Since the beginning, I’ve thought of Donald Trump as an egomaniac, a liberal with a handful of conservative views, an incredible entertainer, a manipulative genius, and a childish bully who can’t handle it when he’s popped in the nose. I stand by those perspectives, but I’ll add one thing that is certain and one thing that is possible.
The certainty is that Donald Trump has done something for the Republican party that we desperately needed. He’s made the candidates pull out their guns and show some guts. Between his willingness to speak his mind and his uncanny ability to get under the candidates’ skins, he’s forced most of them to change their campaign structures and speak about things through a different lens. I thought this was a distraction at first (which it is) but it’s a temporary distraction that seems to be having some positive side effects.
By doing all of this, he’s changed the conversation. He’s brought out talking points that would have been mildly skimmed over had he not entered the race. His hard line stance on immigration and the Iran deal has the candidates accelerating their talking points beyond the rhetoric they had planned and into the realm of aggression. These and other issues are making the GOP voters upset and thanks to Trump the anger is resonating in their ears.
Lastly, Trump’s presence has given them all the litmus tests they needed to see what the base really wants to hear. Presidential campaigns are a dangerous thing because regardless of the polls, it’s often very difficult to gauge the reactions of voters to particular stances. Focus groups and surveys might point in one direction but until a candidate actually comes out and says something, it’s impossible to know how people will react. Trump is saying those things, taking the point and leading the conversations down the right path.
It’s unfortunate that these traits aren’t available in a real candidate. Like I posted, Trump is the candidate you date, not marry. The entertainer in him has shone through to captivate a good chunk of the masses. With his time in the spotlight, he’s done a fantastic job of making the conversation turn to the political right of where it would have been had he not joined. That’s why I think there’s a chance, ever so slight, that there’s another opinion I need to add about him. He might very well be a brilliant tactician who entered the campaign without the intention of winning but with a belief that he could turn the party and the therefore the country in the right direction by saying the uncomfortable truths that needed to be said.
I know it’s unlikely, but I won’t take the possibility off of the table. It really doesn’t matter. He’s done a great service to us all whether this was his intention or not.
Donald Trump did for the GOP and the country what no other person was qualified to do. He created a mockery that gave us direction. For that, he deserves our gratitude… as long as he doesn’t push it all the way to a disastrous nomination.