The Monster Under the Republican Bed
A Meteoric Rise
Nine candidates prepare to take their place Thursday alongside Donald Trump for the first Republican presidential debate. And the flashy celebrity has created a strategic mess for his opponents.
While some think actually think The Donald will go down in flames and not make it through the primaries, the real estate tycoon continues to be the top choice of Republicans for 2016. It has been a fast, steady rise.
In late June, shortly after Trump officially announced his candidacy, just eleven percent of GOP primary voters named him as their first choice. Today, he comfortably leads the pack, with 24 percent of Republicans voter support (SOURCE CBS News poll). Florida Gov. Jeb Bush trails with 13 percent, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, holds a 10 percent position.
The Republican primary often determines who will be the next president of the United States. How will they deal with a rival who is poised to make a Comedy-Central style spectacle of its first major debate?
Business As Usual?
As I wrote about in my article Has Donald Trump 'Fired up the Crazies?' Or is This Just Another Day in The Life of The GOP?, 17 Republicans are running for president, but the field seems much, much smaller than that. "Donald Trump has shrunk the Republican field ... it seems as if there are just three 2016 candidates out there: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump."
Agence France-Presse of Rawstory said:
He blasted fellow Republican White House hopeful Jeb Bush as “weak,” Senator Lindsey Graham as an “idiot,” and Texas ex-governor Rick Perry as a buffoon who wears glasses “so people will think he’s smart.”
And that was in just one campaign speech.
Trump's surge comes despite his controversial remarks about illegal immigration and America's relationship with Mexico which has tarnished him in the eyes of Hispanics. According to Fox News, Trump will literally be at center stage in the nationally televised debate, a position he earned due to his popularity. Why has the brash billionaire snatched a wide poll lead?
Why Donald Trump?
A Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton general election is not out of the question. This has the Republican establishment shaking in its boots.
David Brooks recently wrote:
He’s an outsider, which appeals to the alienated. He’s confrontational, which appeals to the frustrated. And, in a unique 21st-century wrinkle, he’s a narcissist who thinks he can solve every problem, which appeals to people who in challenging times don’t feel confident in their understanding of their surroundings and who crave leaders who seem to be.
A constant media blitz, a 24-hour Trump-news cycle has also fueled his popularity.
Peter Grier of Monitor, said:
The difference with Trump is that he’s media-savvy enough to actually make this hamster wheel spin faster by himself. Trump feeds more and more insults and outrage into the coverage, generating more interest. He is a troll, in modern Internet parlance.
Truth can be stranger than fiction, and this primary is setting up a tragic comedy of mammoth proportions.
Be Careful What You Hope For
Timothy Egan of the New York Times summed it up:
It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged.
Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.
UPDATE 10/18/15: Today on Facebook, a friend added:
I watched Mitt Romney be in total denial about Trump's current position with the Republican base. It's funny because establishment republicans partnered with the likes of Fox News and AM radio to breed a voting base on emotions, fear, and xenophobia for the last couple decades. And now, the likes of Trump and members of the freedom coalition are rising stars among that base. It's as if Dr Frankenstein has realized his monster has a mind of its own.
The GOP has created a monster through its gerrymandering, embrace of right wing nut cases like Ted Nugent and Chuck Norris, and alienation of minorities and women. The "sane" wing of the GOP will howl about Trump, but that wing is pretty small these days.
- In Drama of First GOP Debate, Donald Trump Is Without a Script New York Times
- Donald Trump has his biggest poll lead yet (but he's still not going to win) Vox.com
- Here's a Donald Trump drinking game for tomorrow's debate New York Post
- Can Donald Trump Appear Presidential? U.S. News & World Report (blog)
- Trump surge among Republican voters shows no sign of abating AFP