Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Donald Trump Is Controlling the Republican Debate(s).

Donald Trump: larger than life, and larger than common sense.

I don't claim to know how Donald Trump thinks. He says stuff that appears either crazy or unbelievably incendiary; all his critics go ballistic, claiming that this time he's gone and done it. What ends up happening is his poll numbers go up. Every time!

It's time to admit that he knows something the rest of us either don't know or won't concede. What I think he knows and we resist is that his base -- also known as the core far-right wing, conservative Republican base -- buys just about everything he says. He's not marching to a different drummer. He is the drummer.

Can he keep it up all the way to the nomination? Again, I can't claim any insight about it, but, yes, he just might do that. But even if he doesn't, he's laid down a beat that is almost inescapable, one upon which the rest of his party are basing all their moves. He's snapping his fingers, and his rivals are twitching, especially the so-called establishment camp. Boy, he's got them twitching.

Josh Marshall, one of the sanest political observers, just published a smart post that understands most of the above:
Politically, the GOP has an interest in whipping up this kind of hysteria. But a substantial number of people in this country also clearly need this fantasy vision of a great clash between good and evil which is in its own way only slightly less apocalyptic and unhinged than the philosophy of ISIS itself. We hear these slogans again and again about World War III and the rest. So we become acclimated to them. But they are really quite nuts. We've somehow been transported back a decade, zeroed in on the small magazine and blog right wing fever swamp of 'Islamofascism' and World War III. But now that's the mainstream GOP. I note as I did in the live blog that each of Donald Trump's opponents conspicuously declined to really attack Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States. They didn't agree precisely, they had a more focused approach, Obama made him do it. But all seemed to proceed on the knowledge that the great majority of Republicans like the idea and frontally criticizing it would be a bad idea. As much as Trump seemed to lose his temper a few times in this debate, my read was more a calm but fierce confidence that he is defining and controlling the entire shape of the primary debate. And he's right. He is.
Where does this leave Trump? At an advantage, to be sure. He may yet stumble. Any pol can, and Trump is less a pol than a rolling phenom. But he's in control for now.

Who would ever have thought that?

No comments:

Post a Comment