What if Trump hadn't run?

Although he’s not running, Trump maintains a regular media presence, appearing on Fox News about three times a week and CNN at least once a week. Many people beg him to throw his hat into the race, or so he says. The occasional poll tests Trump’s numbers just to be safe, and he performs decently.

By mid-September, Ben Carson has surged into the lead in national polls with 20 percent support, more than any other candidate has gotten in 2015. Fiorina is close behind with 16 percent. Bush still leads the so-called “Establishment Lane” of the primary, but with only 14 percent. Pundits and analysts start to call 2015 the “Year of the Outsider.”

Bush maintains a 5-point lead in New Hampshire, though he’s fallen out of the top tier in Iowa. There, Carson, Fiorina, Cruz and sometimes Walker battle for the lead.

Walker shocks everyone with an early October exit after lackluster debate performances and low fundraising numbers. Otherwise, the race is fairly stable. But terror is on its way in November and December and the race is about to get a shake-up.