As a recent article from FiveThirtyEightPolitics stated that Donald Trump is the world's greatest troll.
He really is, when you think about it. I mean, who else could possibly be fake running for president for a fifth time and still be dominating mainstream media coverage? The Donald is the talk of the town, being focused on by both conservative and liberal media. He is consistently trending on Twitter. He has been Jon Stewart's wet dream leading up to the end of his Daily Show run. The more he speaks, the more outrageous he becomes. He has become a caricature of himself, a man who has based his entire candidacy on his business acumen and yet has lost multiple sponsorships due to his offensive remarks.
And despite the GOP's attempts to silence the beast, The Donald has not only refused to withdraw his candidacy but has taken up his hyperbolic rhetoric to new and unprecedented levels. It was fine when he was demonizing Mexicans because they're not important but when he demonizes John McCain's military service, all hell breaks loose. Now the man is on a mission to destroy those who speak ill of him. The latest victim is Lindsay Graham, who correctly called Trump "a jackass" during an interview on Monday. So, how does the civilized Trump respond? By providing America with Graham's personal cellphone number. If Reince Priebus had wanted The Donald to stop talking two weeks ago, imagine what he wants The Donald to do now.
So on the surface, this would appear to be an ideal situation for Democrats.
Just look at the man who is now leading in the polls. He is a member of the White privilege class, a man who had everything given to him on a silver spoon. He has manipulated his financial situation to declare bankruptcy four times and still be worth $8 billion dollars. He is pro-American worker but has his clothing line made in third world countries. He is anti-immigrant yet has undocumented workers working on his latest projects. He is badmouthing an American POW and war hero and yet is a draft dodger himself. His hypocrisy represents everything that is wrong with the modern-day GOP and yet here he is, a mere 16 months away from possibly being nominated as the face of the party.
Unfortunately, that view is utterly simplistic. For those of us in the know, we have known these things about Trump for years. He is a hypocrite, plain and simple. His political leanings are based on the current political climate in the country. He's been a registered Democrat, Independent, and Republican. He has donated to Hillary Clinton's campaign. He has run for president four times and has withdrawn his name four times. Soon, after all his sound and fury signifying nothing dies out, he will be just a footnote in the annals of the 2016 national presidential election. He will be a joke, sure, but his damage will have already been done.
And that damage is the media blatantly ignoring the other GOP candidates for president.
For the past month, while the mainstream media has been licking their chops for a new soundbite from The Donald, an entire field of GOP presidential candidates has gone completely under the radar. While the media has been fixated on The Donald's sideshow, the other 15 Republican candidates have been able to quietly raise money and essentially gain popularity and support simply by not being Donald Trump. No matter how extreme their views or their actions may be, they simply pale in comparison to The Donald. This is why Trump's candidacy is actually helping Republicans rather than hurting them: When all is said and done and he has withdrawn from the race, he will take his xenophobic, racist views with him. Yet, the longer he stays in and the longer the media continues to yearn for these views, the less we get to hear about the views of the other GOP candidates running for president.
And so, for the fortunate fifteen as we will call them, this past month has been a blank check on media coverage. They have been able to go about their lives away from the public eye. While our mainstream media has failed to cover them, their actions have not gone unnoticed by those of us here in the progressive community. Here are some highlights for some of our GOP friends, one of whom will have a 50/50 chance to become the next president:
-For Jeb! Bush, he actually, momentarily did something positive when he stood up to The Donald for his anti-Mexican comments. Seeing as Jeb! has a Mexican wife and desperately needs to win his home state of Florida in the general election, this seemed like a wise political move. Unfortunately, his response to the attack on John McCain was less skillfully done. Yes, he came to John McCain's defense but the problem is that Jeb! was not above attacking a veteran for political gain. This was shown in 2005 when Jeb! was perfectly content to send the Swift Boat Veterans a thank you letter for attacking the credibility of then presidential nominee John Kerry. For Jeb! it's perfectly okay to attack someone's military record if they have a (D) next to their name rather than an (R).
-For Ted Cruz, he decided to play nice in the whole Trump-McCain feud and refused to take sides. Now, obviously this play won't win over veterans groups any time soon, but Cruz has a larger objective in mind: He actually wants the Trump crazies to come over to his side once The Donald leaves the race. Because once The Donald leaves, his legion of racist, xenophobic supporters will need a new champion so why not Cruz? Cruz did his best to remind voters of his extreme stances today by releasing a video applauding an Iowa couple who refused to have their wedding service business officiate a gay wedding. Congratulations Ted, I'm sure your future supporters will be proud of your latest act.
-For Scott Walker, he has gotten off Scott free (pun intended) this past month for things that can and should have wrecked his presidential campaign before it got off the ground. First and foremost, The Wisconsin Supreme Court put a stop to its investigation as to whether or not his 2012 campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups. Then, Walker signed a 20-week abortion ban in the state because he's not a doctor but somehow, some way knows what is best for a woman's body. And lastly, Walker did an outright flip-flop on his immigration stance in Iowa by announcing that he now is anti-amnesty after oddly being for it before he declared his candidacy for president.
-For Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Lindsay Graham it has conveniently been forgotten that these three (along with Ted Cruz) openly signed a seditious letter attempting to derail the Iran deal before it even got off the ground. Thankfully, we have President Barack Obama and Secretary Kerry who have more diplomacy in their pinky toes than the four GOP Traitors have combined, but that doesn't change the fact that they were openly against even engaging in this historic peace talk. While our president and secretary of state can and should be showered in praise, these senators should also have to answer for their treachery and should have to be held accountable for engaging in treason all while hoping to rev up the neocon cries for war.
As the mainstream media continues its fixation on The Donald, expect more and more GOP candidates to continue their decent into madness. Like Ted Cruz, they know that the inmates are now running the asylum of what has become the GOP base. With our media focused on the shiny object that has become Donald Trump's campaign, expect the fortunate fifteen to engage in more and more actions to shore up their conservative base. These will include but are not limited to abortion restrictions, anti-gun control legislation, denying funding to social safety net programs, denying climate science, engaging in anti-immigration rhetoric, and being against the historical Iran deal among other things.
The longer Donald Trump stays in the race, the more time these candidates have to enact this kind of legislation and the less time they are held accountable for doing so. For those of us closely following the run up to the 2016 presidential election, it is imperative that we continue to call out Republican candidates for their regressive views and hypocritical stances. Like The Huffington Post we know that The Donald's campaign is more entertainment than it is politics. We know he is a joker, and is playing the mainstream media for fools. Meanwhile, as the media takes up everything he says hook, line, and sinker, one man (sorry Carly Fiorina) will eventually take up the GOP mantle and will serve as the party's nominee. If the mainstream media won't cover this candidate and what he stands for then it is up to us to do so. It's only a matter of time before The Donald plays the media for fools for a fifth time and again decides to withdraw his name from the presidential race.
Until he does, it is up to us to make sure the fortunate fifteen are held accountable for their actions.