Monday, December 21, 2015

The Reason Why Trump Gets Away with Saying Whatever He Wants

Ever since he entered the presidential race in June, Donald Trump has offended women, gays, Blacks, Jews, Mexicans, refugees, immigrants and just about every ethnic and religious group in the world. He's recently called for an all out ban on Muslims from entering the United States. He's mocked people with disabilities. He's lied about 9/11. He's attacked the war hero status of John McCain. He's sucked up to Russia's President Vladimir Putin. He's called President Obama "stupid" and continues to question his citizenship.  And he's relentlessly spewed ignorant, incendiary, racist rhetoric to incite his rapacious devotees. Yet he continues to rise in the polls. Why?

The answer is simple: because no one, not even his most loyal "supporters," take him or his candidacy seriously. He's simply entertainment. A show. A modern day Morton Downey Jr., whose pugnacious, hockey-fight persona appeals to the lowest common denominator; the "angry" folks with a voracious appetite for reality television-style confrontation. And Trump's giving them one helluva brawl.

To be sure, Trump's candidacy is unprecedented in the annals of political history. He defies conventional wisdom at every turn. Every time you think he's finally done himself in, his popularity grows. He appears untouchable. Teflon Don. But that would only be worrisome if he was a legitimate candidate.

Trump's base is addicted to his bombastic bluster. They lap it up like a stray cat with a bowl of milk. And that's why they don't seem to care that he somehow manages to reach new heights of loathsome and un-presidential behavior each day. Because these Trumpsters know that, while they adore the spectacle that has become his speeches and rallies, they will never actually vote for him. He's their fun party girl, but he's not the one they'll be bringing home to mama.

Trump appeals to the disaffected and disenfranchised because he's the Larry David of politics, speaking much of what they think and feel, but could never say out loud themselves. But even these loyalists know that he's woefully unprepared and ill-equipped to be president. And they know he could never win. But they like that he's stirring up some serious shit. That, at least for now, he's serving as their advocate. "He's my mouthpiece," one fired up Trumpite said at a recent rally.

But winning presidential nominations requires a lot more than bluster and bravado, as the New York Times reported over the weekend, citing Trump's anemic ground game in the critical early caucus state of Iowa. And it refers to one Trump volunteer who's "sipping white wine" while she's canvassing for votes by phone. The way things are going for Trump in her home state, it's likely his volunteers will be switching to hard liquor pretty soon.

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