WASHINGTON, August 7, 2015 – The frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, New York real estate tycoon Donald Trump, answered a loaded question in last night’s Republican debate with a shocking hand gesture.
“Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?” asked debate moderator Bret Baier of Fox News.
Trump’s was the only hand among the 10 candidates to rise. GOP loyalists in the Cleveland audience gasped and booed.
“I have to respect the person… if it’s not me, the person that wins,” said Trump.
With that, many Americans raised their hands in solidarity with Trump – those tired of mealy-mouthed establishment Republican nominees for president. Americans who, in the past, registered their disgust by staying home on election day. It was their hand-gesture to a party that prizes GOP standard-bearers indistinguishable from Democrats.
Like Trump, they are not Republican Party loyalists. They leave empty-headed loyalty to primitive tribesmen, urban gang members and mafia wiseguys.
They are not impressed by candidates for having a big capital “R” after their names. They take the notion of representative government seriously, giving their votes to candidates whose views closely resemble theirs.
There is a huge disconnect between Republican leaders and their party’s conservative base. That is why there is a tea party. And that is why a Trump third-party run for the White House terrifies the GOP’s weak sisters.
A Trump third-party run is likely to attract a huge swath of disaffected Republican voters. And that’s because Trump reaches Americans at a deeper level than candidates driven by traditional conservative ideology.
Fox moderator Megyn Kelly began a question for Trump by saying, “One of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs’ and ‘disgusting animals.’”
Trump interrupted, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.”
The audience roared its approval.
A visibly angry Kelly continued. “For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell.”
“Yes, I’m sure it was,” admitted Trump cheerfully.
“Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president,” asked Kelly, “and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?”
“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don’t win anymore: we lose to China, we lose to Mexico – both in trade and at the border – we lose to everybody. And, frankly, what I say – and often times it’s fun, it’s kidding, we have a good time – what I say is what I say.”
As conservative author Ann Coulter (a woman) has noted many times, America is much better at policing speech than protecting our southern border. And Trump’s in-your-face campaign style is unsettling the settled, bipartisan gentlemen’s agreement on both issues.
Oh, and before I forget, with the exception of the tired and confused Jeb Bush, the other Republican also-rans held their own in Thursday evening’s Fox-sponsored GOP debate.