Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Josh Marshall on Donald Trump

Josh Marshall puts Donald Trump's recent attack on John McCain as well as his candidacy into perspective on Talking Points Memo.

Trump's shooting for 20% of the GOP primary electorate in a very crowded field where no other candidate beside Bush (with whom there is likely zero overlap in support) has shown any ability to break out from the pack. He's a jerk and a clown and arrogant beyond belief; but he is media savvy. And he's deploying that ability well to get toward his number.

Is Trump a joke? Of course, he is. But if we judge politicians by any other standard than their ability to garner votes and polling support, we'll soon run out of candidates. If clowns are above your dignity to report on, find another line of work. Especially with this primary field. Trump isn't a distraction or mere entertainment any more than the rest of the GOP field is. In fact, this version of his candidacy (I can imagine him running more as a Perot-type centrist figure in earlier cycles) is the logical end result of the Tea Party-ization of the GOP since 2009. Trump is running an angry, populist campaign focused on xenophobia and "I don't care what you think" aggression against 'the establishment' and 'elites' of all stripes. To think that trash talk against an establishment favorite, who is only marginally relevant to the politics of the moment in any case, will upset that apple cart is to thoroughly misunderstand the politics of the moment. Trump is the Frankenstein's Hair Monster, finally walking among us, who is the inevitable product of a decades long embrace of clown-show anti-establishmentism and the stoking of xenophobic and racial paranoia.

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