The entire conservative punditocracy is in tears due to Trump's rising numbers. They can't understand it. His policy prescriptions are incoherent. He's donated to every big-name Democrat you can think of. He's obviously faking it on abortion. He's as "conservative" as Chris Matthews is "neutral."
The Donald hit a nerve immediately with immigration. Republican voters are sick, sick, sick of hearing from our ruling class how handing our entire country over to Mexico is somewhere between an inevitability and a moral obligation. They are sick of hearing once again how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are caving to Obama. They are sick of hearing GOP candidates call them hateful names and publicly express their embarrassment at having to represent these pathetic rubes.
But more than that, they're sick of being represented by mealy-mouthed, simpering, apologetic nancyboys.
Whenever a Republican is accused of not caring about minorities, not doing enough for women, hating the poor, or whatever, he gets down on his knees and tearfully begs for forgiveness. When liberals attack rank-and-file Republican voters for being too stupid or too racist or whatever, the Republican politician joins in. Whether it's Mitt Romney pleading about his efforts to hire more women or George W Bush apologizing for not "carrying the mantle of Lincoln," it's all the same thing.
Everyone conservative pundit is right: Trump is not a "real conservative." He doesn't have much in the way of concrete policy positions. He's donated heavily to Democrats. His position on immigration seems to be, "Build a wall, kick them all out, then let them back in." In my opinion, he'd be a lousy President. But he doesn't bow and scrape. And Republican voters are looking at the looming wreckage of the country, and they've had it with bowing and scraping.
The base doesn't want someone to apologize to liberals for not being feminist enough. They want someone to attack our accusers. And every single time Trump has been attacked from the left he responds with verbal sucker-punches. At any given point, he always seems about a muscle spasm away from grabbing his attacker by the hair and pounding his face into the table until it's a mess of blood, teeth, and tears. This is like a breath of fresh air to everyone who has watched John Boehner weep and mince about for the last few years. Trump did all but call Megyn Kelly a hysterical bitch who needs to go back to the kitchen. That made him stronger. Attacking him for offending the sacred precepts of feminism doesn't hurt him because that's what we want.
In other words, we don't want someone with all of his policy ducks laid in a row so much as we just want someone to punch back twice as hard. At this point, the only way for any other candidate to get on Trump's level is to call Jon Stewart a smug, self-righteous, dishonest sonofabitch on live TV to his face.