Trump made a brief run for the Republican nomination in 2011. (This was actually his second run for the presidency, but I did not draw anything about his easily overlooked try for the Reform Party nomination in 2000.) Doing his best to fit in with the others in the race, he came out against marriage equality.
In the crowded field of contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, New And Depraved Trump stood out as the shiny object, capturing hours of free media attention without ever actually having to campaign. Just pick up a phone and chat with Morning Joe or the friendly folks at Fox News, and voilá! Sorry, Governor Perry, there's no time left to discuss your policy paper on expanding oil drilling in the Everglades.
He actually had to show up to the so-called debates in person; and there, too, he sucked all the air out of the room. While most of the other radical right-wingers were trying to present a softer image for the television, Trump relied on the strategy that every successful schoolyard bully knows: be first with the name-calling, and keep it simple. Nobody's going to remember those Poindexters' lame-ass comeback attempts.
Most difficult to understand has always been how the Christian Right fell behind this vulgar, thrice-married casino owner so early in the campaign. By February, Trump was on a roll, and apparently, the tenets of Prosperity Gospel dictated that The Donald must be The Lord's Anointed One.
The Christian Right weren't the only ones taking notice.
For my own part, finding reasons to draw Trump for the LGBT publications which run my cartoons has been a challenge. LGBT issues have not been a favorite topic of his (or of debate moderators this year). This cartoon from May illustrates that the focus of his interest was elsewhere.
Trump remembers his friends, so for his running mate, he repaid his debt to the religious right by choosing Indiana Governor Mike Pence, famous mainly for defending a state bill enshrining discrimination against same-sex couples as an inviolable right of all Christian entrepreneurs.
When Trump's "locker room talk" on the bus with Billy Bush came to light, it looked like the October Surprise that should have done him in. But even if his boorishness and sexual harassment hadn't been (excuse the expression) trumped by exquisitely timed assistance from Kremlin stooge Julian Assange, FBI Director James Comey and the vast health insurance conspiracy, Trump's core support was hardened and impervious. He could have, as he said, shot someone on Fifth Avenue and they would still lead the choir singing his praises.