Public Policy Polling found this past week that Donald Trump is leading the Republican field for the 2012 Presidential nomination. In fact, Trump bested other potential Republican candidates by a substantial margin, scoring 26% in the poll compared to only 17% for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and 15% for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Hard to believe, but Trump is being talked about in conservative circles as someone who can actually beat Obama.
What can I say? Just this: Thank you, thank you Donald Trump for stealing the spotlight from the legitimate candidates and bringing your special brand of insanity to the 2012 race. It's hard for me to pick which aspect of Donald Trump's potential candidacy is most amusing. For example, there's the fact that I've seen several sources refer to Trump as an "unconventional candidate." Unconventional? Really? Well, let's see. He's an old white guy, born to obscene wealth, who professes to be Christian, who's thrice-married, and who has run his personal fortunes into bankruptcy several times. Sounds like a completely conventional Republican candidate to me.
I'm also enjoying watching Tea Party Republicans back yet another candidate who is wildly unpopular with the general public, and thus has no chance of winning should he get the Republican nomination. In 2010, we watched the Republicans give away elections they could have won by nominating wacko candidates in key Senate races like Christine McDonnell in Delaware and Sharron Angle in Nevada. Before they nominate Donald Trump for the Presidency, Republicans might want to consider the fact that just 28 percent of the public have a favorable opinion of him, while 46 percent have an unfavorable opinion.
Trump seems to know exactly how to get the support of the tea-bagger wing of the Republican party. He's chosen to make President Obama's birth certificate the cornerstone of his incipient candidacy. Here's a couple of quotes from Trump on the issue. He noted that, "you have no doctors that remember, you have no nurses," who have come forward to verify that Obama was born in Hawai'i. In the very same interview, Trump also said, "The governor of Hawaii says, ‘Oh, I remember when he was born 50 years ago.’ I doubt it. I think this guy should be investigated. I doubt he remembers when Obama was born. Give me a break! He’s just trying to do something for his party." (For the record, Governor Abercrombie of Hawai'i knew the Obamas when the future President was born in 1961.)
Now, did you catch what Trump actually said in the interview? If witnesses to Obama's birth don't come forward, it's evidence of a conspiracy. However, if witnesses DO come forward, it's ALSO evidence of a conspiracy.
The icing on the cake is that the more Trump hogs the Republican microphone, and the more he plays to the "birther" wing of the party, the more he drags the (slightly) less crazy candidates down with him. As Stephen C. Webster of Raw Story recently noted, "For their part, Republican leaders have largely dismissed the conspiracies has frivolous at best and damaging to the party at worst, but because the fictional narrative had been so propelled by conservative media and many leading Republicans, it seems to have stuck. Now some in the Republican Party are having difficulty confronting the issue, and some even appear to be afraid of offending the so-called "birthers." For example, are Republican legislators in Arizona gearing up to remind voters that Obama has presided over chronic high unemployment, and that he has not fulfilled some of his promises? Nope. Thanks to Donald Trump's inspiration, they're busy trying to pass a "birth certificate" requirement for future Presidential candidates.
Don't give up, Donald. You're just the kind of leader the Republican Party needs.