I'm ready to concede that Donald Trump is the most anomalous figure I've seen in presidential politics. He has defied the laws of electioneering so many times-reversing his favorable-unfavorable numbers despite universal name identification; thriving in the wake of incidents that would have sunk ordinary campaigns-that I'm close to believing that Trump is a political singularity: a figure so dense that he warps the rules of space-time around him in ways the observer can't fully understand.
For exhibit #17, I present to you this CBS poll from over the weekend. What's interesting isn't (just) the Iowa top-line numbers, where Trump has turned aside Ben Carson's brief challenge and now sits on 30-percent support, which is a 9-point lead over the retired surgeon.
It isn't just that outside of Trump's supporters, another fifth of Iowa Republicans say that Trump is "ready to be commander in chief."
It's this: CBS asked Trump supporters--that is, not all Republicans in the survey, just the people supporting Trump--what their favorite thing about Trump is. And guess what percentage said that their favorite thing about their guy was "his faith and beliefs"? No, really. Guess. I'll wait.
You have that number in your head now? We're talking about the percentage of Trump supporters who say their favorite thing about Donald Trump is his faith and beliefs.
The number is zero.
How do you lead the field in Iowa-comfortably!--when not a single one of your own supporters are especially convinced of your "faith and beliefs?"
Beats me. But it's happening. For now. I still believe, as I have since the summer, that in order for Donald Trump to be the nominee, then everything we think we know about politics would have to be wrong.
Then again, I believe in the laws of physics, too. But they don't hold up in the presence of a singularity either.