According to Donald Trump, he is running for the Republican presidential nomination. He has officially announced his candidacy and has made some fiery speeches. However, there are some that do not believe that is serious candidate.
For example, Republican Florida congressman Carlos Curbelo is calling Trump a phantom candidate and is really working for the Democrats. As evidence of this, he points out his ties with the Clintons. However, the evidence of these are based on events that happened about a decade ago.
One can point to the fact that until 2009, Trump used to be a Democrat. However, in the interim, he has identified as either an independent or Republican. Not only that, prior to 1999, he used to be a Republican and for a few years after that, he was a member of the Reform party. It is very possible that he has decided to return to the fold as a Republican. However, his history does show him to be rather mercurial in his political affiliations.
Another aspect that supports the idea that he is a phantom candidate is he has created a political circus. For sure, the political fact checkers are having to work overtime due to some of the statements that he has made. The problem with that point is that, it can be claimed that he is speaking to the Republican/Tea Party base. On the other hand, if he is a phantom candidate, he is acting in a manner that could be called a parody of what some think of the Republican/Tea Party base.
When discussing Trump, he should keep in mind that he is acting in the same way that he did back in 2012. Back then, he made some waves (most notably getting Obama to release his long form) and dropped out of the race. At the time, his was believed that he was in it to stoke his ego. Personally, I think that this is true today.
If Trump was truly a phantom candidate, what does he have to gain? As it is, he is harming his brand with his theatrics. If he is acting in that role, I would think that he would have received some sort of kickback for his activities in 2012. As far as I can tell, he has not received any.
I don’t know Trump’s endgame but I will have to say it has been entertaining so far.