That a billionaire TV personality with hair issues would get a lot of attention as a “presidential candidate” (in quotes because his chances are zero) is not in itself remarkable. And his statements are not due to stupidity. Too many people call others they disagree with “stupid” (like George W. Bush). Nobody gets high office or great wealth being stupid.
So, why does Trump behave as he does? He must calculate that, on some level, it works for him. That’s what’s disturbing.
Polls showing Trump with 24% atop a very divided Republican field are meaningless; most respondents at this stage are just shooting in the dark. But still. That many would name Trump bespeaks a lack of civic seriousness. Trump’s campaign is just one big middle finger, attracting middle finger type people.
The media bears some responsibility for debasing a presidential election. But one can hardly blame them; the public loves a freak show. Jon Stewart is certainly having a ball. Yet what a shame that it detracts attention from worthy candidates like John Kasich who have important things to say. America faces big issues and shouldn’t waste time with Trump talk.
Kasich won’t likely even get into the TV debates, which will be limited to ten top-polling candidates – a meaningless criterion when most are in single digits. Trump, though, will make the cut, to ensure a circus atmosphere. But in any case a so-called “debate” with ten contestants will be a poor vehicle for informing the public.
It probably won’t ultimately matter. With most other candidates knocking themselves out to out-extreme each other, Jeb Bush will be the nominee.