To the shock of many of my friends, no, I did not watch the GOP debate yesterday.
While I find Donald Trump wildly entertaining in how he’s causing hell for Republicans, and completely understand why people were intrigued to check out the debate, it just wasn’t for me. I find absolutely nothing funny about Mr. Trump. I think he’s a poor excuse for a person and an galling embarrassment to this process, which is about something too serious and important.
(Years ago, while at some trade show, a guy I knew breathlessly said he was rushing off to a press conference with Donald Trump who was promoting his autobiography. Was I coming, he asked? No, I wasn't. If I didn't find Donald Trump interesting enough to see in person maybe 15 or so years ago, I find nothing newly interesting about him today, on TV.)
If Donald Trump wasn’t participating, I’d have had zero interest in watching a Republican debate with 10 hopefuls five months before the first primary/caucus. And even with him in the debate, 90% of it for two hours would be these other people.
I did watch some of the coverage after the debate to hear a bit of commentary, and I’m sure that today on the news there will be some footage. And that’s plenty enough for me.
I’ve said from early on that he’s not getting the nomination or will even come close. And I still firmly believe that. It’s still SO early, and it’s just polls in the middle of summer when no one is really paying attention, not only is it five months before the first primary, but probably eight months before most people will have to pay attention for voting in their own state primary. However, I also figured he’d never get more than 5% in the polls, and the fact that he’s around 24% says to me that – even though polls are meaningless – it shows how nuts too many GOP voters are, even for a meaningless early poll, supporting Donald Freaking Trump for President of the United States. So, I accept that when enough people are that crazy in a party, it leaves a crack open for crack pots. Mass hysteria has been known to take over. In 1637, they went crazy speculating in Holland for tulip bulbs! For all I know, Donald Trump is today's equivalent to the Republican Party for tulip bulbs. It' seems a reasonable comparison to me... But I still don’t think he has a chance at the nomination (I think Nate Silver had him at 2%), I’m not even convinced they’ll invite him to speak at the GOP convention. The only reason they might now is out of fear that he’d run as a 3rd party candidate.
One further observation: even though it's just a poll in the middle of summer long before people really start to pay serious attention, the fact that Donald Freaking Trump is not only the leading candidate among Republican voters -- at any time -- but leading with a percentage higher than the next two candidates combined is a ghastly embarrassment to the Republican Party and speaks terribly about them and who they are as a party. And anyone who tries to explain this away by defending Donald Trump as an actual candidate for President of the United States is either having a temporary brain freeze or as much an embarrassment.
But since Donald Trump is the flavor of the day in the GOP, he's worth addressing in this video. It's a wonderful shredding of the fellow about him running for President done by Lewis Black on The Daily Show. One added note worth mentioning -- it's from 2012. But every word (sorry, every rant...this is Lewis Black, after all) still holds.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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