Trying to out-Trump Trump? That way madness lies.

August 4, 2015
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

Why have Republican politicians gone crazy?

Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan declared, “It’s morning in America.” Now it’s crazy time in America.

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) was the first to notice. After Donald Trump held a massive rally to scapegoat illegal immigrants, McCain said, “[He] fired up the crazies.” There must be a lot of crazies running around. The latest polls all show Trump as the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination.

Trump then insulted McCain, saying, “He’s not a war hero.” Trump has preferred to call McCain, with his impeccable outer-borough diction, “a losah,” adding, “I don’t like losahs.”

South Carolina Senator and U.S. Republican presidential candidate Graham gestures with Arizona Senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee McCain at a campaign town hall event in Manchester

Senator Lindsey Graham (R) with Senator John McCain at a Graham campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, August 1, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter

After that, it was open season for craziness. Having revealed that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had once called him to ask a favor, Trump gave out Graham’s personal cellphone number and told his supporters to call it — and presumably harass the senator. Trump ridiculed former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s personal appearance, saying he started wearing glasses “so people will think he’s smart.”

The craziness in the Republican race is not confined to Trump. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said that if the nuclear deal with Iran goes through, “it will make the Obama administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.”  In an outrageous violation of Senate decorum, Cruz called his own party’s majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a “liar.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, charged that President Barack Obama “would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven.”  Huckabee violated Rule No. 1 of political discourse: Nothing is analogous to the Holocaust.

Why have Republican politicians suddenly gone crazy? One key reason is that the first debate is coming up, and there are 17 Republican contenders. Fox News, which is hosting the debate, says it will invite only the 10 top-ranked candidates in the polls to be on the big stage. It is holding a separate, earlier debate among the lower-ranked candidates — the junior-varsity debate.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Cruz debates Iran nuclear deal with Code Pink peace activism group co-founder Benjamin during rally in Washington

Senator Ted Cruz had a lengthy debate on the Iran nuclear deal with Code Pink peace activism group co-founder Medea Benjamin (L with peace sign) after the group interrupted his campaign event in Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington, July 23, 2015.REUTERS/Jim Bourg

The also-rans are desperate for publicity to give them a boost in the polls. As one CNN reporter explained it, “There’s this Trump effect going on with some of these candidates where they want to say things and double-down on them to get some attention.”

Trump is gaining support by saying what former Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank once called “not-sa-pos-tas.” Trump says things you’re “not-sa-pos-ta” say if you want to be a viable candidate. Like insisting Obama’s birth certificate is a fake. And Latino immigrants are rapists.

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban, a Trump supporter, explains the Trump effect this way: “I don’t care what his actual positions are. I don’t care if he says the wrong thing. He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.”

Trump is unscripted. He exudes authenticity. His spokesman put it this way: “He’s not a politico. He doesn’t purport to be a politico.”

Trump didn’t create the conservative movement. The conservative movement created him. Conservatives are hungry for a leader who’s not a politician and who exudes authenticity. They demand confrontation.

Conservatives are in open revolt against the Republican Party leadership. Republican leaders are trying to prove they can govern now that they have a majority in Congress.  Governing means coalition building. Coalition building means compromise. Conservatives won’t stand for it.  “The Republican Party in Washington,” Fox News host Sean Hannity charged, “is a carbon copy of the Democratic Party.”

Here’s Obama’s explanation for the epidemic of craziness in the Republican Party: “Maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines.” Actually, other candidates are trying to imitate Trump and grab a piece of the action. But you can’t imitate authenticity.

Bush answers a questions from reporters following a town hall campaign stop at the VFW Post in Hudson

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush answers questions from reporters after a town hall campaign stop in Hudson, New Hampshire, July 8, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is the only Republican contender willing to take Trump on. Bush offers an eloquent defense of compromise and coalition building: “We need men and women of good will forging consensus, starting to solve problems, kind of building back the muscles of consensus, compromise and solution-finding . . . . Apparently that is dangerous in a Republican primary.”

Yes, it is. Which is why Trump is leading Bush by better than two-to-one in the polls. Where will it all end? It will end when Republicans begin to take notice of the polls showing that Trump won’t beat Hillary Clinton. He won’t even beat Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. According to RealClearPolitics, no Republican is beating Clinton right now — but Trump, by far, does the worst. Clinton leads Trump by an average of 15 points in the polls.  She leads Bush by three.

Crazy time will end as soon as Republicans discover that Trump is “a losah.”

23 comments

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No, the Republicans realize that they don’t know how to govern anyway, and are supporting Trump to ensure that they won’t have to.

Posted by Jim1648 | Report as abusive

Wow Bill, clearly a left winger !!! Regardless of right or left, Trump is the only chance we got to maybe just maybe becoming a great nation again…

Posted by Trumpallday | Report as abusive

Wow, clearly see where Reuters stands…. Trump is the best shot repubs have to even coming close to beating Hilary…. Trump all the way!!!!! The last shot we got for America to be great again!!!

Posted by Trumpallday | Report as abusive

Trump is not a different kind. Rather, he is just a matter of degree. Show me one of a different kind.

