It’s a long way to the Primary – Part 2
In a recent national poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, Donald Trump leads the second place candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, by eleven (11) points.
To appreciate where we are and how we got here, just watch a Trump Town Hall meeting; you know, the type of political gathering where the candidate takes unscripted questions from allegedly real people. That’s in contrast to a Hillary Clinton Town Hall, where attendees are subjected to a loyalty test, handed prepared questions, and placed in seating based on skin color, gender and obvious physical handicaps. In other words, a carefully scripted production.
These Trump Town Halls are a thing of political beauty, a study in how not to conduct oneself according to conventional wisdom. He slumps all over the podium, he winks at the audience, he makes fun of other candidates and the media, he rolls his eyes and puckers his lips, and he does all of this without a single note, stack of papers or teleprompter.
He also filters down complex international disputes, detailed economic messages and sticky foreign policy debates into one-liners, laugh lines to the ill-informed and easily swayed. Otherwise, he speaks right to his own audience.
Recently, the Huffington Post made a policy decision to only feature Candidate Trump within their Entertainment section. Two problems: 1.) The news media shouldn’t decide what news is worthy of their attention. They should cover all news, without favor or partiality. 2.) They’ve totally misread the American voter. No real serious voter cares what the media says anymore. In fact, most of us score the major media as less trustworthy than those they cover!
Setting aside Dr. Ben Carson for a moment, the other campaigns have to be suffering apoplectic fits over the Trump machine. You can almost hear Jeb Bush say: “My father and brother were president, and I myself was a popular two-term governor of Florida! How can I be losing to this guy?”
Well, Sparky, here’s the answer. When The Donald goes out and tells frustrated Middle Americans that he’d going to round up and export illegal immigrants, he gets their attention. They’ve been told for decades that once we “reform” legal immigration, the problem will go away. Nobody believes that anymore. Then, once we’ve deported the illegals, Mr. Trump tells us he’s going to build a big wall across the southern border. Not just any old wall, but “the biggest, most beautiful wall you’ve ever seen.”
That’s a quote!
Trump says as a builder he knows how to build a wall that ladders won’t get over, and he knows technology that will stop tunneling underneath that wall. Liberals and moderates sit back with their wine and cheeses trays and snicker at the images, but across this country, blue-collar people, union workers who’ve lost jobs to NAFTA and TEA Party conservatives skeptical of anything other than simple solutions say: “We love this guy! He says what we’ve been thinking!”
Right now, it’s mostly about immigration. Mr. Trump says he's watching military leaders on TV to gather his ideas for dealing with international crises. Again, the liberals and moderates snicker behind the garden wall. They call it a "Meet the Press" foreign policy.
Recently, Jeb Bush started actively criticizing Mr. Trump for his forced deportation proposal. Mr. Bush accuses Mr. Trump of being harsh and insensitive to all immigrants with his comments about the beautiful wall and evicting illegal immigrants.
Jeb Bush might not be the best person to issue that criticism. His own policy for dealing with this problem is a complex and shifting set of proposals including allowing some to stay, some to pay fines, and some to return to their home country and start again under a new “reformed” process. It sounds like a game made up by children on the playground, where the rules are shifting and flexible to the point no one really has any idea what’s happening, but they keep playing anyway.
To Joe Blue Collar, it just sounds like more failed Washington, DC, circular-speak from another Bush.
The danger is that if Mr. Trump can communicate in the same, simple manner about terrorism, foreign relations, job creation and urban revitalization as he has on immigration, it’s increasingly likely that he’ll build added momentum.
Back to Dr. Ben Carson for a moment. Imagine if Donald Trump were to reach out to Ben Carson and pose the idea of a ticket, even this early in cycle. Dr. Carson’s portfolio as a Trump ticket VP could be to deal with education and opportunity, healthcare and urban decline. Mr. Trump could be the front-man, the showman. Dr. Carson would be the quiet voice of integrity and purpose while Mr. Trump would be the big deal maker and flashy spokesman.
This is not a comforting thought to many.
To those of us who view Donald Trump as little more than a rich loudmouth under a mop of unruly hair, even adding the gravitas of a Ben Carson doesn’t act as the Pepto-Bismol to our upset political stomach.
And yet it’s still early.