Donald Trump is getting a lot of attention in the media—and a lot more than any other presidential hopeful, Republican or Democrat. CNN, for example, has given Trump more coverage since he announced his candidacy on June 16 than it has to any other candidate, including Hillary Clinton. Before his flashy announcement, CNN President Jeff Zucker even told his producers not to cover Trump, disbelieving that he would actually mount a campaign. A reasonable decision at the time, since Trump had publicly teased that he would run for the White House in 1988, 2004, and 2012.
And what better way to kick off a campaign than to descend like a magnanimous Zeus from on high and unleash a torrent of scathing verbosity that sent world media into a weeklong frenzy? Trump’s first speech will surely go down in Republican annals under the “Make a splash” headline: ““[Mexico] are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists.” The PC police’s furious reaction was so immediate that even GOP candidates and hardline conservatives had to make conciliatory remarks.
Jeb Bush, the one GOP candidate polling ahead of Trump nationally as well as in Iowa and New Hampshire, responded to Trump’s remarks in Spanish (cue the outrage), saying that “extraordinarily ugly kind of remarks is not reflective of the Republican Party.” Bush added, “He’s not a stupid guy, so I don’t assume he thinks that every Mexican crossing the border is a rapist.” Bush said the comments were not helpful and there were no benefits to them, suggesting that politicians win when they stay positive rather than being “angry all the time.”
No, Mr. Bush, politicians shouldn’t stay positive when the American people are jobless and when the Obama administration trades in our future for the future of illegals.
On the other hand, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 100% openly agrees with Trump’s “focusing on the need to address illegal immigration.” Cruz has Trump to thank for taking some of the negative media attention off of his own controversial remarks. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) 87% of Alabama said that though Trump could have expressed himself better, he did not necessarily say anything untrue.
While Trump is certainly no Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (the classic 1939 Frank Capra film in which Mr. Smith, played by James Stewart, goes to Washington D.C. and alters the political process with homespun simplicity and naive honesty), he is refreshingly honest, and his brand of candor – headline grabbing and click-baiting though it may be – is giving Republicans and Democrats a run for their money when it comes to crafting public responses to counter his often outlandish remarks.
With all the crudeness and divisiveness of his remarks, Trump is doing a remarkable job highlighting exactly where a lot of the GOP stands on certain issues. While many journalists seem to dismiss Trump as not being a serious candidate, in so doing they are, interestingly enough, ignoring his very serious standing in the polls.
A very strong undercurrent that is swelling in the media cycle regarding Trump’s recent remarks is the overwhelming support he has in many corners. Jeanne Sangenario, the Seacoast Republican Women Director, said, “I love him. . . . I know he would take no baloney from anybody, from any world leader, and he would get things done and the economy would come back big time, he would get it done—no two ways about it.”
Steven Ginsberg, an editor at the Washington Post, indicated that ignoring the wide voter support would be to ignore one of the fundamental tenets of journalism. “Trump’s rise in the polls speaks to his appeal, but it also says a lot about America in the summer of 2015. Who are the people that are attracted to him? Why? What does that say about the Republican Party?”
“His statements on immigration have led to a vigorous and revealing discussion about the issue among other candidates and within his party. Whether any of that means Trump is a significant factor in Iowa or New Hampshire six months from now, I have no idea. But he is clearly one now and our coverage will continue to reflect that,” Ginsberg said.
In the end, Trump is nothing else than the perfect embodiment of all the shortcomings of the Obama administration – and we only have our Dear Leader to thank for this outcome. Action versus fruitless negotiations, strength over weakness, fiscal conservatism over social profligacy, brashness over diplomacy, these are just a few of the characteristics associated with Trump.
No doubt Trump’s sometimes zany remarks will carry on causing media firestorms, regardless of how journalists or his fellow candidates may feel about it, but beneath all the craziness, the remarks tap into a previously unexpressed side of the American electorate: that even if the US is historically a nation of immigrants, it doesn’t mean that open-ended immigration should be pursued. Come 2016, we need to elect a President that shows that American lives matter. Even if Trump won’t be that person, his presence in the GOP line-up is more than welcome.