Republican primary voters proved that they didn't want a career politician. And each time Trump went off-script, and the pundits thought he'd said something too volatile, too offensive, or the kind of thing that used to torpedo a candidacy, his numbers just got better and better among Republicans.
A year later, he is the presumptive Republican nominee, with a trail of defeated opponents behind him but a rocky path ahead of him — thanks in no small part to his unwillingness to change his spots to appeal to the broader American electorate. Indeed, there remain big questions about his candidacy, and prominent members of his own party — like the 2012 Republican nominee! — say they won't vote for him. His 70 percent unfavorable rating in a Washington Post-ABC News poll this week is a perfect encapsulation of the Trump dichotomy; here's a guy who offended his way to the GOP nomination, but who might well have offended too many people to actually win the presidency in November.
It's impossible to say what the coming general election campaign will see from Trump. But if the first year of his candidacy is any indicator, it's likely to remain a roller-coaster ride.