WASHINGTON -- Republican campaigns have inured their white male supporters to the same old strategy: bounce passes, free throws, maybe an occasional three.
But Donald Trump has the GOP fanbase out of their seats by relentlessly dunking on his opponents. His windmill jams are tasteless; instead of apologizing, he hangs from the rim, screaming.
He constantly commits flagrant fouls: He called Mexican immigrants rapists, impugned John McCain's military record, and suggested a Fox News anchor was menstruating after she asked a mildly difficult question.
This stuff's supposed to be against the rules! But Trump just bullies the refs, forcing Fox News to give him friendlier calls on the court by threatening to abandon the network.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), in particular, has been getting posterized. At the first debate, he accused Trump of buying politicians, only to have Trump agree and say that in fact, he had even bought Rand Paul. The Kentucky Senator then attacked Trump in a campaign ad, only to have Trump call Paul a "mess" who sucks at golf, which the Paul campaign meekly admitted was kinda true.
Even Democrats are taking elbows to the face. Disgusted that Bernie Sanders yielded his lectern to Black Lives Matter protesters -- women! -- Trump said it showed Sanders' "weakness" and averred that The Donald would have physically fought the protestors.
It's a level of bluster to which Republican voters are totally unaccustomed, and they love it. At least, that's what we think.
HuffPost reporters Zach Carter, Julia Craven and Arthur Delaney discuss the surprisingly lasting appeal of the Trump candidacy in this week's "So, That Happened" podcast, which you can hear below. The fun starts at the 38:50 mark.
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