“If the DNC had scripted the last month or so, the party probably would have come up with a scenario that looks quite a bit like the one we’ve seen.”
This is one of those occasions upon which I must disagree with Mr. Benen:
A Republican carnival barker would use racially charged, xenophobic rhetoric, which would propel him into the GOP’s top tier, pushing minority communities even further from the Republican Party. All the while, the GOP would find itself on the defensive, and more serious candidates would struggle to gain traction.
That is to say, no proper screenwriter would script such an episode except as naked farce. There is a reason truth insists on being stranger than fiction.
Benen also notes that some have made what seems the obvious point, that Trump, who has formerly identified with both parties, is a secret Democratic plant trying to wreck the Republican Party.
And also that for some, such as Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL26), the conspiracy theory is the best they’ve got:
The freshman congressman published a tweet the other day – which has not been deleted – in which Curbelo noted his “theory” is that Trump is “a phantom candidate.”
In a radio interview, the Republican lawmaker added, “I think there’s a small possibility that this gentleman is a phantom candidate. Mr. Trump has a close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were at his last wedding. He has contributed to the Clintons’ foundation. He has contributed to Mrs. Clinton’s Senate campaigns. All of this is very suspicious.”
In reality, of course, it’s not suspicious at all. Trump has few core convictions, so the fact that he’s made political contributions to Democrats is hardly surprising. He’s even acknowledged his varied history of donations in recent campaign appearances.
The fact that some Republicans aren’t entirely sure whether Trump’s candidacy is on the level is, however, a rather striking testament to the quality of his message. When some are genuinely curious whether a candidate is a clownish performance artist, that says quite a bit about the presidential hopeful.
And, in truth, that sounds about right. Mr. Curbelo is hardly being creative, and in the end it’s kind of childhood socialization behavior. Every kid in the class might know the joke, and every other kid in the class has a pretty good reason for not saying it, but there’s always one who believes himself original and seeks some manner of accolade for saying the obvious as if he is somehow that much smarter than everyone else, and elevating the stupid as if it, too, is somehow smarter than everybody else.
In other words, the freshman from the Florida tip just told last week’s fart joke, which was pretty stale from the first cut.
And apparently Mr. Curbelo forgot about his fellow Republicans, some of whom are running for president, who latched onto Donald Trump’s bigoted tantrum in hopes of boosting their own numbers. It does, as such, occur to wonder whether Mr. Curbelo thinks Ms. Fiorina, Sen. Cruz, Gov. Walker, and even dedicated propagandists like National Review editor Rich Lowry, all of whom have latched onto Mr. Trump’s blatant racism in hopes of rallying conservative voters, are part of the sinister plot.
Because, you know, that might be an important consideration. If Mr. Curbelo, the Republican freshman from Florida Twenty-Six, really believes Sean Hannity, Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum are part of an alleged Clintonian conspiracy to destroy the GOP, well … okay … sounds about right.
This is, after all, Florida.
And, you know, among a Republican Party that features Rep. Curt Clawson (FL19), Sen. Marco Rubio, and Gov. Rick Scott, spectacularly thoughtless stupidity does not really stand out. Something about ratios, I guess. The phrase, signal to noise, comes to mind.
Benen, Steve. “Miami congressman sees Trump as a Democratic plant”. msnbc. 14 July 2015.