Over a year ago, I wrote the following about Donald Trump:
It’s time for conservatives to stop playing footsie with Donald Trump.
Now that Donald Trump is officially in the 2016 race for the GOP nomination, it’s disheartening to see conservatives actually propping this clown up and giving him the legitimacy he doesn’t deserve in any way shape or form. People aren’t listening and in the long run, Trump will only hurt the party.
Along the way, the Traveling Trump Clown Show has naturally attracted people who are pissed off at the GOP “establishment.” I myself have gone off on the GOP leadership at times and that criticism is often well deserved. But the notion that Trump is speaking truth to GOP establishment power is just absurd.
In that vein, there are people saying things about Trump in order to justify their cozying up to him (even if it’s only on the issue of immigration) and it’s time to blow up those myths.
1. – “Trump tells it like it is!” – No he doesn’t. Trump says what can get him attention. He’s running and saying the things he says to get attention and have people talk about him. Mission accomplished on that front. But he spouts more bullshit than I can list. Is spreading birther conspiracy theories “telling it like it is”? He’s on record of saying vaccines cause autism. During his 70 minute rambling speech in Arizona last night, Trump said “Every time the Mexican government sends an illegal over here, we fine them $100,000.” It got cheers from the crowd but that statement is perfect example of his buffoonery.
2. – “Trump is talking to the base the GOP establishment ignores!” – Nonsense. I am the GOP base. Trump doesn’t speak for me and his “Old man yells at cloud” act is already boring. He’s touched one particular issue that is central to one small sliver of the GOP base and has exploited it to the extreme. Illegal immigration sits well below other priorities in almost all polls. Trump has merely chosen the one that will get the most attention.
3. “Trump is teaching the GOP how to deal with the media!” – Not really. He speaks in circles. He doesn’t answer questions and his positions on issues have changed or varied so much over the years that its easy for him to just say whatever he wants. There’s no measured tone and while the Hells Kitchen act plays well early on, when people really start paying attention, people will recognize this nonsense for what it is. Marco Rubio, Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina are doing a far better job of handling the media’s goofy questions than Trump is. Bellowing and bloviating is no a strategy for dealing with the media.
4. “Trump is high in the polls and that shows he’s resonating!” – Name recognition is one of the biggest drivers of early poll results. In a post I wrote for Legal Insurrection, there is the following:
Those who follow politics always assume everybody is as heavily invested as they are. That’s usually not the case and what it means is, Trump’s numbers largely represent name recognition more than anything else (by that same token, the same goes for Jeb.)
If you look at the post it shows polls from previous election cycles showing the eventual nominee (from both parties) far behind. Trump’s “message” is not resonating. People know who he is and right now, it is the only reason he is where he is in the polls.
5. “Trump is drawing large crowds and that means he should be taken seriously!” – People love train wrecks and it’s fun to be witness to them. That Trump draws a large crowd makes him a viable Presidential candidate is saying that Bernie Sanders is too. I doubt anybody wagging their finger at people dismissing Trump would say the same thing about Sanders. If Kim Kardashian announced in October she was running for President (it’s when she turns 35), I am sure she would attract large crowds as well. Should she be taken seriously?
Donald Trump excels in self promotion. He’s an attention whore and he has scratched a particularly small itch that has allowed him to garner the kind of attention he wants. His act would not be as effective if he were talking about the economy, data breaches, the mess in the Middle East or the growing problem with China and Russia.
He doesn’t deserve to be paid attention to and he doesn’t offer anything positive for other GOP candidates or the party.
The sooner he is out of the race, the better.