Why Donald Trump is winning the Republican nomination now?
It's a combination of two factors: 1) Everybody underestimated him 2) His enormous appeal to the Republican BASE (not the Tea Party crazies)1. UnderestimationWhen he first came into the race people just thought of him as a circus show. They thought he was just a buffoon out to get more ratings for his TV show (which was the initial plan actually: How Trump did it). They didn't take him seriously as a candidate. The GOP establishment and others thought they'd see this act before with candidates like Michelle Bachmann and this sudden Trump fever at the start of the election would run it's course. They were wrong, and they are going to pay for it because Donald Trump has so much momentum right now that I doubt Rubio, Cruz, or Kasich are going to catch up. According to the Rolling Stone, every Republican who has won the New Hamphire and South Carolina primaries has gone on the win the nomination. If the GOP had the wisdom to rally behind a single candidate early, they may have been able to beat Trump. They let months go by where Trump was the only candidate getting major media attention, and with most Republicans (well most Americans really) being low-information voters, what they hell did they think would happen?2. Appeal Donald Trump is winning because he has his finger squarely on the pulse of what the MODERATE Republican base wants. See a lot of people, particularly my more naive liberal friends, think Trump is appealing to the super-conservative religious nuts in the Republican party. They are dead wrong. For America's religious extremists, Ted Cruz is the candidate of choice. Trump's base are actually the moderate, working class Republicans. They're the type of guys (and gals) who would typically vote for Jeb Bush. They think Trump is their politically incorrect messiah, here to free them from the endless torrent of cookie-cutter politicians they've had to deal with since Reagan. His tasteless remarks, his boorish attitude, his ridiculous "build a wall and make Mexico pay for it" promises, everything liberals like me hate about him, THEY LOVE IT. It's a real Bandwagon effect, once you get on the Trump train, there is no getting off.
In the US, liberals say that conservatives have moved to the right. Conservatives say that liberals have moved to the left. Is either true?
From all of my reading I’d have to say that Conservatives (in the U.S.) are moving to the right far faster than Liberals are to the left, and it’s because of a lack of moderate views in the Republican party. Things like the Tea Party, the Southern Strategy and pandering to Evangelicals have made the base very conservative and given them no patience for moderates or compromise.I think this is also pretty well illustrated by the policy goals and achievements of each of party. For example, while Republicans in government today fervently oppose Roe v. Wade, that decision was made by a Supreme Court whose majority was appointed by Conservatives. Ronald Reagan, a Conservative darling, granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. A Republican candidate running on these policies today would just not win their base.On the other hand, though Liberals have been successful in achieving many parts of their agenda, the policies they continue to fight for a largely unchanged throughout the last few decades (expanding equality, providing healthcare, education, protecting workers rights, etc.). While Bernie Sanders is campaigning on policies to the left of Hilary Clinton, neither of them really push the boundaries of 20th. century American Liberalism. In fact, I’d say that Hilary Clinton is so close to centre (or centre-left/right depending on your view) that Sanders is a mild liberal at best, made “revolutionary” by how far to the right everyone else is.Basically, while the Democratic Party still contains a wide spectrum of beliefs from centre-right to far-left, the Republican Party has been casting out the “RINOs” (Republican In Name Only) and promoting more stringent conservative, authoritarian, and uncompromising leaders. (Which is how they got a party that shut down the government and votes to repeal a bill they don’t like 60 times - it’s not like they have work to do or anything…).The biggest problem with all this is the polarization. Conservatives and Liberals in the U.S. seem to be living in completely different worlds and that makes any progress incredibly difficult.(The second biggest problem is Republican politicians bending to Christians on issues of mixing Church and State to get votes - but that’s another question).