On Tuesday of this week Jon Stewart almost nailed it when he said that Trump is “America’s ID running for president” on “The Daily Show.” To be more exact, he’s the Tea Party’s ID, and Donald is betting that it will help secure him a place in the upcoming Republican presidential debates. As the GOP tries to moderate its stance on immigration, because they can’t win the presidency without the Hispanic vote, what does Trump do? In announcing his bid he makes vile and racist remarks about Mexicans, and tells us how he is going to build a wall to keep them out. He just lets loose. The ID on the march. The next day he makes the rounds on talk shows, and in case we missed them, he repeats the same offensive remarks on FOX. And for icing on the cake, he tells us that we will make Mexico pay for the wall, and if it doesn’t, he will sink the country economically.
Yes, crazy, sick, disgusting, xenophobic, but unfortunately, clever. Jeb Bush’s wife is Mexican-American, and he has a more moderate stance on immigration than other candidates in the GOP. Trump is clearly baiting Jeb. He can ignore Trump, which makes him look weak, unwilling to call out racist comments and defend his wife and children’s heritage. Or he can criticize Trump, and run the risk of giving the Donald more publicity. (Don’t expect Trump to stop baiting any time soon. On “Morning Joe” today he said that Jeb is an “unhappy person.”)
Trump only needs to be in the top ten in the polls to secure a spot in the first Republican debates. He’s already doing pretty well. As of early June, he was polling well enough to be included, albeit in ninth place.* But there is more support out there for him. Today we learned in a Politico story that Trump is dominating the Google searches for presidential candidates in all but three states this week. No doubt many members of the GOP, especially in the Tea Party wing, share his views about immigration and a host of other matters, but it has become unfashionable, and not politic, to voice these views too publicly, at least in the national arena. Enter Donald, who center stages them. It’s an appeal to the worst in us, but, hey, it’s just business for Donald. Nothing personal. You do what you gotta do to sell your brand. Strew the glitter in order to get your foot in the door.
With Super PACs Trump can easily find ways to bankroll his candidacy. So what if he throws a 100 million at the election, a figure he has mentioned. He told us in his announcement that his net worth is eight billion, not including assets. This wasn’t just part of a crazy rant. Donald was reminding the GOP establishment that he has the means to keep his candidacy rolling. And if he does, it’s going to be bad news for Republicans. There are people out there who will see him as a straight shooter, giving voice to their fears and concerns. Don’t be surprised if he riles up segments of the base about stuff that Jeb and the GOP establishment would really rather keep in the closet. You know what they say about a House Divided…..
Perhaps Donald will crash and burn before the debates, or soon thereafter, but I wouldn’t bet a Trump Tower on it, even it I had lots of them.
* As of 6/4/2015, according to The Hill, “The 10 Republican candidates who would be included as of now are, in descending order of average poll rating: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, retired neurologist Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, businessman Donald Trump and Perry.”
UPDATE 7/1/2015 Looks like Trump will definitely be in the debates. According to recent polls, he now has some of the best poll numbers. See, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/07/01/donald-trump-is-on-the-rise-and-thats-very-bad-news-for-the-gop/?hpid=z3 Huffington Post’s poll tracker, which averages different polls, currently has him in first place, ahead of Bush, albeit by a fraction of a percent. http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-national-gop-primary