News came today that after Donald Trump's boorish performance in the first Republican Presidential debate, his poll numbers increased. At this point I believe that if pictures of Trump having sex with Bill Clinton were to surface, the headline on Drudge would be, "Trump Gains Support Among Homosexuals, latest poll finds..." The man can apparently do no wrong with a rather sizable section of the electorate.
This is very much unchartered territory. American has never seen a candidate like Donald Trump. A man that doesn't even know when he actually became a Republican, and won't promise not to run as an independent, killing any Republican chances for victory...is currently the front runner for the Republican nomination. His supporters seem to believe that his one qualification to become President is the fact that he speaks his mind and isn't politically correct. It is true that he seems to speak his mind. But, what if his mind is a place wherein no coherent thought resides? Suppose his only policy ideas turn out to be being rude to people, and calling women bimbos on Twitter all night? Well, the answer to the question right now seems to be...so what?
This all brings me to this disturbing thought. Suppose that what is going on right now is the cumulative result of fifteen years of an American culture that has been so relentlessly celebrity-obsessed, we can no longer distinguish celebrity from politics? After Hollywood has beaten us over the head with one reality show after another where fortunes have been made by people who have become famous simply for being...famous, do we now expect our politics to work like realty TV where the loudest, most insipid, most over the top jerks become the biggest, richest stars? Has Donald Trump become the Kim Kardashian of Presidential politics? Everybody knows she's a narcissistic, empty headed drip, but everything she touches turns to gold so, she's still a star. Money makes right.
If anyone else who has run for the presidency in my lifetime ever said the things that Donald Trump has said over the last couple of months, he or she would be the laughing stock of the country and drummed out of polite society. But, it's August 10, 2015, 15 months before Election Day, and nobody is laughing. At this point I would rather believe the conspiracy theories about his candidacy than face what might be the truth. I would rather believe that Trump is actually a Manchurian candidate cooked up by the Clintons to destroy Republican chances. That way I don't have to face the possible truth that we have lost the adult ability to be a serious people when faced with the most serious of our civic decisions. Have we really decided to throw our support behind the loudest, meanest, most juvenile candidate of all time on the recommendation that he isn't afraid to say what he thinks? Rudeness is not a policy. Bad manners isn't a plan. Bombast isn't the same as leadership. But don't tell Donald Trump. So far, it's worked like a charm.