Donald Trump has turned out to be the perfect spokesperson for the GOP. He says the things they think but are, unlike him, too afraid to say in front of cameras and into microphones. A look at the polls, which put Trump in first place, in some cases and a very close second to Bush in others, is a clear indication that the vitriol and hyperbole he spews is attractive to the right-wing. For some it's musical, and for others it's like that awkward moment you hear a recording of your own voice.
His announcement speech, which included the now infamous racist and bombastic anti-immigrant rant, caused his poll numbers to spike. Apparently calling an entire nation of people rapists and murderers goes over pretty well with Republican voters. And when he doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on his statements his poll numbers spiked again. One would think that comments like that would cost someone votes but instead, they've only made him more popular with the right.
The backlash has been incredible and has caused companies including NBC Universal, Macy's and Univision to cut ties, and raised some eyebrows among other Republicans concerned with the party's need to repair its image among Latino voters. Not enough, though, for any of them to actually say anything against Trump or his comments. It took Jeb Bush a full three weeks to issue a statement about Trump and he's married to a Mexican. The rest of the GOP has remained mostly silent, seemingly too afraid to alienate the racist base they've worked so hard to cultivate.
Some of the comedy, intentional or not, has been spectacular. David Letterman came out of retirement with a Top Ten list.
I retired. I have no regrets. None. I was happy, I'll make actual friends, I was complacent, I was satisfied, I was content. And then a couple of days ago Donald Trump said he was running for president. I have made the biggest mistake of my life.
Among some of the items on the list were, "During sex, Donald Trump calls out his own name" and "He wants to build a wall? How about building a wall around the thing on his head?"
Rachel Maddow commented on Letterman's impromptu appearance on her show as she put together her own review of Trump's unintentionally hilarious antics.
David Letterman [is] still retired, apparently, but working again despite himself, because Donald Trump is, in that one very specific way, very good for our country: He is good for the well-being and mental health of political satirists.
The Simpsons, who up until now haven't been known for a quick turnaround on current affairs and events, put out a YouTube video just for The Donald. In the clip Homer is at Trump's announcement event, riding behind the billionaire on his now-infamous escalator ride (complete with "supporters"). Homer is mesmerized by Donald's hair. He gets sucked into its sentient and vast appeal. Bigfoot, Amelia Earhart, and the monkeys from 2001: A Space Odyssey all live in The Donald's hair. There's even a Macy's reference, from week-old news.
"It's so wispy," Homer says. "It's a gravity defying comb-over... I can't believe this was once on his ass..."
Mexicans and Mexican immigrants have gotten into the fun too and it's always particularly entertaining when creative people get angry and channel that anger into their art. Mexican artist Dalton Ramirez created a Trump Piñata and Mexican immigrant and artist Fernando Sosa used a 3D printer to create a sex toy in Trump's likeness. Regardless of whether you love him or hate him either of these items leave you with plenty of options of what you want to do with him.
One of the more ludicrous responses and theories to Trumpapoolaza is that of a Florida Republican, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Miami), who blames Democrats for Trump. Curbelo tweeted in Spanish, "I spoke to @ahoraoscarhaza on @z92miami about absurd comments by @realDonaldTrump and I offered my theory that he's a phantom candidate," after an interview with the popular radio host Oscar Haza.
He then reiterated what he had tweeted during an interview with Colombia's W Radio, saying,
There are too many important national, local international topics to waste time talking about a person who, I repeat, in my judgment is irrelevant -- and who quite possibly is a phantom candidate recruited by the left to create this entire political circus.
And then expanded on the theory to Miami radio host Roberto Rodríguez Tejera:
I think there's a small possibility that this gentleman is a phantom candidate. Mr. Trump has a close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were at his last wedding, he has contributed to the Clintons' foundation, (and) he has contributed to Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaigns. All of this is very suspicious.
While Curbelo's theory, as farfetched as it is, would be a lot of fun, the Democrats couldn't possibly pull something like that off. So far they've seemed incapable of being that maniacal, organized, or devious -- no matter how much some of us on the left would wish that they were. It seems almost disappointing to see Democrats incapable of stooping to the level of gamesmanship and dirty politics that those on the right seem to pull off as naturally as breathing.
The Florida Democratic Party did in fact respond to Curbelo's remarks.
The only thing more absurd than Donald Trump's conspiracy theories is Congressman Carlos Curbelo's theory that he is some secret Democratic plant. Curbelo's bizarre claim is an insult to the intelligence of his constituents and goes to show just how much damage Trump is doing to the Republican Party's brand. Unfortunately for Curbelo, Trump is only gaining in the polls. It's time for Congressman Curbelo to take off his tinfoil hat and give an honest answer about Donald Trump and his bigoted remarks.
The fact of the matter is that Donald Trump and his antics are exactly what the GOP wants to hear. Trump embodies what the majority of the right-wing thinks and feels but are too afraid to say out loud. So when The Donald bloviates, rants, and pontificates about whatever comes to mind, regardless of fact or evidence, lunatics from the right cheer him on, either out loud or silently.
As Nobel Laureate, Economist, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman put it during a Bloomberg interview:
He is a belligerent, loudmouth, racist with not an ounce of compassion for less fortunate people. In other words he is exactly the kind of person the Republican base consists of and identifies with. It's clear that the very things that Upper West Side New Yorkers find detestable about him are exactly what endear him to the Republican base which is basically people who see in him everything. Even the big red face yelling is -- that makes him their kind of guy.
When Krugman was asked if he buys into the statements that Republicans make about Trump when they say Trump is not one of them or a real conservative, Krugman said he does not:
What is interesting I think is the establishment has lost the ability to restrict the field so that only people who can put a smoother face on it are competitors. They've lost control. The dynasties, the corporations have lost control at least for part of the primary. We saw the same thing in 2012. One after another, basically ludicrous candidates big loudmouth angry ludicrous candidates shot to the top of the polls. And in the end they nominated Mitt Romney. On substance was not all that different from the others. And probably the same thing will happen this time around.
I write a lot about the GOP and the right-wing lunacy. For the most part it's low hanging fruit and I identify with Jon Stewart, who referred to the act of "turd mining" during one of his recent shows and explained to "The Guardian" that 16 years of covering lies and absurdities has left him exhausted.
I get emails and read comments from people who identify as Republican or conservative that are, for the most part, insulting and threatening and usually poorly articulated. But occasionally I get one or two that try to convey or explain to me that not all Republicans are like "that" and that there are some reasonable people in the GOP. My response (and I do try to respond) is always, "I suggest you talk to your spokespeople, because they're making the rest of you look like raving loons."
Listen to the discussion in the second hour of The Trupiano Show.