Notion that Trump can become presidential is laughable
Published 03/05/2016 | 02:30
Among the fantasies that leading Republicans regularly present to the media is that when Donald Trump wins the nomination, he will become more presidential.
The notion that the American people will swallow the new Trump, very likely the same as the old Trump with a bit more sophisticated packaging, is actually laughable.
Sure, American presidential candidates usually pivot to the middle after leaning left or right in their primary battles to win their party's nomination.
But Trump didn't just lean right. He went so far he fell off the platform.
Republicans love to soft-peddle their discomfort about such people as minorities and women, who have deserted the party in droves as the GOP have become rabidly anti-immigrant and fiercely opposed to women's health issues.
Along comes Trump, who screams these issues from the global rooftop and exposes the blatant bias beneath.
He insulted Muslims and Hispanics, he mocked a disabled journalist, he vowed to end Nato as we know it after 70 years of peace in Europe. He insulted women at every opportunity, he mocked political opponents in the most callous and vicious ways.
His insults aimed directly at women show him with only 30pc support from them. His demonisation of Hispanics has led to much larger demonstrations against him and a 20pc approval rating. His incoherent foreign policy has led to fears of Armageddon.
Will Americans forget all that so quickly and go with the new, sleeker version? I don't think so but the unpredictable nature of the campaign so far has led to widespread disagreement on what the future holds.
It is now certain, as I wrote two weeks ago, that he will be the nominee. Lemming-like, the Republicans keep voting for him and take their turns lining up to march off the cliff to political extinction in November.
The final act of the six-month drama of the nomination process is about to happen in Indiana, where Trump has a blow-out brewing despite Ted Cruz throwing every Hail Mary pass and kitchen sink he can find at him.
But after the inevitable Indiana win, there will be no magical conversion. There is as much hope of that as Trump taking responsibility for his four bankruptcies, rather than walking away scot-free as he did.
A few weeks back, the Trump camp issued a statement saying he had merely been "projecting an image" with all that trash talk and that "you'll soon see a different guy". Some hope. Donald, after one speech where he did not mock, scream and bully, went back to the tried and true.
The rally on Friday in California had a stormtrooper feel to it. The anti-immigrant rhetoric included flag-waving families who had suffered from crimes committed against them by illegal immigrants.
The rhetoric was dialled up, being so near the border, so Trump bellowed and blasted Muslims, Hispanics and, yes, women like Hillary Clinton when he insisted her success was due only to the fact she is a woman.
(He never discusses the millions his father left him to continue on in the construction business. He was no "up from the bootstraps" story, as he likes to pretend.)
The women thing is what will hurt him the most. He simply seems blind to their sensitivities.
As Maureen Dowd in 'The New York Times' noted, Trump is a boys' club guy, like an old Frank Sinatra ratpack, surrounded by cronies like convicted rapist Mike Tyson, media black arts merchant Roger Stone - who claims Bill Clinton is not Chelsea's father, among other slanders - and Corey Lewandowski, key campaign staffer, arrested and later released for allegedly assaulting a female journalist during a Trump rally.
He's from a generation where women were "broads" and sexual availability was far more important than any intellectual talents a women might have had.
Little wonder that Hillary Clinton's black ops team has already sent out several videos showing Trump reciting his most insulting lines.
As against that, the media, flush with massive ratings from Trump coverage, refuse to let go of their cash cow. He is the only candidate allowed to phone in to programmes, the only one whose rallies are always covered. The softball attitude of institutions like CNN will do them enormous damage in the long run. Amazingly, Fox News, and especially their anchorwoman Megyn Kelly, have done the best job of all in covering him.
When some of the media do decide to probe deeply, they are subject to death threats. Journalist Julie Ioffe did a remarkable profile of Melania Trump, Donald's wife, in 'GQ'. Among the exclusives, she found Melania was a second-tier model on her way down and was only invited to the party where Donald met her because organisers wanted some pretty faces.
She also revealed the secret to success is separate bathrooms, and Ioffe reports that Trump once told shock jock Howard Stern that Melania has never passed wind in his presence. Ioffe was subjected to massive anti-Semitic hate mail and death threats after the article ran and Trump condemned it.
Dark forces lurk in the background of the Trump phenomenon and occasionally surface. The Republicans know this. The 'New York Times' reported that several obvious choices for vice president have refused to be part of the ticket, unheard of since George McGovern in 1972 was turned down by several top Democrats before settling on his choice.
McGovern lost in a massive landslide and I firmly believe the same will happen to this rough beast called Trump, who is arousing such racism and anger in America.