As a huge fan of the very articulate and forceful Carly Fiorina, I’ve been wondering why she continues to score very low in the polls for the Republican nomination. Here’s my attempt at an answer.

I believe Carly Fiorina scores low not only because she lacks name recognition, but because she has never held elective public office and she lost the one race she entered. Even though she did well (considering it was in bluer-than-blue California,) she still lost.

Also, although she can explain her firing from Hewlett-Packard in a way that doesn’t reflect poorly on her (see this and this), the firing still doesn’t sound to the casual listener like a success story.

But far more importantly, Donald Trump—-who naturally gains more publicity from his statements and his candidacy because he is flamboyant and somewhat outrageous—has taken the spot Fiorina would otherwise occupy, that of “business-oriented political outsider who has never held public office.” He is far, far more well-known than Fiorina via his long self-promoting stint in the public eye, and is therefore a magnet for the many protest voters on the right. Supporting Trump is a twofer for anyone who’s angry at the establishment: he is not a member of the GOP establishment, and he really gets the goat of those who are.

Trump (and the publicity in the MSM in reaction to him) has also managed to focus on illegal immigration, a topic that makes many Americans particularly furious and frustrated. That is probably the source of a great deal of his support, because he is one of only a few who are finally reflecting the sentiment of much of America, when few on either side of the aisle seem ready to do so.

Is Trump sincere? Perhaps, but I happen to think his main motive is hearing the sweet sound of his own voice amplified and repeated. But others disagree, or they don’t care if he is or isn’t sincere. They like to hear him stick it to the Republicans who have played along with illegal immigration (as well as increases in legal immigration) all this time in order to placate their big business donors. Trump may be a big business guy himself, but he doesn’t depend on donor money to keep his campaign running, and that gives him a certain amount of satisfyingly blunt rhetorical freedom.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]