Trump’s Highlighter

President Obama has a pen, and he hasn’t been afraid to use it. (His transformational writing instrument of choice is really a stubby, unsharpened pencil with a well-worn eraser, but that’s another story.)

Presidential candidate Trump, on the other hand, has a highlighter. It’s grayish-blondish-orange. It’s yuuuge. And it’s been drawing attention to things the establishment, Democrat-media complex, and even some conservatives would have preferred to remain out of the spotlight.

Some of the topics Trump’s highlighter has marked up:

  • The impact of immigration and the birthright citizenship practice on our economy and society.
  • Crime and heroin crossing our unprotected southern border.
  • The link between Islam and terrorism.
  • The effects of Muslim migration.
  • Unfavorable international trade policies and treaties.

Important questions relating to those topics, along with Trump’s politically incorrect answers, have been forcibly interjected by his brazen highlighter into the national conversation and campaign coverage.

But those questions are not “real challenges,” according to former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, who writes that they are “fake or wildly exaggerated challenges,” and Trump’s answers “obnoxious solutions.”

While Obama was lauded for his “audacity of hope,” Trump is lampooned for his audacity to highlight. Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is ridiculed as lacking “intellectual content” instead of capturing an intelligent sentiment, like “Hope.” He’s been labeled a carnival barker, a clown, and an ape.

But like the honey badger, Trump with his self-funded highlighter doesn’t… care. His highlighter has itself ignited into a sort of torch, blazing the way for the millions of Americans across the demographic spectrum to rise up, to be heard, and to vote.

One would think that the GOP leadership and prominent conservative journalists would be waiting on the sidelines, ready to welcome these energized voters into its Big Tent. Instead, they seem to have intensified their efforts to shrink the tent by purging it of both Trump and his thousands of supporters.

The writers at the conservative bulwark of National Review have been especially vicious, both in columns and tweets -- not just toward Trump, but against Trump voters, making it seem that the publication is no longer “standing athwart history, yelling stop,” but standing athwart the throng of Trump fans, yelling “go away” -- yet with words much less polite.

Many of those truly nasty words published at conservative sites and Twitter have been compiled in alphabetical order by columnist and author Diana West in what she calls her “work-in-process,” titled “The Big Conservative Dictionary of Donald Trump.”

It’s ironic to see that many of these commentators on the right who routinely skewer political correctness are essentially wielding a similar sword of ridicule and banishment -- not only against Trump -- but anyone who dares say anything in support of his ideas. Their swipes also hit even popular conservative sites like Breitbart for publishing pieces either neutral or favorable toward Trump.

It’s also disconcerting to see the alignment of conservative journalists and Republican operatives with their supposed enemy, the Democrat-media complex, against this very large swath of voters. (Another revealing phenomenon we have Trump’s highlighter to thank.)

There are likely millions more Americans secretly cheering Trump on, peeking out from the crack in the door of the Trump Closet, afraid to come out for fear of, for example, being branded an “intellectually and morally stunted” “Trumpkin.” Or told that they are “beyond shame” and an “embarrassment.” Or are aligned with “mouth breathing anti-Semites and white nationalists” who’ve made Trump their “dashboard saint.” (Those are some of the non-X-rated labels.)

At this point in the primaries, these “serious writers” would rather talk about conservatism and whether Trump is conservative -- seeming to take for granted that a very conservative candidate running on their brand of conservatism would win in the general election. Most of the issues, though, that animate the supporters of the party frontrunner relate not to conservatism, but to sovereignty.

It is Trump’s highlighted list of grievances with which his voting base has found resonance. Whether a President Trump can truly address them is another issue. 

He’s been criticized for his lack of political savvy and detailed explanations of the policies he’d pursue as head of the Executive branch. Trump, though, has had years of experience as a successful executive in the private sector. His management style seems to be to “work on it, not in it,” and to give his hand-picked, talented team a wide berth in authority and responsibility to make his vision happen.

Trump’s style may rankle commentators trying to analyze his platform, but it resonates with many Americans: those whose hands have been tied with miles of red tape, whose spirit of innovation suffers under the weight of thousands of pages of regulations and rules, and whose common sense is continually insulted by nonsensical political correctness.

For Trump to be called a “carnival barker” is not just a mockery of Trump -- it’s an affront to the concerned citizens who are inside the attraction that he’s yelling for. They are not freaks. They’re ordinary Americans across every demographic spectrum.

They may not read the “serious” sorts of books of which NRO writer Kevin Williamson approves. Yet these Americans are the gears that make a prosperous and free nation turn, and even though most couldn’t recite Russell Kirk’s list of conservative principles, they certainly live by many of those tenets every day in their homes and businesses.

And finally, someone has come along, with a yuuuge highlighter that’s bringing attention to: Them. Whether called the Silent Majority, the Forgotten Man, or the Country Class -- Trump is highlighting the very issues they believe are the most important in this election. Audaciously.

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