WASHINGTON – Both the Republicans and the Democrats have to deal with an odd character as would be president. The Republicans have Donald Trump, a boisterous business man, the Democrats have Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an old but feisty socialist.
The difference between Republican contender Donald Trump and Democratic would-be president Bernie Sanders is that, in a really crowded field, (16 declared candidates),Trump is now leading in the polls taken among likely Republican primary voters. Bernie Sanders has significant following within the left of the Democratic Party; but there is no chance that he will be the upset nominee, beating ultra-favorite Hillary Clinton.
GOP loves Trump
Therefore, in a truly disingenuous way, the liberal media can say that Donald Trump, with all his outrageous bombast, is the candidate favored by most Republicans. This being the case, the pundits and the rest of sane America can conclude that most Republicans are lunatics, espousing hatred for immigrants and a confrontational foreign policy.
This is technically true, at this early stage. But it is also patently false. There are 16 Republicans in the race for the GOP nomination. The fact that Trump is now leading the pack with less than 20% of the votes does not mean anything.
Be that as it may, the sad truth is that many voters, especially independents, will stay away from a Republican Party that allows Donald Trump to run for president. And this is a real “image” problem.
Of course, many are hoping that sooner or later Trump will say something so outrageous that it will turn off the would be voters. I would say that there is no chance of this happening.
Americans love the outsider
There is a significant segment of the American electorate that loves a man “who tells it how it is“. They love a non professional politician who does not need to curry favors because he can burn his own cash to run for president.
Being independent of the party elites, he can tell them what many rank and file voters really believe: “You are all weak. You are stupid. You do not know how to negotiate anything. You have allowed America to become the world’s laughing stock. No wonder we get no respect. But I’ll fix all this. I know how to get things done.”
Yes, a significant segment of the American population loves this kind of bombast. As Trump is now the self-appointed “truth teller”, he can say whatever he wants.
In fact, the more offensive, the better. His supporters certainly do not expect him to apologize or retreat after having said that Republican Senator John McCain is no war hero, because his fame comes from having been a prisoner during the Vietnam war.
Media love this
And the mostly liberal media love this spectacle. Imagine this: the entire Republican Party establishment labeled as stupid amateurs by an outsider with ultra radical and in many ways crazy positions on almost everything who is actually leading in the polls.
Isn’t this truly wonderful?
Here is the emerging narrative. “Because of Donald Trump, the whole world can see that deep down most Republicans are just as crazy as he is. Even though they have a wide choice, they really like Trump. And you want to vote for this party? Please…”.
As I said, do not expect Trump to withdraw from this race, or flame out any time soon because of self-inflicted wounds. His hard-core followers love all this. In fact, the more outrageous his behavior, the better.
Some details, please
The only way to show the voters that there is little substance beyond boisterous statements, is to dig deep into his policy statements. Sooner or later someone will have to ask specifics.
Is it really enough to say that a Trump administration will build a wall between the USA and Mexico, while it will force the Mexican government to pay for it? Isn’t anybody curious to find out how he will manage to accomplish this?
Likewise, when he says that China and Japan are taking advantage of America in trade relations, isn’t it appropriate to ask how he intends to reverse this trend? How is he going to force China to buy large amounts US goods and services?
If indeed most immigrants from Mexico are criminals and rapists, what is he going to do about the 11 to 12 million Latinos who are already here in America? Deport them all? And how long will this take? What are the likely consequences of such a drastic action?
What will president Trump do to balance the federal budget? Does he have a health care reform plan? What about taxes, and social security?
And what about his statement about creating prosperity and jobs? So far, we have heard nothing about how will do any of this.
No questions asked
For the moment, Trump gets a free ride because he is admittedly a novelty. But Americans get tired of novelties very quickly.
While I believe that Trump will have a solid group of followers until the very end of this race, it should become clear to most voters pretty soon that he is unable to explain in a convincing fashion how he will accomplish any of his declared objectives.
For the moment, lots of people are satisfied with Trump’s generalities: “Trust me. I became very wealthy because I am a skilled negotiator. I shall bring my business expertise into the policy-making arena. I shall transform America because I know how to do this”.
My hope is that voters will soon require a few more policy details. As there are none, they will realize that this noisy outsider is probably not good presidential material. Again, this is only a hope…