Donald Trump: Backfiring on more than one level, and not necessarily good for Democrats.
We know what "backfire" means in the sense that Donald Trump is currently demonstrating: To do something with the intention of realizing a benefit, but instead the consequences smack you in the face. That much is good for Democrats, and a lot of fun to watch.
But there's another sense of "backfire" Trump is illustrating, and one that is a problem for us: The sort of backfire that firefighters set around valuable property to get rid of fuel so that a much larger, less easily controlled wildfire can't get to it.
Trump is also this kind of backfire for his Party: He is dispensing so much crazed, bigoted nincompoopery - and so many of us are taking the bait, reacting to his trolling - that we are consuming nontrivial amounts of energy and mindspace dealing with it rather than focusing on people far more likely to be the GOP nominee.
And meanwhile the other bigoted nutjobs running for the Republican nomination are given constant opportunities to look sane and reasonable, engaging in reverse-straw-men about themselves by holding up a crazy person and saying "Look at that! I'm not that! I'm normal!"
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am effectively certain (in fact, willing to bet money) that Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee, for all the reasons stated in that earlier post. And Bush is certainly reaping plenty of firebreak benefits from Trump's buffoonery already.
In fact, Trump's act is so fine-tuned to the exact type of benefit Bush is receiving, it causes me to raise an eyebrow: Jeb Bush's most profound demographic advantage is his marriage to a Latina. Who does Donald Trump - native of the Northeast - go after? He goes after a group he's never had any historical problems with, energizing the right-wing base and drawing media attention to the Republican primary while making all the other psychos look rational by comparison.
Meanwhile he sends some liberal activists into apoplexy because they actually think he has a chance in hell of being nominated, or because his antics entertain some of us who just enjoy reveling in how completely fucked up Republicans are. And while we're doing that, guess what we're not doing? Every moment focused on that bellowing turd is a moment not focused on our own campaigns or on the likely GOP candidate.
Here's another thing worth thinking about: Because of Trump, Latinos are paying close attention to the Republican primaries. If not for him, that would be far, far less the case. And when Jeb Bush wins them, they will be far more likely to notice - exactly as he would have it.
Donald Trump is not stupid or insane. He knows there is zero chance he could become President, and if he actually wanted political power, he would have bought himself a Senate seat or a Governorship a long time ago to make himself a credible candidate. Instead he launches this clown show where he's calling John McCain a coward and saying Mexicans are rapists. I'm shocked that anyone at all buys into it.
Keep your eye on Bush, that slippery fucking Borgia.
He could hurt Democrats if this garbage disgusted democratic and swing voters into ignoring the election. As it does so often. Let's hope the stronger effect stays on the right.
I've checked out three conservative boards and found mostly really negative attitudes toward JEBush. Of course, most of those people would fall in behind him if it came to that.
Aside from a Trump Effect, it seems to me the real GOP primary is yet to begin. They're in the primary to the Primary. A two-year election season is too long, and this crazy period, as last time around, is at least in part a symptom of that dysfunction. Most voters reportedly make up their minds by the spring before the election, but could change them plenty before that, while others wait until the very end, and the big money donors and campaign managers know that.
I also don't believe a missed debate or two this summer would knock out a candidate who looked good to big donors. Especially if those turn into the kind of circuses they might, coming in later might be an advantage.