Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges photographers after speaking at a campaign rally in Baton Rouge, La., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The Commentariat, without any success, has been trying to figure out Donald Trump for a year now. They have prematurely announced demise of his presidential campaign time and time again only to be forced to eat their words. During his veterans donation presser, in addition to bragging about his veterans donations and calling the media sleazy liars, The Donald did what political operatives and pundits have been unable to do, he explained Donald Trump. He did so in his usual over-simplified manner. Trump laid it out in two sentences and just six words. He didn’t even use 140 characters.
When asked by a reporter why he felt the need to “antagonize” a federal judge who had ruled against him in one of the lawsuits involving Trump University, Trump responded:
Why antagonize? Because I don’t care.
At first I thought Trump nailed it. As Chris Cillizza put it:
Those six words are Trump at his most honest — and most revealing. If you needed two sentences to sum up not only Trump’s remarkably successful 2016 presidential bid but also the dominant strain of his life, those six words are about as good as you can get.
Cillizza goes on about how antagonism is second nature for Trump and it’s how he engages with the world — you are either with Trump or against him, there is no in between. Trump has not only gotten away with antagonistic behavior his whole life, he has been magnificently rewarded for it. Cillizza manages to explain Trump better and more succinctly than did The Donald. Why does Trump antagonize?:
Because he can.
This may be something Trump haters miss Trump’s “I don’t care antagonistic attitude is part of the “often overlooked aspirational quality to Trump’s appeal for many voters:
Vote for me, be like me. While that idea prompts lots of eye-rolls in official Washington, it occasions lots of head-nodding at Trump rallies. Why? Because Trump is wealthy, married to a former model and can/does tell everyone what’s on his mind at all times without any fear of retribution.
“He just doesn’t care!,” is something you hear often when you ask people why they like Trump. “He tells it like it is!” “He isn’t politically correct!”
Trump’s natural tendency toward antagonism and his “don’t care” attitude would normally put him outside the political mainstream, dismissed as a loud-talking bully who doesn’t grasp the gravity of the office he is seeking.
Normally yes, but not this cycle. This is a change election and Trump is offering change. Boy is he offering change.