If Donald Trump didn’t exist, someone would have to invent him. While he probably won’t win the Republican nomination, the man will probably perform at least one public service by making it that much safer to speak honestly about your political views.
Only someone as rich, and seemingly immune to past failure, as Trump, could have played this role. A man who is at once worth so much, and also so used to bankruptcy court, is a man for whom the prospect of failure or disapproval no longer holds any fear.
In essence, Trump is wealthy and reckless enough to be immune from public opinion. It’s not that he has nothing to lose, it’s that he doesn’t care if he loses. Even if he weren’t polling so well, his campaign could go on for as long as he wanted it to, and continue generating headlines. If he doesn’t win the presidency (which seems likely), he’ll probably go back to raking in the cash, with a nest egg of several billion to sit on.
In other words, when Trump said no one could buy him off as president because he’s “really rich,” he had a point. His campaign doesn’t need donations, so he’s free to offend special-interest groups and other traditional kingmakers. Even if he’s not winning in the polls, his gift for incendiary gab will still grab headlines, so he can afford to alienate some voters without fearing the loss of relevance.