This is the summer of the GOP establishment’s discontent.

With the rise of Donald Trump, the old order is out of sorts and in some corners chaos has ensued.

The chattering political class is beside itself and in shock that the more they criticize Trump, the more his poll numbers seem to rise.

Some have begun to calling him the “Teflon Don,” and none other than Bloomberg Politics Managing Editor Mark Halperin (no conservative) stated on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that presidential candidate Trump has “reached a turning point” where establishment candidates “think he can win Iowa, most believe he can win the nomination, and a significant number think he could win the White House.” And a recent post-debate poll has Trump at 25 percent among likely GOP voters, far out pacing his closest competitor.

Trump delivered a very solid interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and then unveiled a detailed plan to deal with illegal immigration.

And while it has been criticized by the “open-borders caucus,” it is well thought out and was written in consultation with Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration.

So what’s the reason for Trump’s success to date?

First, he has a huge presence and he is an insurgent.

Second, he is the nonpolitician who has been able to set the agenda.

Being a nonpolitician and a D.C. outsider is instructive.

If you look at others who are climbing in the polls, Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Dr. Ben Carson are rising because they aren’t elected officials or they are from outside the beltway.

And to be fair, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is also moving up, because from the onset of his Senate career has taken on the D.C. establishment.

Rank-and-file conservatives are furious with the “Washington cartel,” as Cruz describes them. Trump has tapped into that anger.

During the last campaign, the professional politicians promised to defund Obamacare and Obama’s executive amnesty then reneged on their promises once they were re-elected.

The fact is that many Americans see Mr. Trump as a man of action and they find it refreshing that he is not politically correct.

The establishment GOP candidates are struggling to get their footing.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the establishment’s backup candidate — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — have suffered since the entry of Trump. And both Bush and Walker have made their shares of gaffes.
Bush’s supporters believe his “Trump card” — no pun intended — is his fundraising lead. His super PAC will soon begin running $10 million of advertising extoling his conservative record as governor of Florida.

True, Bush’s super PAC has over has over $100 million in it, but I would contend that — to date — Jeb has offered no compelling message of why he wants to president and he doesn’t look like he is having much fun on the campaign trail.

Yet, as many prognosticators have cautioned, it is early in a long process.

Clearly, Trump has shaken things up.

The GOP’s Reagan Library debate on Sept. 16 will be a key indicator of who will emerge as the No. 1 competitor if not the front-runner for the nomination.

What is clear is that there is a blue-collar, populist backlash across the country to the D.C. politicians from both parties. Those hoping to be president would be wise to pay attention to it.

Marc Rotterman is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation.