Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump went to Iowa today and attacked the Iowa frontrunner, Scott Walker. He also banned reporters from the largest newspaper in Iowa from is campaign rally for suggesting he get out of the presidential race.
Trump is not only the national front runner in the polls among GOP voters he is also the leader in free air time among all the candidates. For a month now, most of the political news coverage in the nation is about Trump. Some of it is good, some bad, but everyone spells him name right.
This is what happens when a celebrity entertainer runs for high office in the United States. Americans are more interested in being entertained than informed.
Trump has re-written the rules of engagement for political campaigns. He refuses to follow traditional rules of political etiquette, he follows his own rules. He began his campaign by slandering Mexico, Mexican Americans and immigrants, calling them “murderers and rapists.” Those remarks went unchallenged for two weeks by Republican candidates. Then, when the public outrage became apparent, Republican politicians began tepidly criticizing Trump, thanking him for bringing immigration to the debate but saying they would have “used different words.”
Then Trump openly and unapologetically violated the Reagan Rule: “Thou shalt not speak badly about a fellow Republican.” Trump began attacking Republicans at a level previously unseen. Most of lines in every speech are Trump bashing and trashing Republican candidates. And he does not mince words. He calls them out by name, calling them “stupid,” “losers,” “idiots,” and “weak.” He even said Senator John McCain was not a hero because he was captured.
Republicans were gleeful in 2011 when Trump called the president of the United States those same things. They cheered when Trump went so far as to assert Obama was not an American citizen. They encouraged Trump to continue to slander the president. Now, they have regrets about the poison they concocted and the monster they created. They are discovering that what goes around comes around.
The common response of Republicans is that Trump does not reflect the Republican Party. If that is the case, why is he leading in the polls?
The truth is that Trump is saying what a large portion of the Republican base actually believes. The base is glad he is saying it, just as they were glad when Trump said that Obama was born in Kenya and his birth certificate was a forgery. GOP politicians are worried that Trump’s blunt and bombastic way of appealing to the base will hurt the “Republican brand.” They fear it will make it harder for Republicans to win a national race, and some Senate races. Trump is the Republican brand. His rhetoric may differ, but his policies are generally in line with the GOP.
The truth is that most of the traditional Republicans in the Northeast and California are no longer Republicans. Mostly all that is left of the Party of Lincoln is the old segregationist Democratic Party in the South. Nixon’s Southern strategy persuaded them to switch to the GOP and Northern Republicans began fleeing. To keep the Jim Crow Republicans in the party, the GOP must cater to their views on issues like race, immigration, and coal. They must toss them red meat by bashing minorities, environmentalists, and immigrants.
After Trump said John McCain was not a war hero, political pundits and over-paid political commentators on the networks said that was the end of Trump. Yet, in the polls taken after the widely publicized remark, Trump dropped slightly, but still leads all GOP candidates.
Trump may not win the nomination in the end. The billionaire class will not allow that to happen, even if they need to summon the Supreme Court to select another president. But, Trump may insure that Democrats hold the White House and possibly re-take the Senate. The demographics of the United States are not in favor of the Republicans and their positions on issues as represented by Trump. Like the dog Toto, he is pulling the curtain away exposing the real GOP.
If The Donald is knocked out, Republicans will either be forced to adopt his positions, like Romney did in 2012 with “self-deportation,” or risk causing angry Trump voters to stay home. Either way, they lose.
Sometimes people need to be careful what they wish for.
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