Real estate mogul Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee for president in 2016. This is as irrefutable as the fact that the media are oversaturated with stories covering Trump’s campaign—all apologies from this columnist for contributing to the saturation. Still, it is upsetting to see so many intelligent people lending him legitimate political credence. If anything, his dumpster fire of a campaign is a godsend for the left.
First of all, Trump is not an aberration. His stated political positions are not at all far outside of the GOP mainstream. United States Sen. Ted Cruz—frequently mentioned as a serious candidate for the nomination—has called to end birthright citizenship—a position he shares with none other than Trump.
Jeb Bush—another serious contender—wants to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood on the basis that they don’t provide substantive women’s healthcare. In comparison, Trump’s menstruation joke directed toward Megyn Kelly in the first GOP debate seems relatively innocuous.
When it comes to economic issues, Trump has earned praise from notable liberals Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman for proposing tax hikes on the wealthy. Considered by some to be the GOP frontrunner, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker drastically cut taxes for the wealthy while in office. Compared to Walker, Trump looks like Leon Trotsky.
Trump’s coarse statements regarding Mexicans, women and just about everyone else reflects the subtext of his fellow candidates’ highly polished rhetoric—rhetoric which the Republican Party expertly uses to trick Americans into voting against their self-interest.
That explains why Trump has earned the ire of the GOP base. He is essentially pulling back the veil to expose the core tenets of the modern GOP: xenophobia, misogyny and contempt for the poor. Those do not sound as bad when they are positioned as patriotism, traditional values and a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” attitude.
By dropping that idiotic façade, Trump may hopefully turn middle of the road voters away from the GOP. Lord knows Hillary Clinton—who has public appeal problems of her own—could use the help should she earn the Democratic nomination.
Still, observers point to polls indicating that Trump is leading the current GOP field, as if these polls have any bearing over who will eventually join the elite ranks of Mitt Romney, U.S. Sen. John McCain and former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole. In a recent interview with The Guardian, University of Maryland professor of government and politics David Karol—who co-authored the 2008 book on the historic importance of presidential endorsements The Party Decides—affirmed the unlikelihood of the Republican Party embracing Trump.
“[Republican party leaders] don’t know what he’s going to do,” Karol said. “He doesn’t have a long history in the party. He doesn’t have a history with them. And there is a lot of reason to believe he would be a weak candidate in the general.”
Trump continues to splinter the GOP voting base to the inevitable benefit of the left. For whatever horrifying reason, his message does seem to resonate with certain people—specifically, white supremacists, evangelicals and former Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman.
Trump will likely leave a mark on the 2016 presidential election, but not in the way people think. There is no need to wring one’s hands over the verbal sewage that leaks from his mouth—to do so would needlessly legitimize his presence in the political sphere.
One would be better served to aim that anger at the Republican nominee hopefuls who are saying the same thing—albeit slightly more elegantly.