Posted by aeci | Report as abusive

Why would anybody vote for anyone else

Posted by diomarco | Report as abusive

everything he says is true. You fools like being lied to .You cannot bear to hear your country is no longer great.

Posted by diomarco | Report as abusive

mexicans kill americans true partly, not every mexican ,but true. Trade wars: Our exports tax to china 25% (on usa goods to china). China imports ( China to USA) tax rate 2%). This is why a Chinese baseball bat is $80 ,while an american bat is $100 in the USA. Any one happy with whats going on vote Queen Hilary ,or King Bush. Every incumbent is the problem . Are you happy with this? Clinton great idea NAFTA, send jobs overseas. Car companies move to Mexico. We lose the jobs, Yet we don’t tax them for the traitorous behavior.

Posted by diomarco | Report as abusive

Once again, criticism of style over substance. One of our best Generals in World War II George Patton could piss off the Pope but he won battles. Perhaps Americans are tired of empty promises and empty suits. I know that I am.

Posted by AZWarrior | Report as abusive

You’re part of the establishment, author- you’re scared shitless the silent majority will finally stand up and elect someone like Trump who is not bought and paid for by establishment hangers-on.

Repubs bought by Wall Street, Dems buy their votes with benefits and fear/racism.

Posted by LetBalanceCome | Report as abusive

Interesting how the media loves to cite polls to justify their views. Like all those polls that told us that the last congressional election would be very close. And the polls that told us the last Israeli election would be close. Polls tend to back the view of the financier of the polls. If you’ve ever been called by a pollster you know the questions are asked in the fine tradition of “do you still beat your wife”. And the news media, either by stupidity or disingenuousness, happily tries to lead everyone down the garden path to convince them they know what’s going on.

Posted by handyharley | Report as abusive

If you are tired of empty suits, then why support trump? he IS honest, alright. He is honestly out of touch with the other two thirds of the USA.

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive

Berlusconi kept the world entertained by Moroccan teenage belly dancers and naked national presidents doing orgy.
Putin doing the bare chested muscle flex on horseback, hunting Siberian tigers, and flying with geese, was pretty good.
But the USA is the entertainment super power.
Tonight on national TV news we had Ted Cruz eating bacon cooked on the muzzle of a machine gun massacring whoever.
It is all even better on (legal)drugs.

Posted by Neurochuck | Report as abusive

Didn’t we hear the same type of prediction that he won’t last this long?

Ms. Clinton seems to follow the same suit of throwing goodies to keep people quiet rather than bringing the root-causes to the foreground to address them head-on.

Ever heard of Ms. Clinton or for that matter, any other GOP candidate bring-up China trade or free-trade and loss of jobs?

Trump’s simple and direct approach to the issues, is appealing to the public at large and if anyone he may prove these Pundit-predictions irrelevant.

Posted by Mottjr | Report as abusive

Whether Trump can beat Clinton at this point is unknown. He certainly has as much a chance of any of the mainstream republican Koch suckers.
He certainly has style about him, but differs only in the degree to which is pushes to buttons. Certainly Huckabee, GWB, Cruz and Cotton (remember him) have not avoided ridiculous statements in an attempt to pander.
What is unique about Trump is what Cuban said about him, essentially he is NOT scripted (e.g. walker) and comes across as genuine. The Republican “establishment” should be nervous; the Emperor has no clothes.

Posted by Jaon | Report as abusive

Love Sen. Lindsey Graham sawing up his cell phone.

Posted by tech_penny | Report as abusive

When trump gets the nomination – and he will – he is going to eat Hillary Clinton alive on stage.

Posted by tribeUS | Report as abusive

About 20% crazy on the right and another 20% crazy on the left – in theory they cancel each other out. A candidate wears glasses and 20% won’t for anyone who wears glasses because that means that they must be a limp wristed commie. On the other hand, 20% vote for that candidate just because anyone who wears glasses must be highly intelligent, well educated and thoughtful. The equally stupid responses are self negating.

Posted by kpop | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin got the same people excited too. For a time. Now she’s completely irrelevant. For now bravado and perceived style are helping him in the polls. Unfotrunately for him, running for president isn’t the same as running in the Republican party primary.

Posted by Kombo | Report as abusive

Republicans are so much divided among themselves(So many candidates cutting one another) that the only chance of winning is through Trump.More they dislike Trump,more they will make people angry.
Trump has not to find word and he speaks spontaneously from heart for which he is clear.He may not have been a governor but has proved a very good executive in his business empire in different countries.He will make good use of experts of the administration.

Posted by gentalman | Report as abusive

I’d love to see Trump get the GOP nomination.

Of course, I am a Democrat.

Posted by Oarboar | Report as abusive

Hey Reuters cowardly censors: why don’t you do a piece on how HILLARY tried to STEAL VALOR, repeatedly stating that she had “RUN FROM SNIPERS IN BOSNIA” until she was confronted with video evidence? Then she lied again, said she “misspoke”. What an insult to all that served there.

Posted by LetBalanceCome | Report as abusive

Donald Trump is the smartest man in the room. Just ask him.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

“a losah,” adding, “I don’t like losahs.”……..

i`m wondering if Reuters uses the same when covering blacks speech?

Posted by BCMugger | Report as abusive