Political pundits have known since President Obama’s re-election that in 2016, a deep field of recruits, both new and old, would emerge to earn the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
After several subtle hints on the topic, many anticipated that Donald Trump would make a run for the Republican nomination, and were validated when Trump announced he was running for president in mid-June.
However, few pundits expected the earliest comments of Trump’s campaign to be as divisive and out-of-touch as they have been. Even fewer could have predicted how favorably his embarrassing rhetoric would affect his standing in the political polls. Many polls place him at the front of the Republican field ahead of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Others have him in second behind Bush, but all of them show Trump is on an upward trend.
Trump has been making headlines since he launched his campaign, when several media outlets like National Review played games with his awkward live announcement at the Trump Tower in New York City.
Since then, negative publicity has continued for Trump, most of which was the result of the discouraging comments he made toward immigrants during his announcement speech when he said, “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Yet somehow, despite all of the controversy surrounding him, Trump has, rather loudly and obscenely, asserted himself at the front of the field.
And I ask myself, how is this even possible?
Trump is somehow seen as an exciting politician who isn’t afraid to say what needs to be said, and one of the few candid presidential candidates running in 2016.
As exciting as Trump may be on camera, he’s already cornered the market in dull and idiotic statements, which is an impressive feat considering he’s been campaigning for less than a month.
There’s a distinct line between not being afraid to say what needs to be said and saying what is simply untrue. Mexican immigrants aren’t rapists and bad people, and generalizing the entire ethnicity as such is an appalling and misguided conclusion.
Candid isn’t a word I’d use to describe Trump, and thankfully Meet the Press did all the hard work in proving that most of what comes out of his mouth can be chalked up to what is politically expedient for him at the time. The truth to Trump’s campaign is how truly terrible he would be as the leader of the free world.
For those who still can’t see the light, Trump’s comments are damaging, both to the American people and the national image of the Republican Party. They go far beyond the issue of political correctness and will continue to trouble Republicans until they can prevent Trump from again opening his mouth.
Republicans acknowledge that there is an image issue the party faces, and Trump is doing Republicans everywhere a misdeed in continuing his charade of buffoonery. Republicans also know that they need deeper outreach in the Hispanic community to secure the presidency. While Trump is right in that there is an immigration issue in America, his comments provide no solution and are extremely offensive. It is difficult to see how Republicans can connect to the Hispanic demographic when Trump is the most popular candidate the party can offer.
The simple truth is that Trump is disconnected from the American public and doesn’t have the expertise to fill the office for which he’s running. It should be the objective of Republicans everywhere to get that message out to America in the next year of campaigning. The United States and voters of both political parties need leaders with political prowess, not just the loudest man with a microphone.
The election is over a year away, so hopefully Trump’s ride at the top doesn’t last long enough for us to still be talking about him next November. In no way does Trump’s rhetoric reflect the opinions of free market thinkers or the Republican Party, and hopefully a more mentally-grounded candidate can emerge and earn the nomination.