment” has or would ever do.

Americans may describe the billionaire businessman’s behavior in many ways, but psychologists and experts told USA TODAY that textbook bullying shouldn’t be one of them. The greater challenge, the bullying experts say, is explaining the reasons for Trump’s popularity in a culture that is supposed to frown on naked aggression…

“There are certain people who do enjoy the bravado. They look up to that and view it as strength,” said Derek Swain, a registered psychologist in Vancouver who’s counseled adults and children who’ve been bullied.

“It’s kind of a relic of our primitive history,” Cornell said. “Hierarchies were established through power and domination.”

Yes, Trump is basically executing a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. Is that supposed to make the civic-minded shudder? Does the Republican Party strike you as a particularly civic-minded organization? Is there any organization you can name more deeply deserving of being hostilely taken over in this manner?

Conor Friedersdorf asks why Trump supporters think Trump will treat them better than conventional politicians have given that his agenda has been utterly self-centered in the past. But that’s the wrong question. In his vanity, his self-centeredness, his egomania, Trump is very much a conventional politician. Few people run for high office because they are determined to accomplish a specific agenda. Most run for office because they see themselves as the man in the arena. Donald Trump is just particularly good at projecting the image that he is that man…

Trump has articulated a vision of what the president’s job is, and that is to be the chief negotiator for the United States. If that’s the job, who, among his competition, looks like he or she would do it better? Who has provided any evidence that he or she would do it better? Moreover, China, Mexico, and Iran aren’t the only powers the next president will need to negotiate with. He or she will also need to negotiate with Congress, an entity whose unpopularity rivals those foreign powers. Who’s going to do a better job than Trump negotiating with them? (Or — and this is at least as likely — hastening our descent into outright Caesarism by dispensing with Congress altogether?)…

Donald Trump’s greatest weakness as a candidate has always been the utter ridiculousness of the proposition. Now that he is actually a plausible contender for the presidency, either as a Republican or as an Independent, it will take more than derision to beat him. It may take an actual reason why he would be a worse president than another contender — and a reason that resonates with the broad swath of Americans who are not wedded to the core ideological commitments of either of our major parties.

Via RCP.