Donald Trump has swept the primaries and is now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. His almost unbelievable primary surge -- from New York to Indiana -- was nothing short of breathtaking. He has confounded almost all the pundits and a majority of elected officials.
Going back to last summer, it was Trump's outsized political acumen that led him to understand the populist economic revolt that has been sweeping America. It's not just the anemic recovery under President Obama. It goes back 15 years, under Democratic and Republican administrations. The American economy has stalled. Middle-income wage earners have essentially had no pay increases since 2000. What's more, American foreign policy has gone off the rails.
And when Trump argued that America must become great again, whether at home or abroad, he hit a vein of political gold. And he got there before any of the other 16 GOP candidates.
This was a talented bunch -- far better than anything the Democrats could produce. But Trump had the right instinct. He understood that the country wants someone who puts American interests first.
So he became the quintessential political outsider. It's what every Republican-primary exit poll showed that voters want. The people are in full revolt and will settle for nothing less than radical change in Washington, D.C., and the entire political system. That's what catapulted Trump to the nomination.
Now, Trump's critics in the GOP say he can't win in November. They say his candidacy will lead to a crushing Republican defeat -- all the way down the ticket in state after state. Respectfully, I disagree.
Though it's early in the general-election process, a number of polls show Trump to be gaining significantly against Hillary Clinton. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Trump only 6 or 7 percentage points back. And his general-election fight has barely begun.
All of this said, the single most important task ahead of Mr. Trump is to prove to Americans that he can do the job of president.
The people of this nation want a strong leader. They want someone who will crush ISIS. They want a fighter to sit across the table from Vladimir Putin. They want someone who can make the right trade deals with China, Japan, and Mexico. They want someone to defend the southern border from illegal immigrants and ISIS intruders.
They also want someone to bring back the post-WWII prosperity, where America grew by 3.5 percent yearly on average, and where per capita GDP -- a good measure of average wages -- rose from $16,000 to nearly $50,000.
Knowing the two are intertwined. they want someone to bring both prosperity at home and peace abroad.
Trump must convince America he can do this. He must demonstrate a firm grasp of policies -- on growth, jobs, wages, trade, immigration, foreign affairs, and sound and stable money.
His serious-speech successes, teleprompter and all, before AIPAC and his April foreign-policy address, should be replicated. The economy, jobs, federal-government spending, terrorism, and immigration are the leading issues. Trump must speak to them. And when he makes his statements, he must stay on message, day after day.