From the moment Donald Trump announced his candidacy, the pundit class dismissed him as unelectable. Even as his numbers rose to dominate the Republican field, the usual “experts” said he didn’t have a prayer of securing the nomination. They predicted he would flame out, the victim of his own controversies. Or Republicans would wise up and choose someone a little more presidential. Either way, they insisted, this was a pop culture event, not a serious bid for the White House.

But only weeks later, all the experts are flummoxed. Trump’s popularity has weathered one controversy after another, emerging stronger each time. Put in a direct debate with once-inevitable candidates like Jeb Bush, Trump held his own. And with a new CNN/ORC poll pitting potential candidates against Hillary Clinton, it appears he is more electable than anyone else in the primary field.

When matched head to head with the former secretary of state, Trump lags only 6 points behind Clinton. With his campaign spiraling upwards and hers stalling in the wake of an email scandal that grows worse by the day, the thought of President Donald Trump has gone from an absurd thought exercise to a real possibility. He fares better against Clinton than any other Republican.

And conservatives haven’t been this excited in years.

True Democracy In Action

If you think back only a few months, you’ll remember the mood on the right was grim and dark. Was Romney going to run again? No, it turned out. Whew. But then we got the bad news: it’s going to be Bush. Which, as far as conservatism goes, is just as bad as Romney. And from a political viability standpoint, possibly worse. This guy, after all, would be anchored with his brother’s tarnished legacy. Americans weren’t going to put another Bush in the White House. We saw the writing on the wall: we were going to blow it again, giving Hillary Clinton the presidency.

And then Trump happened.

The media still can’t figure it out. Is he speaking to a racist portion of the population that is sick of a black president? Is America so entranced by reality television that we’re ready to elect one of its stars? What could possibly explain this unique candidacy?

It’s none of that. Trump has emerged at exactly the right time, saying exactly the right things in exactly the right way. He is the embodiment of political incorrectness. He is a manifestation of conservative rage. His popularity is due to a Republican base that feels used, abused, and betrayed. He has persevered despite a hostile media, proving that democracy is not quite dead after all. Is he the perfect candidate? The perfect president? No way. But for right now, he is the man. And if he shocks the world next November, well, we could do a lot worse.

Just look across the aisle.