While many mainstream political observers don't think Donald Trump has a chance, he continues to grow in the polls. Part of this is that he appeals to many people with his brashness and honesty and willingness to take on the political establishment.
Another part of his appeal is more subtle. In an average election year, half of all Americans who are eligible to vote simply don't show up -- they stay at home and don't vote. When Barack Obama won in 2008, part of his key strategy was to energize new voters -- just to get a few extra percent of people who ordinarily wouldn't vote to show up at the polls. It worked, and Obama became president.
A similar phenomenon may be starting to happen with "the Donald." Trump is energizing people who may not ordinarily participate in the political process. 1/3 of Americans now identify as "independent" -- and many of the people who identify as Republican don't vote. If Trump can be successful in bringing many of those disaffected people into the political process -- and there are signs that it may be beginning to happen -- he could do surprisingly well in the election.
Of course, other great candidates could do the same. If evangelical Christians, who make up 1/3 of Republican voters, turned out for any of the candidates that appeal to them, this could significantly sway the election.
One thing is sure -- there will be lots of swings and changes over the next few months. Stay tuned!