How Donald Trump Went From Laughable Presidential Candidate To Likely GOP Nominee

Never say never.

25/02/2016 7:12 AM AEDT | Updated 16/06/2016 10:56 PM AEST

This story was originally published on February 24, 2016, and is being republished to mark the one year anniversary of Trump's presidential campaign.

Donald Trump, despite his misogyny, bigotry, racism and lack of knowledge of U.S. policy, is now the presumptive Republican nominee for president. It's something that few covering the launch of his presidential campaign one year ago could have imagined.

When he descended the escalator at Trump Tower in New York City on June 16, insulted Mexican immigrants then announced he was running for president, many noted his bombastic rhetoric but didn't seem to really take him seriously.

"The billionaire, widely seen as having almost no chance of winning the nomination, brings an outsized personality and a penchant for controversy to an unusually large group of Republicans vying for the presidency," Reuters wrote in its coverage of the campaign's launch.

The Huffington Post covered the event under the headline, "Donald Trump Is Actually Running For President. God Help Us All," and wrote that Trump's speech "strongly resembled performance art." (Trump's speeches, often rambling fragments of loosely connected ideas lacking in detail, still strongly resemble performance art.)

The New York Times was equally skeptical.

"It seems a remote prospect that Republicans, stung in 2012 by the caricature of their nominee, Mitt Romney, as a pampered and politically tone-deaf financier, would rebound by nominating a real estate magnate who has published books with titles such as, 'Think Like a Billionaire' and 'Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich — And Why Most Don’t,'" the paper wrote.

Several outlets focused on the fact that Trump had publicly flirted with a White House run previously and seemed unconvinced the presidential campaign wasn't just another publicity stunt.

"After years of head fakes about running for the White House, The Donald promised his two-decade game of pretend is over," Politico wrote. The Washington Post also noted that "Trump has publicly flirted with a White House bid for several campaign cycles, with critics dismissing the highly public decision-making process as attempts to increase his media exposure."

Even though reporters were skeptical of Trump's prospects, they did suggest that he could shake up the Republican race.

"Mr. Trump, who has never held elective office, may not be so easily confined to the margins of the 2016 campaign. Thanks to his enormous media profile, he stands a good chance of qualifying for nationally televised debates, where his appetite for combat and skill at playing to the gallery could make him a powerfully disruptive presence," the Times wrote.

Politico also warned "the famous blowhard could be a real problem for Republican candidates, hogging the attention and limited debate stage space that are key for such a crowded field of more legitimate candidates."

By July 1, less than a month after he launched his campaign, Trump was a presidential frontrunner. He would go on to insult veterans, women and Muslims and encourage physical violence against others. He hasn't looked back in the polls since.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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