Donald Trump, clearly nervous about Senator Ted Cruz’s rise in the polls in Iowa, took his first steps yesterday toward tearing down the one opponent who has refused to take shots at him. Neither Cruz nor his campaign have responded to Trump’s subtle jabs last night regarding Cruz’s Cuban heritage, his religious faith, and his refusal to support ethanol subsidies (which is wildly popular in Iowa). Trump did promise to go to war with Cruz if Cruz managed to threaten him in the polls, so last nights jabs were not unadvertised. Donald Trump is a scorched-earther, willing to lay waste to anyone that gets in the way of what he wants; and what he wants is to become the most powerful man in the world.
Donald Trump’s campaign has run on the theme of making American great again, protecting Americans from illegal immigrants and Muslims, and helping America win against Mexico, China, and Russia. The Donald hasn’t delivered much in the way of substance, but the seething anger and fear at the heart of our society isn’t looking for brilliance, or substance, or policy. They hate Obama and they want a President who will burn Obama’s legacy to the ground, wiping out any evidence that this man was ever their Commander and Chief. Many Republicans, too, aren’t worried about the consequences of putting someone like Trump in power, so long as he burns the Republican Party and its leadership to the ground.
This has been the relative brilliance of the Trump campaign. He says things that are true, not because they are true, but because they feed into the rage which has enraptured the populace. Attacks against Trump as being hateful always fail, because what he says isn’t hateful, it’s merely fuel for the fire. His keen sense of this systemic anger and his ability to wield it, to turn conservatives against conservatives, democrats against democrats, and moderates against moderates, is his most potent weapon.
Donald Trump won’t make America great, but he will hurt the people the average American is angry with and his supporters are comfortable with the idea that destroying their enemies is good enough for the time being.
However, I doubt Mr. Trump will be successful. Eventually he’ll run out of people to attack, people to blame, and people to make fun of, and he’ll come face to face with Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in future debates, who are far more knowledgeable and skilled in that arena. Like Hillary Clinton, Donald Trumps bumper sticker talking points will get old quick. Eventually even his supporters will begin to wonder how Donald Trump intends to accomplish what he intends to accomplish. If Trump manages to give answers to these questions, Trump supporters will quickly realize, to their horror, that Trump’s solution to every problem is more government, more police action, more bombs, more wars, more laws, more restrictions, and more regulations. Donald Trump might love America, but he’s no great admirer of liberty.
For those who fear Trump… stop it. To the supporters of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, I would like to encourage you to remain optimistic and positive about this campaign, no matter how many insults and insinuations The Donald throws the way of your candidate of choice. If his high-school social-politics and bumper sticker wisdom are the best Trump has to offer the American People, he won’t win a single State primary or convention. Regardless of what you might believe about our fellow Americans, at least on the Republican side, they may vote stupidly (Romney, McCain, Dole), but they rarely vote recklessly. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are both running expert campaigns and are establishing winning organizations and infrastructure. More likely than not, it will come down to a battle between these two Junior Senators, and Trump will go back to purchasing Democrat and Republican legislators to ensure small businessmen don’t get in the way of his empire.