Risky Business for Republicans Trashing Trump
Donald Trump has drawn the wrath of the Republican establishment, not to mention Fox News. The establishment wants a candidate supportive of robust immigration and amnesty, one who is happy to preside over government expansion, as long as the Chamber of Commerce is in the front row at the trough of government largess. Instead, Trump is a candidate who can’t be bought, and has little interest in building consensus or reaching across the aisle, a departure from unelectable candidates of past elections, including Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney.
The Donald’s troubles began with his statements about illegal immigrants, followed by disparaging remarks about John McCain. Then there was the first Republican primary debate and the subsequent kerfuffle with Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly. Republicans attacked him along with the willing assistance of the media establishment, describing his campaign as “unraveling.”
Yet the current CNN/ORC poll of Iowa likely voters shows Trump with a commanding lead of 22% with his closest rival at only 14%. How can this be?
The more Trump is attacked, the stronger he grows.
Look at the debate numbers. 24 million watched the GOP debate compared to only 3.2 million watching the first primary debate four years ago. Even the most watched primary debate of 2012 only drew 7.6 million viewers. I’ll wager most of those 24 million were not watching to see Rand Paul and Chris Christie trading barbs or John Kasich wax eloquent about gay marriage. They were watching because Donald Trump was center stage. And he didn’t disappoint. In typical Trump fashion, he said what he meant and meant what he said.
Which led to outrage by the Republican establishment and the media, but not by the actual voters. The attacks on Trump are actually attacks on his supporters. Who are his supporters?
Trumpsters are an enthused group of voters, fed up with the status quo, eager for a new approach, a different kind of leader. They want someone who speaks the truth, even if offends someone or is not politically correct. A leader who doesn’t constantly apologize or clarify statements made a day ago. Someone who celebrates American greatness and exceptionalism, and guides the country in that direction. A leader not part of the “Washington cartel,” as Ted Cruz describes it.
How interesting that the poll noted above has Ben Carson in second place. Another outsider, much like Trump, although far different in personality and temperament. And neither ever held elected office. What does that say about the mood of the country?
It’s a dangerous path for the GOP to attack Trump, and by proxy, his supporters. The Republican base is rebelling against big-talk, do-nothing politicians currently leading the party. Squash the rebellion and the base tunes out, ignoring calls for money and support, many staying home on Election Day.
Donald Trump is a Frankenstein creation from the smoke filled laboratory of the Republican establishment. Their wanton neglect of those that put Republicans in office created a vacuum, which nature abhors. Trump is filling that vacuum, providing hope and excitement to a despondent GOP electorate. Squash Trump and squash that enthusiasm. Risky business for the Republican establishment if they have any hope of winning the White House.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based retina surgeon and writer. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.